Every French Immersion Teacher is a Literacy Teacher

Picture source: http://www.learntopreserve.com/the-art-of-preserving/2010/9/13/7-different-pickle-recipes-in-7-days-sort-of.html

There was an article in an american newspaper that spoke about the shift to the “Common Core” in education. The biggest change for one of the long-time teachers was the approach that all teachers must teach literacy. For French Immersion teachers, this is old hat. One of the fundamental aspects of French Immersion instruction is that all teachers must also be teaching the language. Students are learning French not only in their language course, but also in Science, Math, Social Studies, Health, Physical Education, etc. It is extremely important that French Immersion teachers are aware of the language instruction piece of their planning at all times, especially when the “subject” is not French. Students need to be able to develop vocabulary about different topics and develop the language that is particular to different situations.

A story that made this clear to me was a conversation I had with a former student who had graduated from Immersion a few years ago. They told me about their trip to France and ordering food in a restaurant. They indicated to me that they felt at ease in most situations, but they could not find the vocabulary they needed when the waiter asked them what they wanted on their sandwich. They had not had a class were they spoke about food for the last 4 years of their school career. This meant they could talk about literature with people easily, but could not remember what the word for pickle was in French. This showed the importance of language instruction in all subjects and how multiple subjects contribute to holistic language education.

In French Immersion programs, even the Foods teacher is a language teacher.