The current French Immersion classroom has become a very diverse and exciting place over the last few years. With the implementation of new technologies and new methods that are changing and improving all of the time, the French Immersion classroom has become a very welcoming place for many students. Teachers are using new and exciting strategies to teach the material, and the classroom has become more focused on the students and their grasp of the material, versus learning through note-taking and lectures. This is also true for Sciences 7.
According to the Newfoundland and Labrador Curriculum Guide for French Immersion, students are learning the outcomes through learner-centered instruction, which is "focused on drawing upon the interests, knowledge, skills and experiences of students." This means that teachers are able to keep the interests of students, resulting in a better understanding of the material.
New technologies have enhanced the French Immersion program immensely. With the use of SmartBoards, the internet, as well as unlimited access to video and audio ressources, the French Immersion classroom has become much more relevant to the students. The Curriculum guide describes the Science component of Intermediate French Immersion as "organized around the four General Curriculum Outcomes for science: Skills, Knowledge, Science, Technology, Society, and Environment (STSE), and Attitudes." It focuses on the application of the curriculum through problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities, which can be taught through the use of many different teaching methods and strategies, including technology.
Many parents have questioned the importance of teaching courses such as science or mathematics in French. They wonder if it is necessary for their child to learn all of the material in French instead of English. It is essential that as much material can be taught in French as possible in order to get the best results from the students with regards to the French language. Research shows that the development of a second language will "remain abstract and largely trivial unless students have the opportunity to express themselves – their identities and their intelligence – through that language. There must be an authentic audience that motivates communication ideally in both oral and written modes" (Keep, 1993). Language and thought develop simultaneously as students engage in authentic learning experiences that allow them to construct meaning. Thus, whether a student learns the material in French or not should not affect the transfer or knowledge later on.
The French Immersion classroom has become a very exciting place for a child to, and I believe that it is our job as educators to keep the material relevant and interesting in order to get them to give their best effort.
Keep, L. (1993). French immersion attrition: Implications for model building. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Alberta.
Newfoundland and Labrador Government, The Department of Education. (2008-2009). Program of Studies -French Immersion. Retrieved from: http://www.ed.gov.nl.ca/edu/k12/french/immersion/pos/FrenchImmersion147-196.pdf