Immersion school is a school where the combination of a foreign language and English is taught.
History of Immersion Schools in U.S.
In 1984 this controversial program was started for the first time in San Francisco. In this particular program, the main idea was that the student was immersed in Cantonese from day one and taught science, math and other curriculum in Chinese while gradually introducing English skills.
The main idea was that by the end of elementary school the student would become proficient in both languages.
Though it was started at a time when the U.S. and their relationship with China was growing, it later became a popular mode of schooling. This program has been very popular in San Francisco and many other countries.
This was just the start of furthering this type of program. Over the years, other foreign language immersion schools have gained popularity. For at least half of the day, schools have taught students in a chosen immersion language program. Many range from Spanish, Cantonese, and French to Hawaiian,Yupik.
Types of Programs
Immersion programs can be of two types. Full immersion schooling where no English is taught till grade 3 or 4. Another is a partial immersion schooling where the teacher teaches in both languages of equal duration.
Purpose of Immersion Programs
The basic purpose of this program is to make students appreciate their own culture as well as universal languages. Here, cultural knowledge and linguistics are the resources. The more you get to know, the better you get. While studying in an immersion school, a student gets to know about another new language as well as improving their English skills and facts about U.S. culture.
Different Teaching Style
The teaching style in immersion schools differs from other schools. Here, teachers know that whatever they are teaching in the other language will make students apprehensive. So they use body language, facial expression, visuals and expressive intonations to interact with their students. As they start to understand, they then try to teach in the immersion language. To make students more proficient in the immersion language, teachers use chants, songs, rhymes and phrases in the particular language.
A kindergarten student will speak to their teachers in English. However, as they grow accustomed to the immersion language they start to use it as the medium of communication. This increases their speaking capacity as well as their understanding of the immersion language.
Immersion schooling is one of the most popular foreign language programs in the U.S. In these programs students learn two languages and they become capable of communicating with more and more people.