Emy Fortin, 16 years old: I would like to read more Quebecois novels, because Voltaire and all those books, I find that they are no longer relevant. These are difficult books and not everyone at school really likes French.

Louvia Labarthe, 15 years old: I don’t agree. The messages often remain the same across generations of authors, and that’s what’s interesting to discover when reading the classics.

Amarylis Alvarez Tavarez, 16 years old: We, at the regular, I think it would be fun if we read more. I find that we do not give enough space to reading [the students present at the round table come from groups from the regular program and the enriched PEI program].

Raphaëlle Picard, 16 years old: Yes! Hosanna or the Scheherazade of the Poor, by Michel Tremblay, which was presented at the Théâtre du Trident. The plays that we went to see in the past with the school were less appealing to me, but this one completely [grabbed] me. It made me want to learn more about the author and I subsequently read some of his books.

Raphaëlle Picard: I think it’s good to see people who were born here, who grew up here and who are doing this. I would really like to do art when I grow up. It’s cool to see these people and think that could be me.

Antonin Girard, 16 years old: I find it sad that the majority of Quebecers do not consume the culture that is being created around them.

Emy Fortin: Some have no reference to Quebec culture. It’s just American. It makes my heart a little sad.

Joseph Landry, 15 years old: It’s certain that understanding the rules will help us in the future. We write grammar, but it helps us speak better.

Auguste Uhde, 16: Grammar is a tool to then make art, as it is to write. But right now, what is happening is that people no longer want to read or write. So they don’t see the point of grammar because they don’t see themselves using it.

Tizé Daniel Semi Bi, 16 years old: Grammar is important because French is a very beautiful language and if you don’t have the tools, you won’t be able to express yourself. If you give a lecture, you won’t be able to express yourself in a more popular language. You have to have strong language.

Amarylis Alvarez Tavarez: It is very important to have a good language, but unfortunately I notice that young people these days speak in a very vulgar way. Yes, Quebec French is good, but it’s also good to have a language that is clean and well expressed.

Antonin Girard: Good spelling, good diction, beautiful language, these allow us to access the intellectual spheres of society, but when you think about it, they are tools of domination. If you don’t master them, you stay in the working class. A society that had a more universal language would be a more egalitarian society.

Emy Fortin: I love reading, but I hate grammar! [Group laughs heartily] I know it’s important, but it’s not something I have ease with. As Antonin says, grammar is unequal for everyone. I would like to be able to write even if I don’t have good grammar and to look at what I do as a whole, rather than pointing out that there is an “e” missing at the end of a word.

Louvia Labarthe: I find that there is something beautiful about still writing on paper. It’s easier to write by hand than on the computer. It’s like the ideas come more easily and it’s more eloquent.

Emy Fortin: We sometimes use an iPad with the Usito online dictionary. With this, you have all the conjugations and all the words. I find it more practical than a dictionary where it takes a long time to look something up.

Emy Fortin: In our class, we do a lot of round tables. It’s less traditional than the presentation, where the person goes forward and their paper shakes. We talk as a group about the book we read and it also gets the most embarrassed in the class talking. It takes away stress.

Joseph Landry: It also allows us to share our understanding of the book and compare our opinions. When we read Le dernier jour d’un condamné [by Victor Hugo], we did literary “speed dating” where we talked with a person for two minutes about an aspect of the book, then we changed places.