What is French Immersion?

Immersion is the most effective method known for teaching a second-language.

Early immersion works well because a young child lacks self-consciousness, prejudice and negativism… and loves mimicry, memorization and repetition. Early immersion provides more time working in a second-language… and more time results in more learning.

In kindergarten the teacher addresses the class in French, although the children often continue to use English, especially among themselves. By the end of the year children are able to recognize a large vocabulary and are attempting to use single words and a few short sentences. They are able to follow the teacher’s instructions and to understand simple stories.

In Grade 1 all instruction, including reading, writing and arithmetic, is given in French. Speaking skills receive greater emphasis and the children get better at expressing themselves in French. They are usually speaking only French in the classroom by Christmas.

In general, beginning at about Grade 3, one period each day is devoted to English language arts. In later years, the amount of time spent in each language varies with different school systems. Check with your own school system to find out what their policies are.

The aim of early immersion is functional bilingualism. Graduates of immersion are able to communicate comfortably in the second-language while maintaining the same fluency in their mother tongue as their peers in standard English programs.

Why should I choose French immersion for my children?
Because it opens one more door for them and for their future well-being. Graduates of a full immersion program can expect increased appreciation of other languages and cultures, enhanced career potential, and a key to learning other languages as well as a more global view of Canada and the world.

Is French Immersion for everyone?
Immersion is suitable for children of all academic abilities. French Immersion may present an additional challenge to your child but it is not to be confused with enrichment. It is a program developed for the specific purpose of giving Anglophone school children the opportunity to become bilingual, while still maintaining their English skills. The Immersion method was created for children whose classroom language is not their first language. If you have any specific concerns, talk to a teacher in an immersion program near you or contact CPF-SK.

Will my children learn the same things as their peers in the English program?
Both programs follow the guidelines of the Saskatchewan Department of Learning. The French Immersion curricula is the same as the English one except for French Language Arts. Only the language of instruction is different.

When is English introduced?
In Saskatchewan, English must be introduced by Grade 2 or 3. Some school divisions choose to introduce it earlier. Students are exposed to one period a day of English language arts. Within a year of two, they should be reading in both languages. Skills in one language can be transferred to benefit the development of the other.

What if my child needs extra help or an extra challenge?
Not all schools offer remedial or enrichment activities in French, although many schools do have resource teachers who are bilingual. CPF encourages school boards to provide similar support services in both official languages. A child with learning difficulties should not have to leave the program to get help or enrichment.

How can I help if I don't speak French?
Your encouragement and belief in the value of a second-language will strengthen your child's learning experience. CPF can supply a book called 'YES, you can help!'. Contact the CPF-SK office for information on ordering a copy. We also have a 'French

Are there any other French programs?

Yes. In Saskatchewan, from kindergarten to Grade 12, you can find the following French-language programs:

• French immersion
• core French (basic French)
• intensive French
• Fransaskois (Francophone or French-first-language) Schools

At the post-secondary level, students and adults can learn or continue with their French in Saskatchewan at:

• The University of Saskatchewan
• St. Thomas More College
• The University of Regina
• Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Sciences and Technologies (SIAST)
• And many communities offer independent classes or informal gatherings for adults to learn and/or practice their language skills.

What is core French?
Core French is a second-language program in which French is taught as a subject or course for one period a few times a week within the English stream program. It is a program in which the desired outcomes for students are:

• A good foundation in French from which to pursue fluency
• Insights into and an appreciation of Francophone cultures in Saskatchewan, Canada and the world
• A program most commonly offered as early as Grade 1 supported by a provincial curriculum

In the core French program, students develop basic oral comprehension and communication skills. At the primary level, there is a strong emphasis on helping students develop the oral communication skills they need to understand and interact with others. Many of the skills developed in lower grades continue to be developed and refined as students move on through the grades. In the core French program, students advance through an organized sequence of learning experiences that permit a steady growth of knowledge and skills.

The amount of French studied in a school year per week varies with school jurisdiction. Some programs start in elementary school, while others begin in high school. French is usually offered as an option at the high school level.

