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What Is Late French Immersion?

Late French Immersion is not a continuation of Early French Immersion. It is a separate program, offered in addition to Early Immersion, which provides an alternative final entry point for students who want to become bilingual.

Late French Immersion programs vary across BC and the Yukon. They usually involve two to three years of intensive instruction in French and a follow-up program of less intensity. Usually, Late French Immersion starts in Grade 6 with 100% of instruction in French. The next year the English language arts are re-introduced and all other instruction is in French. In Grade 8, the Early and Late Immersion students join together into one program. The two groups become academically cohesive during the secondary years. In Grades 8 – 10 they receive 50 – 75% instruction in French. For Grades 11 – 12 at least 25% of their instruction must be in French.

You should contact the school for complete details about its Late French Immersion program.

Consider these research findings:

  • Students whose parents have positive attitudes to French tend to do better in French.
  • They also develop a more positive attitude toward French culture and Francophones.
  • You can play an active role in your child’s success in French Immersion, even if you don’t speak French….support and encouragement are biggest factors.

What are the program goals?

  • To develop language skills enabling students to participate easily in French conversation.
  • To provide an insight into the French culture.
  • To take post secondary education with French as the language of instruction.
  • To gain employment using French as the work language.
  • To achieve skills in all subject areas equivalent to those in the English program.

Progression of Learning French in Grade 6 Late French Immersion

September through December January Spring
  • Speaks a bit in French
  • Speaks in longer sentences
  • Has limited comprehension
  • Tries to make sense of words
  • Gains confidence in abilities
  • Takes risks
  • Uses his/her abilities in English to make sense of what the teacher is saying
  • Becomes familiar with sounds and routines
  • Speaks in short, complete sentences
  • Speaks about concrete things
  • Has an average comprehension (60% of message)
  • Comprehends written messages with short, simple sentences
  • Has acquired confidence
  • Takes risks
  • Starts to talk to other students in French
  • Starts to self-correct and recognize errors
  • Speaks in longer sentences
  • Can participate in an abstract conversation
  • Comprehends more complex written Messages
  • Is comfortable in a variety of situations
  • Takes risks
  • Is able to go beyond what is given
  • Works independently

How is Late French Immersion taught?

Students are taught the same curriculum as English students but the language of instruction is French. At first, students have limited vocabulary so teachers concentrate on language. Later as language skills develop the smaller details are filled in. The method used is very similar to that used in English as a Second Language classes, i.e. a proven methodology.

What about the students’ academic achievements?

Research shows there is absolutely no detrimental effect on academic performance in any subject area despite learning in a new language. A larger English vocabulary could be a spin-off as French words are often similar to English words. In the Foundation Skills Assessments in Grades 4, 7 and 10 students are tested in English in reading, writing and numeracy. French Immersion students do better on average at all grade levels.

How fluent will students become?

“Fluency” and ‘bilingualism’ are difficult terms to define. However, students completing the Late French Immersion program should be comfortable speaking French and be able to understand native French speakers with ease. Their French accents will probably not be as authentic as that of Early French Immersion graduates. Late French Immersion graduates should be capable of working and living in a French environment and studying at a French-language university.

Are all subjects taught in French?

No, the first two years of Late Immersion are taught 80% to 100% of the day in French. High school Immersion starts at 50% to 75% and declines to 12.50% – 25% by Grade 12.

What characteristics do students need to be successful?

  • Motivation to learn
  • Openness to learning in another language.
  • Eagerness to meet new friends and have new experiences
  • Willingness to work hard, especially in the initial fall term when learning basic language skills
  • Enjoyment of language activities and a willingness to spend lots of time chatting to friends in class en français!

What commitment do Parents need?

  • Parents do not need to speak French and most have little or no French skills.
  • Encouragement: especially during the initial fall term adjustment period when students
  • acquire basic language skills.
  • Willingness to help with homework, letting the student do the translations.
  • Recognition of their child’s wonderful accomplishments!

What is Canadian Parents for French?

Founded in 1977, Canadian Parents for French (CPF) is the national network of volunteers which values French as an integral part of Canada and which is dedicated to the promotion and creation of French second-language learning opportunities for young Canadians. With approximately 200 chapters across the country, CPF offers concerned adults the opportunity to work with others who are committed to enhancing the quality of French second-language education.

French Immersion is an optional program available at the discretion of local school boards. CPF Chapters advise and assist parents to work co-operatively with school administration.