Language Immersion FAQ's
What are some considerations for enrolling in an immersion program?
- Immersion programs are the fastest growing and most effective type of foreign language program available in the U.S.
- Most immersion students can be expected to reach higher levels of second language proficiency than students in the other school-based language programs.
- Becoming bilingual and bicultural opens doors to global communication and at times global opportunities for employment.
- Some colleges/universities accept students and offer them college credit based on a level of language acquisition that is fostered by immersion programs.
- Parents see the advantages of an interdependent world community and wish to provide their children with the necessary skills to live in what is becoming a smaller world environment.
- Parents value and want their students to gain a bicultural perspective and experience.
Immersion learners may also benefit cognitively, exhibiting flexible thinking and problem-solving abilities. The processes learners need to use to make sense of the teachers meaning make them pay closer attention and think harder. The rigor of this learning process appears to have a positive effect on cognitive development.
Does it matter that no one at home speaks the target language?
- The program is designed primarily for children whose families do not speak the target language. Teachers are aware of this when they send home notices or assign homework. Report cards are in English.
- Families are not expected to be able to assist their children with their Spanish homework. They are, however, expected to help develop their English language skills by reading to them daily and by engaging them in activities that enhance their cognitive and affective development.
- Research shows that the stronger the development of the native language, the greater the proficiency in the immersion language.
- Families should understand that learning core subjects in the target language will take dedication and hard work.
Will immersion students participate in the same subject areas as the students in the regular English program?
- The subject areas in the immersion programs are the same as the subject areas in the English-only programs.
- Students receive the instruction in the basic subjects: Math, reading/language arts, science, health, social studies, music, P.E. etc.
Is only Spanish spoken in the Spanish immersion portion of the day?
- In order for students to learn and gain confidence in Spanish, it is extremely important that Spanish is the target language in the immersion classroom.
How will learning everything in a second language affect my child's English language and literacy development?
- Research consistently finds that the immersion experience may actually enhance English language development.
Is immersion an appropriate choice for all children?
- Immersion demands a family commitment to support their student over a period of at least 5 years with the same cohort.
- Families should not consider immersion because their child has a best friend who will enter the program.
- There is still a great deal of debate over whether children with language-based learning disabilities will thrive in an immersion program (Fortune, et. a', 2003). Individual differences and family commitment appear to be some of the mitigating factors.