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Key Concepts of Successful Immersion

The ACIE Newsletter, November 1997, Vol. 1, No. 1

Submitted by Todd Chowan, 2nd Grade Teacher Normandale French Immersion School, Edina, MN
Adapted from Helena Curtain-Anderson & Carol Ann Pesola

 


 

Successful immersion programs are characterized by instruction that incorporates the following key concepts.

  • Children learn foreign languages best when their native language is not used for instruction.

  • Successful second language learning emphasizes comprehension rather than speaking at beginning stages and uses the insights of second language research in the development of all aspects of the program.

  • Successful language learning occurs in a meaningful communicative context and makes use of subject-content instruction, games, songs and rhymes, experiences with arts, crafts, and sports.

  • Successful language learning for children is organized in terms of concrete experiences. Considerable planning should go into the use of visuals, realia, and hands-on activities.

  • Successful language learning activities are interdisciplinary.

  • Successful language learning activities for children incorporate opportunities for movement and physical activity.

  • Successful language learning activities are geared to the child's cognitive level, interest level, and motor skills.

  • Successful language learning activities are organized according to a communicative syllabus rather than according to a grammatical syllabus; and grammar instruction occurs within that communicative context.

  • Successful language learning activities establish the language as a real means of communication in an authentic socio-cultural situation.

  • Successful language programs make provisions for the reading and writing of familiar material as appropriate to the age of the students, even in early stages.

  • Successful language learning is evaluated frequently and regularly, in a manner that is consistent with the objectives of the program.

 

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