ERIC Number: ED328061
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Insights from the French Immersion Experience in Canada.
Canada's French immersion program began in 1965 in response to anglophone parent demand for bilingual French/English instruction. Instruction entirely in French begins in kindergarten, and formal English instruction begins in third grade. The program's popularity has caused rapid expansion, with success attributed to changing attitudes toward second language learning, growing acceptance of Canada's bilingual character, empirical research about the benefits of bilingualism, and perception of the role of bilingual competencies in socio-economic mobility in Canada. Most immersion students are anglophones, most teachers are native francophones, and parents are actively involved. The instructional approach used emphasizes the communicative function of language. Five major immersion principles are applied, including: (1) it is possible to recreate in the school a natural imitative environment resembling that of first language acquisition; (2) early second language exposure is most effective; (3) learning a language is learning to use the language; (4) language similarities and transfer of knowledge are more significant than interferences in language learning; and (5) children are more interested in content than in the form of instruction. While French immersion is based on a curriculum identical to that of English-language instruction, the immersion classroom can also act as a meeting point of different cultures. (MSE)
Descriptors: Communicative Competence (Languages), Educational Environment, Elementary Secondary Education, Foreign Countries, French, Immersion Programs, Learning Processes, Program Effectiveness, Public Opinion, Second Language Programs, Student Characteristics, Teacher Characteristics, Teaching Methods
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (24th, Nashville, TN, November 17-19, 1990).