Language immersion is an approach to second language instruction in which the usual curricular activities are conducted in a second language. This means that the new language is the medium of instruction as well as the object of instruction.
Immersion students acquire the necessary language skills to understand and communicate about the subject matter set out in the district-wide program of instruction. They follow the same curricula, and in some instances, use the same materials (translated into the target language) as those used in the non-immersion schools of their district.
A great deal of research has centered on second language acquisition in various school settings. Over the past thirty years, due in large part to the success of immersion programs, there has been a shift away from teaching language in isolation and toward integrating language and content.
A growing body of research on immersion education has shown that immersion students consistently meet or exceed academic expectations in the following areas:
According to the most recent survey by the Center for Applied Linguistics, there are 448 immersion programs in 22 different languages. In Minnesota alone, there are some 50 elementary and secondary programs in which students are learning content curriculum within an immersion setting, making us second in the nation for immersion education!
The Minnesota Advocates for Immersion Network (MAIN) and the American Council on Immersion Education (ACIE) web sites are excellent resources for parents considering immersion education for their child. You will also find these articles interesting:
L'ÉTOILE DU NORD.
Hennepin, Marquette, Nicollet, La Salle.
Belle Plaine, Bellevue, Champlin, Claremont, Coleraine, Detroit Lakes, Duluth, Faribault, French Lake, Grand Marais, Grand Portage, La Crescent, Lac qui Parle, Lafayette, Le Roy, Le Sueur, Mille Lacs, Montrose, Prairie du Chien, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Cloud....
Streets, cities, townships - and we haven't even mentioned lakes, rivers and landmarks. Minnesota has a rich French cultural heritage that is celebrated here at Normandale. That, in addition to sharing a border - and history - with our Canadian neighbors, makes our French immersion program especially relevant here in Minnesota.
Students at Normandale are also part of a larger, international community. Over the years our staff has represented many French-speaking cultures - France, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Senegal - and we are reminded that people all over the world share our adopted language.
Normandale parents offer to their children the gift of a second language, and those children hold a special place in our increasingly international world.