Immersion - a strategy that works

Immersion at PBFI

  • Total immersion in kindergarten and first grade
    • Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, all taught to high standards, in French
  • English instruction for one hour per day begins in second grade
  • Teachers highly trained in immersion methods
  • More learning time via an extended school day
    • 400 minutes instruction per day

What makes it effective?

  • Literacy skills transfer
  • Double dose of reading and language arts instruction
    • Focus on comprehension (French & English)
    • Counter the effects of “word poverty” for children from low income households
  • Immersion students are more attentive - they have to listen more carefully 
  • Immersion enhances cognitive and problem-solving skills
  • Many modern-day English words trace origins to French: students connect language similarities to build vocabulary

Why immersion?

  • Early immersion is the most effective method known for teaching a second language.
  • Students in immersion programs acquire the same proficiency in English and achieve the same levels of competence in their academic subjects (e.g., mathematics, science, and social studies) as comparable English-speaking students who attend all-English programs.
  • Immersion students acquire advanced levels of functional proficiency in French. They are able to do all of their schoolwork, communicate with their friends and teachers in school and with others outside school comfortably, effortlessly, and effectively.
  • This form of enriched language education is effective in a variety of community settings, even in communities where there are few, if any, speakers of the target language. In addition, research has shown that immersion programs are effective for all students, including those who often struggle in school because they come from low socio-economic backgrounds or they have low levels of academic achievement. Thus, immersion education is not only for the academic elite in our schools; it works for all students.