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.


CARLA Mailing List Signup Contact CARLA CARLA Events Donate to CARLA CARLA on Facebook CARLA on YouTube Twitter
Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) • 140 University International Center • 331 - 17th Ave SE • Minneapolis, MN 55414