What is the difference between core French & French Immersion?
In core French, your child learns French as a specific subject within the curriculum of English-language schools. In French Immersion programs, ideally all activities and learning, except for English language art classes, are in French.

What are quality core French programs?
A good core French program should:

• Begin early in elementary school and continue through secondary school
• Include at least 40 minutes of instruction daily
• Be taught by a teacher who is fluent in French
• Use French as the language of communication in the classroom
• Follow a curriculum emphasizing communicative skills and vocabulary suitable to the age and interests of the students
• Provide opportunities to use French in communication with native speakers
• Have French-language materials in the school library at a level that the students can read and understand
• Provide out-of-classroom opportunities to use French
• Include written and audio-visual materials that foster an appreciation of the cultures of French-speaking people

Are the results from core French programs very different from French immersion?
Yes. Students can achieve a moderate level of proficiency in core French programs while graduates of early French immersion are expected to be functionally bilingual.

What is intensive French?
Intensive French, otherwise known as intensive core French, is defined as an enrichment of the core French program by the creation of a period of intensive exposure to French, which enables students to receive, in one school year up to four times the number of hours of instruction normally devoted to French. It is a program where the class instruction is carried on in French 65% to 80% of the school day, usually incorporated into the core French program in Grades f5 or 6 for a period of five months, usually from September to the end of January. This integrates two different concepts: amount of time and concentration o

Why Learn French?

  1. It’s an intellectual exercise for the brain, a challenge, we are given certain capacities and we were given those capacities to use!

  2. Learning French is also a discipline, you learn grammar, structure, vocabulary, and you also learn humor and so much more about another culture!

  3. Today’s students have been, either in reality or virtually around the world and languages, including French, are not going to disappear.

  4. Learning French helps you to understand other people and their culture. The word “to eat” in Chinese really means “to eat rice”, in English we say, “to break bread”…a view into a whole different culture, geography and economy.

  5. Language is about discovering a new world, and that new world will certainly be one where ideas, knowledge and communication will be the currency. Learning another language is like giving a gold deposit to your child, but without the risk.

  6. Knowledge makes people happy, the satisfaction of knowing that one has done one’s best for oneself and society.

  7. No one ever regretted the opportunity to learn another language.

  8. In addition to developing a lifelong ability to communicate with more people, children may derive other benefits from early language instruction, including improved overall school performance and superior problem-solving skills. Knowing a second-language ultimately provides a competitive advantage in the workforce by opening up additional job opportunities.

  9. Statistics show that students of foreign languages score higher on standardized tests conducted in English.

  10. French is the official language of 33 countries in the world.

  11. French is spoken in two of the G7 countries.

  12. French is the mother tongue of 75 million people.

  13. Learning French can help you learn other languages like Spanish.

  14. 200 million people around the world understand, speak, read or write French.

  15. French is the official language of postal services across the world.

  16. Along with English, French is the official working language of the United Nations, UNESCO, NATO, CUSO, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund, the International Labour Bureau, and the International Olympic Committee.

  17. French-speaking Africa represents an area larger than the USA.

  18. French is the most widely taught second-language after English.

  19. Over 20,000 English words have their origins in French, so learning French helps you to increase your English vocabulary.

  20. In terms of the number of words, French is the second largest language after English.

  21. In the humanities and social sciences, many for the most important writings have come from France. Students and researchers who know French have access to these works for several years before they are translated into English. Many significant works are never translated and remain accessible only to those who know the language.

  22. France is the world's top tourist destination (60 million tourists yearly).

  23. France is in fourth position in terms of world power and it does not have the debt facing many other major industrialized nations (A positive sign for joint projects, business and scientific cooperation.).

  24. France has the fourth largest economy in the world after the USA, Japan and Germany.

  25. France is the fourth largest producers of automobiles in the world (Renault, Peugeot, Citroën) and the third largest exporter of automobiles.

  26. The French export more per capita than the Japanese and more than twice as much as the Americans. Overall, France is the fourth largest exporting nation of the world.

