Language Immersion Program

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SJFcollege-language immersion logo CMYK final.pngIn 2019 the College will be providing Year 8 students with the opportunity to be a part of our new and exciting Language Immersion Program.

Language immersion is an engaging and innovative way for students to learn another language and improve their self-discipline and motivation as a learner by studying the curriculum of a subject in the French language. In 2019, students may elect to study Religious Education in the French language. These students will continue to study French grammar and vocabulary in their standard French language class.

Language Immersion students will follow the same curriculum as other students but will complete the subject, including assessment work and examinations, in the French language.

Girls who have a passion for learning, a desire to expand their brains and develop their skills as a learner and who are prepared to work hard, should consider Language Immersion.

While the Language Immersion Program provides students the opportunity to strengthen their French language skills, perhaps the most significant benefits extend beyond language learning. Learning any language through immersion provides benefits that are the building blocks for a successful learner. Some of these benefits include:

·         Improved study skills, self-discipline and motivation
·         Greater mental flexibility
·         Enhanced listening and thinking skills
·         Creative problem-solving skills
·         An improved understanding of the English language
·         Faster language acquisition
·         The confidence and enrichment that comes from success

Why Language Immersion? 

year7.jpgImagine learning to play a muscial instrument such piano without being able to touch the keyboard. To learn how to master a musical instrument required that we gain both knowlege and skill simulatenously. In other words, we learn effectively by experiencing both learning about the instrument, whilst putting knowledge to practice. This is as true of music, as it is of language. In the evening, or at school, a student may be given time to practise music by playing the piano, but do you, or your children, have the opportunity to practise playing the language during or after school? If not, then what is learnt in their language lessons may be wasted to some extent. Language Immersion prevents this from happening by giving opportunities to students to practice what they learn whilst they learn.​


 

Language and Thinking Skills

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We often underestimate our child’s ability to learn languages. The brain offers enormous capacity for languages. If a child learns different languages then this will develop the thinking processes within the brain itself. This is why the ability to ‘think’ in different languages is so often seen as an advantage.
What we need to realise is that the ability to use different languages, even to a modest extent, can have a positive impact on the student’s thinking processes. Being able to see the same phenomenon from different angles, as though looking through different language ‘spectacles’, can have a very interesting impact on our ability to think and understand. In other words, being able to frame their thoughts in more than one language can give advantages to a student in terms of thinking and studying. Language Immersion doesn’t only promote linguistic competence. Because of the different ‘thinking horizons’ which result from working in another language it can also have an impact on conceptualization, literally how we think. Being able to think about something in different languages can enrich our understanding of concepts, and help broaden our conceptual mapping resources. This allows better association of different concepts and helps the learner go towards a more sophisticated level of learning in general. Language Immersion provides a situation in which the attention of the child is on some form of learning activity which is not the language itself. So what we are doing is providing the opportunity to learn to ‘think’ in the language, not just learn about the language itself as the major learning focus.​​​

What are the benefits?

  • Language learning improves cognitive abilities
  • Language learning is beneficial in the development of students' reading abilities
  • Language learners transfer skills from one language to another
  • Learning a language can improve a students' ability to hypothesise in science
  • Language learning correlates with higher academic achievement in standardized tests
  • Language learning can improve memory and problem solving skills
  • Language learning is linked to improved verbal and spatial abilities​

A Student's Perspective 

Lydia Paine- Student in the Glennie School French Immersion Program 

French Immersion helped me to become a better student and stay on top of my work. Having never taken French before commencing the program,
initially I found it difficult. As I became more familiar with the language everything began to fall into place. Being surrounded by other students who were all enthusiastic to learn and do their best encouraged me to work hard. In terms of my grades, as my French skills became stronger my grades improved. I found that, as it became easier to understand the language, all I had to do was understand the content of the lessons just the same as I would if I were learning in English.​