Auditory Problems in French Immersion: Can it Work?Should children with auditory discrimination or auditory processing problems remain in French immersion? Should students with a weakness in listening skills be transferred to the regular English program? Because in early immersion French is first learned through listening and speaking, over the years there has been a great deal of concern about the suitability of the program for children with auditory difficulties. However, as is the case for other types of learning difficulties, experience has shown that, with proper assistance, many students can function at their ability level while gaining all the benefits and opportunities that come with bilingualism. After all, didn’t they learn their first language the same way? READ MORE >>
The age at which children learn a second language can have a significant bearing on the structure of their adult brain, according to a new study. READ MORE >>
Housed in charming little Elmlea school, set on a tree-lined street in northwest Toronto, Cindy Auwaerter’s Grade 4 classroom features typical clusters of desks, colourful bulletin boards, and a checkerboard-pattern carpet in the centre of the room. But in this serene setting, a remarkable intersection of cultures and languages can be found — the 25 students, in characteristic Toronto fashion, have been drawn from nearly a dozen cultures, from the Middle East to Africa to the Caribbean. They speak English with one another out on the grassy playground, but in this class it’s en franÃ§ais, s’il vous plait. From the decor — posters and handwritten sheets display math (L’arrondissement des nombres), science (Qu’est-ce qu’un habitat?) and language (Les adjectifs possessifs) — to the gentle yet concise words that flow from Madame Auwaerter and the social chatter in the room, the children are completely immersed in French.Here is a very thorough article on FI which appears in the March 2013 issue of Canadian Family. READ MORE >>
Imagine if someone told you that you could take one step that would enable you to travel more freely, get paid more, read some of the world’s best literature, perform better in school, increase your focus, and enhance your understanding of other cultures. Such claims seem almost too good to be true. The fortunate news is that second-language learning is the one step that learners can take that will lead to these and other benefits. READ MORE >>
# 1 Benefits of Bilingualism:
We imagine that the experience of living within a global village—a context where disparate cultures, people, ideas, and languages come into regular contact—is a unique and distinguishing feature of modern life. In some ways it is, though our forebears weren’t always as isolated or as insular as we might think. This especially when it came to language. The experience of life in a multilingual environment is, historically, as common as breathing and disagreements.
Fred Genesee, a professor within the psychology department at McGill, has made a career of studying language acquisition and bilingualism. He writes that “historical documents indicate that individuals and whole communities around the world have been compelled to learn other languages for centuries and they have done so for a variety of reasons—language contact, colonization, trade, education through a colonial language, and intermarriage.” READ MORE >>
# 2 Competencies
Intercultural attitudes (savoir être): curiosity and openness, readiness to suspend disbelief about other cultures and belief about one’s own This means a willingness to relativise one’s own values, beliefs and behaviours, not to assume that they are the only possible and naturally correct ones, and to be able to see how they might look from an outsider’s perspective who has a different set of values, beliefs, and behaviours. This can be called the ability to ‘decentre’.
Knowledge (savoirs): of social groups and their products and practices in one’s own and in one’s interlocutor’s country, and of the general processes of societal and individual interaction. So, knowledge can be defined as having two major components: knowledge of social processes, and knowledge of illustrations of those processes and products; the latter includes knowledge about how other people are likely to perceive you, as well as some knowledge about other people.
Skills of interpreting and relating (savoir comprendre): the ability to interpret a document or event from another culture, to explain it and relate it to documents or events from one’s own.
Skills of discovery and interaction (savoir apprendre/faire): ability to acquire new knowledge of a culture and cultural practices and the ability to operate knowledge, attitudes, and kills under the constraints of real-time communication and interaction.
Critical cultural awareness (savoir s’engager): an ability to evaluate, critically and on the basis of explicit criteria, perspectives, practices, and products in one’s own and other cultures and countries. READ MORE >>