  27. France offers a range of generous scholarships to our graduate students and teachers.

  28. France has the world's greatest number of Nobel Prize winners in literature (12).

  29. French trade with Canada was very high in the last decade.

  30. A good knowledge of French enables you to fully enjoy, at the theatre or on TV, some of the best films in the world.

  31. Learning French can help you improve the interpersonal skills you bring to an international career in computer technology, pharmaceuticals or engineering.

  32. You can do so many more interesting things on the Internet if you speak French (high quality sites from fashion to finance, society to science, music to medicine).

  33. For those with appropriate French skills, there are also possibilities for work in the following fields: international business, international agencies, the tourism and hospitality business, the diplomatic service, the post office, the RCMP, French research institutes, teaching, translation, interpreter, government.

  34. More than nine million Canadians speak French.

  35. More than 50,000 people in Saskatchewan speak French.

  36. Other than English, French is the only language widely spoken on all continents and the 11th most widely-spoken language in the world.

  37. Learning a second-language has been shown to have a positive impact on intellectual growth. In fact, studies suggest learning a second-language can enhance cognitive and intellectual abilities.

  38. Over 150,000 Canadian students attend French-first-language schools outside Quebec, 320,000 are in French immersion, and more than two million Canadian students are enrolled in core French.

  39. The number of schools offering French immersion has increased from 237 in 1977 to 2,115 schools across Canada today, including every province and territory.

  40. Learning a second-language enhances problem solving and hypothesis-testing skills - the same skills used in math and science.

Why should I stay in French Immersion through to Grade 12?

It is important to remember that French immersion programs are designed to extend through to Grade 12. The skills students learn in the early grades are the building blocks for the development during the secondary years of more sophisticated thinking and communicative skills in French. By continuing in French Immersion in secondary school, students maintain and extend their French skills. The French immersion program is designed to maximize the time spent using French. In secondary classes, concepts, strategies, literature, technology, and global issues are discussed in depth in the French language.

How will my French skills influence my career path in Saskatchewan?
Studies have shown that students who learn another language develop keen analytic, restructuring, and divergent thinking skills. No matter what field students may enter in the workplace or in post-secondary institutions, the ability to read in another language opens doors to a wealth of valuable resources. As the job market and the workplace change due to increasingly global situations, it has become extremely important to have a thorough knowledge of at least one other language.

Students who continue in French Immersion to Grade 12 have strong French skills, allowing them to compete for jobs. Students who withdraw from the program after elementary school may not have a sufficient level of proficiency. We live in an officially bilingual country, having proficiency in both official languages is obviously an added value that opens doors.

What do French Immersion graduates have to show for their efforts?
In Saskatchewan, students who have completed 50% of their high school credits in French will have a special notice on their transcripts. Individual boards of education can then grant a bilingual diploma to these graduates. All post-secondary institutions in Saskatchewan accept Français 30 as one of the two language art course required for admission. Advance credit in French is accepted by many universities.

What about continuing French at the post-secondary level?
In Saskatchewan, the University of Regina offers the 'Baccalauréat en éducation' program for students wishing to pursue a career as a French teacher. The Institut français at the University of Regina also coordinates a range of courses taught in French both locally and through high tech connections to French-language post-secondary institutions elsewhere in Canada so students can complete degrees or diplomas with a high French content. The University of Saskatchewan offers some undergraduate and graduate courses in French language and literature. The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan cooperate to provide bursaries for qualified students who wish to study in French at institutions in Saskatchewan as well as in other provinces.

Do you know of anyone who regrets being bilingual?
Completing something you start is an important concept in life. Students who complete their studies in French immersion are extremely proud of their accomplishment – the ability to complete an educational goal tends to stay with one into future endeavors. So consider this: 5, 10, maybe 15 years down the road, when opportunity knocks, you can’t just put everything on hold while taking a year or more to study French. Studying French at the high school and post-secondary levels means you will already have that added value.

French Immersion Questions and Answers – Printable Pamphlet