French Immersion Programs In Public Schools

WHAT IS « IMMERSION »?

Immersion is a method of foreign language instruction in which the regular curriculum is taught in another language.  The new language is the vehicle for content instruction rather than the focus of instruction.

The goal is for students to become proficient in the second language and develop increased cultural awareness while reaching a high level of academic achievement.

Students develop proficiency in the second language by hearing and using it to learn all of their school subjects rather than by studying the language itself.

 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Total Immersion – Programs in which all or almost all subjects taught in the lower grades (K-2) are taught in the foreign language; instruction in English usually increases in the upper grades (3-6) to 20%-50%, depending on the program.

Partial Immersion – Programs in which up to 50% of subjects are taught in the foreign language; in some programs, the material taught in the foreign language is reinforced in English.

Two-Way Immersion / Dual Immersion – Programs that give equal emphasis to English and a non-English language and in which one to two thirds of the students are native speakers of the non-English language, with the remainder being native speakers of English.

 

WHY CONSIDER ENROLLING CHILDREN IN A DUAL LANGUAGE PROGRAM?

Immersion programs are the fastest growing and most effective type of foreign language program currently available in U.S. schools. Most immersion students can be expected to reach higher levels of second language proficiency than students in other school-based language programs (Met, 1998). Becoming bilingual opens the door to communication with more people in more places and therefore bilingual education gives skills and knowledge fo function competently in a global society.

Academic benefits : higher achievements in school, higher levels of second language proficiency, higher results on state and standardized tests.Cognitive benefits : higher levels of critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, ability to concentrate.Social benefits : greater understanding of other cultures, acceptance of others.Economic benefits : increased opportunity and ability to fulfill language requirements for high school and university, increased employment opportunities.

HOW DO CHILDREN LEARN IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE?

In order to make academic lessons comprehensible to learners and to support their second language learning, immersion teachers--who are highly proficient in English and the immersion language--use a vast repertoire of instructional strategies as they cover the school district's curriculum (Cloud, Genesee, & Hamayan, 2000; Snow, 1987). Many of these strategies appear on the Immersion Teaching Strategies Observation Checklist (Fortune, 2000) developed by immersion teachers and researchers at a summer institute at the University of Minnesota.

In the early years, immersion teachers use body language, visuals, manipulatives, exaggerated facial expressions, and expressive intonation to communicate their meaning. In kindergarten it is common for students to speak English with their peers and when responding to their teacher. As the years progress, students naturally use more of the immersion language. To draw students into using the language, teachers often use songs, useful phrases, chants, and rhymes and carefully structure the day with familiar routines.

HOW DOES LEARNING EVERYTHING IN A SECOND LANGUAGE AFFECT CHILDREN'S NATIVE LANGUAGE AND LITERACY DEVELOPMENT?

In full immersion programs, children develop initial literacy in the immersion language. Many cognitive processes that underlie the ability to read, such as understanding the relationship between the spoken language and the written word, transfer from one language to another (Cloud, Genesee, & Hamayan, 2000).

It is assumed that immersion students will have consistent exposure to and support for native language at home. Parents need to provide their children with experiences that will enhance their English language and literacy development. Research shows that the stronger the development of the native language, the greater the proficiency in the immersion language.

WHY CHOSE FRENCH?

Read 10 good reasons to learn French and have a look at Forbes' recent article "Want To Know The Language Of The Future? The Data Suggests It Could Be...French".

Existing French Immersion programs in public schools near Texas:

Eisenhower International Immersion Elementary School - Tulsa, OKThoreau Demonstration Academy - Tulsa, OKReagan Elementary School, partial French immersion - Norman, OK

Public Surveys

You live in Texas and you would be interested in enrolling your child in a French immersion program? Take these quick surveys and receive more information.

  

Sources and Resources

Extracts from : ericdigests.org - Read full articleHouston Independant School District Mulitingual Program

Notes:1.This checklist can be found online athttp://carla.acad.umn.edu/Immersion/checklist.html.

2.To access the directory of foreign language immersion programs maintained by the Center for Applied Linguistics, see http://www.cal.org/ericcll/immersion.

References:- Cloud, N. Genesee, F., & Hamayan, E. (2000). "Dual language instruction: A handbook for enriched education." Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

- Fortune, T. (2000). Immersion teaching strategies observation checklist. "ACIE Newsletter, 4," pp. 1-4 (insert).

-Met, M. (Ed.). (1998). "Critical issues in early second language learning." New York: Scott Foresman Addison Wesley.

- Snow, M. A. (1987). "Immersion teacher handbook." Los Angeles: Center for Language Education and Research.

Resources:Creating French-English Dual - Language Programs for Everyone by frenchculture.org

"A Big Advocate of French in New York’s Schools: France" - New York Times, Jan 30, 2014, by Kirk Semplejan

Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition

Center for Applied Linguistics www.cal.org : 1. "Research Notes : Language Learning and the Developing Brain"2. "Benefit from Being Bilingual"

Contact:Lauriane Blandel, Deputy Cultural Attaché - laurianeblandel@diplomatie.gouv.fr

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