Bilingual Education

Being a bilingual school is more than just teaching a second language. It means teaching the child to learn and think in two languages. Canada excels not only in studies in the English language, but also specializes in bilingual education. Maple Bear schools around the world deliver preschool programs in an English Immersion format.

How Bilingual Will My Children Be if I Choose Immersion?

Research shows children who have immersion education will have better results, Quickly gain the second-language proficiency, etc. Parents can show the result on the chart here.

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Why should I choose immersion education for my child?

Parents want to make the best educational choices for their children, and many would like them to have the advantages of bilingualism. The ability to understand and speak more than one language is not the only benefit of immersion education. Research shows that students gain additional cognitive, academic and employment benefits.

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How does immersion differ from other types of language instruction?

In traditional second language instruction, the target language is the subject of instruction. Immersion programs use the target language for instruction and as a means of communication. This authentic communication allows students to learn a second language in a similar manner to the way that they have learned their first.

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Will my child be able to understand the teachers?

At the beginning, immersion teachers realize that their students will not understand everything they say. Teachers will use body language, visuals, exaggerated facial expressions and expressive intonation to communicate their meaning. To draw students into using the language, teachers often use songs, useful phrases, chants and rhymes and carefully structure the day with familiar routines
Research indicates that there is a consistent developmental sequence in acquiring a second language by children. There is a period in which the child continues to use his native language in second language situations. Then, most children enter a period of non-verbal or “silence”. Afterward, the children begin to use phrases like “telegraph” and “phrases” in the second language. Finally, children begin to produce sentences of their second language.

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How bilingual will my child be?

Immersion programs have generally produced better second-language proficiency results than traditional foreign language teaching strategies. The intensive exposure to the target language is important because it allows students quickly reach the level of second-language proficiency required to study other subjects in the new language. Immersion students approach native-like levels in second-language listening comprehension and reading by the end of elementary school, although they are distinguishable from native speakers in speaking and writing. High school immersion graduates should be able to work in or pursue post-secondary studies in their second language. In fact, in Canada, many high school immersion graduates attained an intermediate or higher level of second-language proficiency on Public Service Commission of Canada tests. (Lazaruk, in press)

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Can my child really learn math and science in their second language?

Reviews of research studies found that immersion students met or exceeded English program students’ performance in mathematics and science, and province-wide assessments in three Canadian provinces* found that at grades 6, 8, and 10, respectively, immersion students did as well as or achieved at a significantly higher level than those in the regular program. (Bournot-Trites & Tellowitz, 2002; British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2000; Dube & MacFarlane, 1999; New Brunswick Department of Education, 2000; Turnbull, Hart & Lapkin, 2000.)
* Although other provinces and territories conduct province-wide assessments, they do not separate the results of immersion and English program students.

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What are the cognitive benefits of being bilingual?

Mental Flexibility: Bilinguals are better able to analyze their knowledge of language. They learn that there are at least two ways of saying the same thing and understand the relationship between words and their meaning. They are able to focus more on meaning and take into account only relevant features when there is distractive information (Heightened metalinguistic awareness) Bilinguals demonstrate more mental flexibility and perform better on tasks requiring mental manipulation. They are original in verbal expression, demonstrate non-verbal intelligence and can answer open-ended questions more freely than monolinguals (Lazaruk, in press).
Increased sensitivity to others; heightened awareness, receptivity and appreciation of language: Students with two well-developed languages are more sensitive to communication. There is some evidence to suggest that they are better able to understand the needs of others and to respond appropriately. Through exposure to cultural differences they may become more respectful of differences between people and their cultures and may be able to communicate with a large variety of people (Lazaruk, in press).

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What are the employment benefits of immersion education?

Bilinguals have access to a wider range of national and international jobs. Thousands of businesses operate in more than one language – airlines, import-export companies and other international businesses require employees with second-language skills and cultural sensitivity.

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How can i help my child if i don’t know the language?

Immersion teachers know that most parents don’t understand the target language. Indeed, immersion programs were designed specifically for children of unilingual parents. You can help make your child’s second-language experience positive and lasting by being supportive and enthusiastic. Research shows that students whose parents have positive attitudes towards the target language do better in immersion programs. Remember that most skills learned in the first language are transferred to the second. Read to your children in English, encourage English writing, and introduce English-language word games like crossword puzzles, word searches, Scrabble and Password. Provide opportunities to use the target language outside of the classroom: borrow or buy books and videos, watch second-language TV with your child, and expose your child to second-language events and activities like plays, interest courses, and sport activities.

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