Language immersion schools

What do you guys all think about this? I do know quite a few Canadian parents who chose to immerse their kids in French schools but I’m not familiar with all of these languages. What a huge choice.

What other languages do you think students should be immersed in? Would you put your child in one or would you if you could have?

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15 Responses to Language immersion schools

  1. Sue says:

    My best friend from grade school has her children enrolled in a Spanish Immersion school. A lot of factors weighed on their choice and it came down to the Immersion school being the best school in their area. All of her daughter’s homework is in Spanish so my friend has a hard time helping her, but I guess it’s going great and they are so thankful she’s there.

  2. Jenny says:

    I had the choice to take Spanish in high school, but I chose not to. I don’t really feel the need to know another language. I think it may be mandatory in schools now to take a language class these days. (I think) Chances are you are gonna forget the language when you’re done with school if you’re never gonna use it. So why take the class?

  3. SKL says:

    I have somewhat of an obsession for foreign languages, so I am all for kids learning them. I do think that in the USA, learning proper English is most important. But if they can learn that at home, then it makes sense to put them in an immersion class / school so they can pick up a second useful language. In some parts of the USA, Spanish is locally as important as English. Others might want their kids to learn Hebrew or the language spoken by non-American grandparents. Even if there is no “need” to know another language, it is supposedly good for the brain, so I’d probably try to do it if presented with a feasible opportunity.

    As far as I know, there isn’t anything like that where I live. I did hire a Spanish-speaking nanny in the hope that she’d immerse the kids in that language (which they’d heard exclusively before I took custody), while I spoke English to them; but that didn’t pan out. They now attend a daycare that provides classes in French and (supposedly, they keep promising) Spanish. They also still spend Saturday mornings with Nanny, and I’ve asked her to spend at least 1 hour speaking only Spanish. They get exposure to other languages from time to time as well. I think it’s all good.

  4. Laura says:

    I don’t know that I’d do an immersion with Josh, but I would love it if they offered him language lessons. AND I wish that they would have a language other than Spanish. To me, having only Spanish offered (which is what’s offered at the HS level) is as bad as those who say that we should only speak English. As SKL said, any other language is expanding the brain – it’s forcing it to work within a completely different set of parameters. So having different languages offered – French, German, even Sign Language and Braille – would be awesome.

    And probably complete immersion would be the best way to learn, although you would have that homework barrier…

  5. Joseph says:

    We all have mandatory French classes here. Where we are, they offer the German class option in place of French. Either way, they are mandatory up to High School.

    We do have several French Immersion schools as well. Unless it’s spoken at home, there is no real point IMO, as it will never truly take hold. The upside of French Immersion schools is teh future potential for a government job. As a bilingual person will be favoured over a uniligual in those circumstances.

    I would rather my child learn to teh best of their ability and school can be hard enough. So sticking to just the separate language class is sufficient in my mind, as opposed to immersion.

    • Joy says:

      I agree with you Joseph about if it’s not spoken at home it may not take as well. My very good girlfriend lives in St. Malo and she only speaks English to her girls and her husband speaks French. So they are always hearing both languages. It’s funny to listen to one speaking one and the other speaking another.

      In Canada you’re right again, if you don’t speak French and English, you could lose a lot of job opportunities.

      • Joseph says:

        Outside of Quebec (which is NOT bilingual, it is officially French) and New Brunswick (the only officially bilingual province) being bilingual really only helps for a few provincial government jobs and slightly more federal government positions. Other than that it is no real benefit…other than culturally beneficial to learn another language.

        But in reality there are more people in Manitoba with German as their mother tongue than there are French. Even Ukrainian is higher than French.

      • Joy says:

        I know. Around our “home” area, you’re more likely to her low German or Ukrainian than French.

  6. Nikki says:

    I took French in high school. That was a hard language to learn, and I retained not a lick of it! I think it’s good to know a 2nd language. Why not? I hope Bailey decides to learn a 2nd language, and I wouldn’t care which one he chose.

  7. Joy says:

    Well, immersion schools aren’t like learning a language for an hour. It’s the only one spoken. When Lisa put her kids in full French immersion, it was a lot harder for the older two girls than the younger one. Her middle daughter almost didn’t make it so that’s why Mike started only speaking French and Lisa spoke English and it got easier for her like that and it’s all that Emily knows. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have done it unless I did it when they were really young. School is hard enough “normally” but when you change the whole language on a kid, it has to make it so much worse for them.

    • Nikki says:

      Oh, I wouldn’t ever put Bailey in a school like that!!! Not here, I don’t see the point in that.

    • Joy says:

      I know. I feel if you’re going to do this it has to be when your child is really young.

    • Joseph says:

      Yes, immersion is too hard for some, as you combine a new language with all lessons taught in that language only. Thus the english school with language class only is much more doable. But you need to keep that language going in the home, or it will be lost.

  8. SKL says:

    My friend was put into a [local language] medium school in middle school, even though she knew very little of the language. She had been a top student before, but that really threw her for a loop. The parents’ reason was that the new school was the best school for science majors, and they probably figured she was smart enough to catch up. Thing is, not everyone can learn languages easily, even if they are smart about other things.

    I do believe immersion is a good way to teach a language at any age, but I don’t see why it would have to be full time. They use immersion in my kids’ French class, in the sense that the teacher speaks no English to the kids during that class period, but that’s the extent of it. For kids in KG or above, I’d hope they at least set part of the day aside to teach English reading and writing. Especially if the immersion language doesn’t use the Roman alphabet.

  9. Phyllis says:

    I can’t decide what I really think on this one. One the one hand, the younger a kid learns a second language the better it will “take” and they’ll be able to retain it. However, total immersion seems like it’d be completely overwhelming. I’m just not sure.

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