Monday, March 31, 2008

Update to Early French Immersion in NB Story

I recently blogged about how I learned that the only bilingual province in Canada is cutting their early immersion program. The story has grown.

The Globe and Mail has picked up the story generating lots of discussion on the message boards and it reiterates a lot of what I said in my first post about the issues.

The parents' message has been gaining traction. Former New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord, who has just completed a national report on bilingualism, calls the action a mistake. Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser says the government's decision to end early immersion is a disappointment.

"I think it's unfortunate that this tool and opportunity - which has proven very successful in other jurisdictions - is being eliminated," he said in an interview.

Research is conclusive that the earlier the better when it comes to teaching young minds a second language.
A report that fuelled the government's decision found that New Brunswick children weren't staying with the immersion program, and weren't graduating with proficient French skills. So, Education Minister Kelly Lamrock decided to shake the system up.
Several academics hotly dispute the findings that justified Mr. Lamrock's decision and call the report statistically flawed. They argue the government should fix French immersion rather than eliminate it.
French immersion courses are offered in every province in Canada, enrolling 309,000 students or nearly 8 per cent of all eligible students nationwide. Participation rates climb to 36 per cent in Quebec and 26 per cent in New Brunswick, according to Canadian Parents for French.
Fred Genesee, a psychologist at McGill University and world authority on immersion, says research is conclusive that children learn a second language best at a young age. "Early immersion is more effective than late immersion. It gets kids when they are more receptive to learning." Prof. Genesee said. Children's "neuro-cognitive" abilities also favour early learning. "We know it can work," Prof. Genesee said. "If it's not working in New Brunswick it's not about the program - it's about how they're delivering the program."

Take a look at this (PDF) "Beyond Hysteria: The Facts about FSL and the Lamrock Plan" which talks about the statistically flawed report, which backs the decision the NB government made.

Facebook groups/campaigns have also started.

And Crux of the Matter also picked up the story (Thanks for the link).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dont waste your money on Trudeaus form of bilingualism cause Canada will never truly be bilingual plus it discriminates against the ROC.

Mon Mar 31, 12:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger HammertimeGP said...

Sat Apr 05, 06:41:00 PM EDT  

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