For detailed information on the LRSD French Immersion program, visit the links to the right.
French Immersion FAQ
1. Will my child fall behind if he/she learns two languages?
Concepts learned in either language become part of the child’s genera knowledge. On some tests, such as English vocabulary, immersion students score higher than students in regular English programs.
2. Won’t there be confusion between the two languages?
Interferences in second language learning do occur. The children do sometimes to use a rule which is correct for the other language. However, teachers plan lessons to overcome these difficulties.
3. Will my child lose his/her cultural identity?
Although English-speaking immersion students feel very friendly towards French-speaking people, they think of themselves as bilingual anglophones.
4. Will my child learn the same things as students in English class?
Yes, the curriculum must follow the guidelines of the provincial Department of Education. Materials in French Immersion cover the same basic program as in English; students work toward the same academic goals regardless of the language of instruction.
5. How can we manage if no one in our family speaks French?
This is not a difficulty. The school realizes that many parents are unilingual and will answer your question in English.
6. I don’t know anything about French books for children, or how to find games for my child to do in French.
Ask your child’s teacher. They will be happy to advise you.
7. Should I speak to my child in French?
Unless you speak very well, it is better not to talk to him/her in French. It is important for children to have good models when they begin to learn a language. On the other hand, do not hesitate to use French in the community when your child is present.
8. When can I expect my child to talk French at home?
Immersion children usually don’t want to talk French to their parents, perhaps because they know it is not the natural way of communicating at home.
9. Will my child be “perfectly” bilingual at the end of elementary school?
Learning a language takes time. The more contact there is, the faster it is learned. Children differ in second language acquisition just as they do in their mother tongue. Although French language skills improve markedly through elementary school, immersion children remain stronger in English than in French. They continue to perfect their abilities in both languages through secondary school. It is important to remember also, that experiences with French speakers outside of school will be useful to round out the academic, and somewhat formal language learned in the classroom.
10. Can I switch my child out of immersion?
Yes, it certainly possible. However, if you are not convinced that immersion is the program you want, it is better not to begin. Your child will easily pick up any negative feelings you may have, and this will affect his/her learning at school.
11. If we move to another province, will my child fit into an English school?
If you move before grade one, or after grade two, there will be few if any difficulties. Moving at the end of grade one, means your child will need some help with English reading
12. Shouldn’t some sort of screening take place?
The only children found to be very poor candidates for immersion are those with a poor sense of auditory discrimination or auditory memory. In almost all cases, this is apparent to the kindergarten teacher and a change can be made before grade one. Children who may have difficulty learning to read in English may have difficulty learning to read in French. It is generally the actual reading skills that these children have trouble with, not the second language.
13. What if my child wants to go to the bathroom or is injured and he cannot communicate in French?
All teachers speak English and if necessary, will do so in an emergency.
14. What type of accent will my child have?
Standard French vocabulary and structures are taught. A variety of accents exist in all languages; during a school career a child will be exposed to teachers from various parts of the world who are models of well-spoken French.
15. How can I evaluate my child’s progress if nobody speaks French at home?
In addition to the progress reports, there is also communication with the parents through newsletters, parent-teacher interviews, special notices and phone calls. Parents are also welcome to visit a class or teacher at any time upon having received permission from the principal.
16. What about the “learning disabled” student?
It appears unlikely that immersion programs cause learning difficulties - they would arise regardless of the educational setting. Students with a variety of problems do well in French immersion programs, in that academically they progress at a rate one would expect were they in an English stream. French immersion programs may be particularly appropriate environment for many disabled students to learn French.