By Stephanie Bartlett
How many of you learned French in school and didn't have a chance to speak it? In our French Immersion program, we dedicate regular time and professional development to keep current on best practice. We want our French Immersion students to speak the language and be able to express themselves from the beginning of their language acquisition.
We have moved away from vocabulary lists to teach a theme or topic. Instead, we model and practice how to ask questions and how to answer in full sentences across all subject areas.
The results? Amazing and highly effective.
Our Kindergarten students are able to ask and answer familiar questions. They arrive each day with the understanding that they are welcomed and encouraged to express themselves en français. There is designated time throughout the day for support and practice. It filters and carries on through every grade in the school. I always feel a tingle and sense of satisfaction when I walk through the halls and hear older students speaking French with no adult present.
How do we do it? The answer is given first in a full sentence.
Je m'appelle Isla.
Then the question is modelled.
The work is done in partners, with an emphasis on eye contact and active listening with bodies facing each other. Our class loves to chat and sing outside, on the carpet, one on one with the teacher, after gym, and during snack. We add new vocabulary and sentences as the year progresses.