Key Concepts of Successful
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
- Successful language learning activities are interdisciplinary.
- Successful language learning activities for children
incorporate opportunities for movement and physical
- Successful language learning activities are geared
to the child's cognitive level, interest level, and
- 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.