The Death of French Immersion Education in New Brunswick

Tuesday, March 18, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, I reported on New Brunswick's plans to "change" the French Immersion program across NB. Although I may no longer live in New Brunswick, nor teach in New Brunswick (though someday I might return), this issue still strikes a cord with me.

Well.. today, the FI program as I know it, has been axed. No longer will parents be able to enroll their children in early French Immersion, nor will students receive too much French education before grade 5 when ALL students will be required to participate in the "Intensive French Immersion" program.

NB Teachers, Parents Cope With Loss of French Immersion Program

Parents say 'Non' to NB French Plan

NB Students won't begin French until Grade 5

French Report may Revive Divisions

Parents Unsure Where to Enroll Students

And the report that caused all of this ruckus ....

Located, at my alma mater, Univerisy of New Brunswick, is the Second Language Research Institute of Canada, and they have some reactions and comments to the report on the state of French Immersion in New Brunswick, as well as a report on the problems with this report.

Letter to Premier Graham from J.Dicks, Director of L2RIC

Open letter to Minister Lamrock from University Consortium

Association canadienne des professeurs d'immersion L'ACPI dénonce les mesures envisagées par le ministre de l'Éducation du Nouveau-Brunswick, Kelly Lamrock Open letter put out by recognized researchers across the country and ACPI/CAIT that argues the research-based points in favour of Early French Immersion.

Canadian Parents for French New Brunswick


J. Whelan said...

This is the biggest mistake the NB education department has made since the self directed "foundations" program. To think intense grade five is equivalent to five years of French instruction and language acquisition is flawed. But to be the devils advocate... they don't have the French teachers needed to maintain French immersion as we know it. NB's population is shrinking and teachers, like us, are forced to leave. In addition, the pay is lower than out west (where the weather is better) so why stick around if you have the ability to teach French... its in high demand!
Still best of luck to the poor kids whose French may turn out like mine...

anitsirK said...

Reading this news, I feel like I just got punched in the face. I don't even know what to say. You can't teach people fluency in a second language, if you don't start at a very young age. This has been proven by studies time and again.

The idea of graduating "70 per cent of New Brunswick graduates ... with intermediate language proficiency" using their plan is just ludicrous. I spent 7 years in French immersion (grade 4 to 11, really). I also graduated in something like the top 10% of my class. I feel like I barely squeaked by with what I would consider intermediate French proficiency, even though I got an "oral proficiency level" of "advanced". To this day, I have a hard time remembering the right vocabulary when trying to speak French, but my comprehension is very good when reading or listening. If I hadn't been introduced to French at a young age (actually, preschool in Alberta was my first experience with French), I can only imagine how poor my French skills would be today. I know I certainly wouldn't be able to get away with pretending to be fluent when dealing with retail transactions in Quebec.

Veronique said...

I am appalled by this decision as well! I am a native New Brunswicker currently studying to primary/elementary French Immersion education in another province. This is like a slap in the face to me and everyone else who teaches or plans to teach French. The NB government is ruining the next generation's chances of being fully bilingual!

Anonymous said...

This goes against the studies and the report Kelly Lamrock uses to base his decision! And I'm telling you it's a huge mistake from the gouvernement! This din't only prouve the arrogance of our politiciens but how far we are from a perfect dimocratic gouvernement. My mother is a french immersion teacher in grade 2 and even do her job is at sake, she's not alow to speak her opinion. She couldn't even singed a petition to save her own job! All that because we are not alow to speak against our boss/gouvernement! Teachers hare treated like simple socks that can easly be replace. It's like being a slave!

Kelly Lamrock also says that by getting rid of the early immersion program he's also getting rid of the segregation (kids with special needs). But the real problem is that in the french program ( french and immersion) we don't have the tools or the ressouces to teach too these kids. And if immersion start in grade 6 we are only making it later and worst.

My opinion is that once elected, some politicien thinks they have full power on the people and don't care about their opinion and needs. It's too mutch power in the hands of a man!!! We are a dimocratic province so why don't we get to vote on this. (Well I won't be able too vote since I'm just 14) but I would vote against!

We are the ONLY official billingual province in the ENTIRE Canada! French is important as mutch as English and as the studies show earlier is better for learning and performing in diffrent langages. We should show that French is part of our life and we should have the choice of a good education in BOTH langages!

Kelly Lamrock doesn't know but he might start a " lagage war" between the French and English since less english speekers would be able to speak french proprely. The next french generation would probebly be the most billingual. It's bad!

Statistic shows that in reading immersion kids have the best results then non-immersion.

Kelly Lamrock, the only way to be a good politicien is by lisening too the population and stop playing the little king. " Your way or no way?" I rather see you in my moms place! By the way she's furious!!!!
Mee too! And my friends, and my school, my teacher and all the teachers!

Anonymous said...

Sad bunch of so called educators,who can't understand kids need education not some other useless language.
You people are an apparent product of this pathetic idea.
Read the stats,they are talking about you and your miserable job.50% ILLITERATE.