Demystifying French Immersion

11 months ago

Early French Immersion provides students an opportunity to learn a second (and, sometimes third or fourth) language in a fun and effective way. While many parents continue to apply for French Immersion in our school district, the applications can sometimes be accompanied by some hesitations around second language learning. Perhaps the research provided below will continue to help demystify the myths surrounding French Immersion.

Myth 1: Learners need to have a strong foundation in their first language (eg. They know how to read and write) before they learn another language.

What the research says: There are many individuals who develop two languages from birth. When thinking about when students should start studying a second language after learning their first language, the research has shown that the starting point makes no long-term difference in their oral or writing skills (Arnett & Bourgoin, 2018, p. 24)

Myth 2: Learning another language will have negative long-term effects on the first language skills of the learner.

What the research says: There is often a short-term decline in first language skills of language learners compared to monolingual students, but in the long term, no negative effects have been observed. Generally, students who are proficient in multiple languages have stronger overall skills than monolingual students (Arnett & Bourgoin, 2018, p. 24).

The research provided above and more information can be found in the following resource: Access for Success: Making Inclusion Work for Language Learners by Katy Arnett and Renée Bourgoin.