We found this article online at http://carla.umn.edu/immersion/acie/vol10/may2007_parentsten.html
and thought it answered many of your FAQ'S......
Top Ten Answers for Parents about Immersion EducationThe ACIE Newsletter, May 2007, Vol. 10, No. 3By Canadian Parents for French, Ottawa, Ontario
Why should I choose immersion education for my child?
Parents want to make the best educational choices for their children, and many would like them to have the advantages of bilingualism. The ability to understand and speak more than one language is not the only benefit of immersion education. Research shows that students gain additional cognitive, academic and employment benefits.
How does immersion differ from other types of language instruction?
In traditional second language instruction, the target language is the subject of instruction. Immersion programs use the target language for instruction and as a means of communication. This authentic communication allows students to learn a second language in a similar manner to the way that they have learned their first.
Do children need above average academic ability to succeed in immersion?
Students with lower academic ability do as well in immersion as they might in English programs and have the additional benefit of bilingualism. Researchers found that “below-average students in immersion scored at the same level as below-average students in the English program on English language and academic achievement tests.” In addition, “below-average students in immersion scored significantly higher on second-language tests than the below-average students in the English program” (Genesee, in press).
How bilingual will my child be?
Immersion programs have generally produced better second-language proficiency results than traditional foreign language teaching strategies. The intensive exposure to the target language is important because it allows students quickly to reach the level of second-language proficiency required to study other subjects in the new language. Immersion students approach native-like levels in second-language listening comprehension and reading by the end of elementary school, although they are distinguishable from native speakers in speaking and writing. High school immersion graduates should be able to work in or pursue post-secondary studies in their second language. In fact, in Canada, many high school immersion graduates attained an intermediate or higher level of second-language proficiency on Public Service Commission of Canada tests. (Lazaruk, in press)
Will immersion education affect my child’s English-language skills?
Students can add a second language at no cost to their first language competence (additive bilingualism) because languages are interdependent. Skills developed in the second language are available for learning and using in the first language and vice versa. First-language arts are introduced by the middle elementary years, while family and community also reinforce first language skills. (Lazaruk, in press)
Research has shown that “the effect of learning a second language on first-language skills has been positive in all studies done.... [and] the loss of instructional time in English has never been shown to have negative effects on the achievement of the first language.” (Bournot-Trites & Tellowitz, 2002) In fact, immersion students match and often surpass English program students’ performance by Grade 4 or 5 after first-language arts are introduced in the middle elementary years. (Turnbull, Hart & Lapkin, 2000)
Can my child really learn math and science in their second language?
Reviews of research studies found that immersion students met or exceeded English program students’ performance in mathematics and science, and province-wide assessments in three Canadian provinces* found that at grades 6, 8, and 10, respectively, immersion students did as well as or achieved at a significantly higher level than those in the regular program. (Bournot-Trites & Tellowitz, 2002; British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2000; Dube & MacFarlane, 1999; New Brunswick Department of Education, 2000; Turnbull, Hart & Lapkin, 2000.)
*Although other provinces and territories conduct province-wide assessments, they do not separate the results of immersion and English program students.
Will immersion graduates have trouble in university or college because they didn’t take high school subjects in English?
A survey of Canadian university students (Canadian Parents for French, 2005) found that the majority of immersion graduates surveyed reported no difficulty in adjusting to university courses offered in English. In fact, immersion graduates have more options than other students because in Canada they may choose to take some or all post-secondary courses in their second language. The majority of survey respondents reported no difficulty in making the transition from high school to university courses in French.
What are the cognitive benefits of being bilingual?
[Editor’s note: Research on the cognitive benefits of immersion education specifically is limited. Some researchers argue that immersion students’ language proficiency may not be developed as sufficiently as that of fully bilingual individuals who researchers feel more consistently exhibit the behaviors discussed below.]
What are the employment benefits of immersion education?
Bilinguals have access to a wider range of national and international jobs. Thousands of businesses operate in more than one language – airlines, import-export companies and other international businesses require employees with second-language skills and cultural sensitivity.
How can I help my child if I don’t know the language?
Immersion teachers know that most parents don’t understand the target language. Indeed, immersion programs were designed specifically for children of unilingual parents. You can help make your child’s second-language experience positive and lasting by being supportive and enthusiastic. Research shows that students whose parents have positive attitudes towards the target language do better in immersion programs. Remember that most skills learned in the first language are transferred to the second. Read to your children in English, encourage English writing, and introduce English-language word games like crossword puzzles, word searches, Scrabble and Password. Provide opportunities to use the target language outside of the classroom: borrow or buy books and videos, watch second-language TV with your child, and expose your child to second-language events and activities like plays, interest courses, and sport activities.
We are super excited to announce that Bilingual Butterflies is a Philly's Best for Families FINALIST! Thanks to everyone who voted :)
Parents always ask me for tips on what they can do to continue learning Spanish at home with their kids.
Here are some of my favorite tips:
Books, books, and more books!
There are a TON of awesome Spanish books out there and you don't have to be fluent to read them to or with your child. Amazon.com has a great selection of easy colorful books, perfect for any level of Spanish.
There is also the free library, I have found tons of really great books there. Some libraries have a larger selection than others. The good thing about libraries is you can try before you buy and if you're a little nervous or just don't know which books to look for then try the ones on my list of must haves.
I. La oruga muy hambrienta - Eric Carle
2. Donde esta Spot? - Eric Hill
3. Opuestos - Sandra Boynton
4. Buenas Noches Gorila- Peggy Rathmann
5. Donde esta el ombliguito?- Karen Kats
6. Perritos - Sandra Boynton
7. Tren de Carga- Donald Crews
8. Margaret y Margarita- Lynn Reiser
9. Buenas Noches Luna - Margaret Wise Brown
10. Perro Grande, Perro Pequeño- P.D. Eastman
These books are simple, easy to read, and most of them are books that your child may already know in English.
There is also music! Youtube has some really fun simple songs and if you allow your child to have screen time, why not do it in Español? Keep in mind that your child doesn't have to be glued to the screen you can play them while you're in the car or while your at home doing whatever you do. Youtube is also where we learned some of our favorite classroom songs.
Just type in 'Canciones Infantiles' and you should come up with a long list of fun songs to jam out to!
Hope you found these tips useful! Feel free to comment your own tips.