French Immersion Schools Visit in New York — EmpowerED Consulting (2023)

I had the opportunity to visit three French immersion schools the last week of October: PS 20, PS 110, and the NY French American Charter School in Harlem. The selection of these schools was quite arbitrary; I emailed the entire list of schools provided on FACE Foundation and went to the ones that responded. I did not get to see PS 84 and PS 113 like I had planned though, due to some changes in my scheduling.

PS 20

I was greeted by Mr. Enroth at PS 20 in Brooklyn on Wednesday morning. He was a parent of the inaugural class and witnessed the development of the program. Even though both of his children have grown out of the program, he still helps the school with meeting visitors. His benevolence reminds me of the awesome parents at Franklin and their dedication.

(Video) Always Place A Bag On Your Car Mirror When Traveling Alone, Here’s Why !

For the visit, we peeked into a few classrooms. I didn’t want to intrude on teachers and their teaching time, so if they were in the middle of a lesson, we peeked from the door instead. Those with open doors welcomed us in graciously. The kindergarten teacher was running centers so we entered. I’m stealing one of her ideas:

Sight words on popsicle sticks
Foam letters
White board marker

Students choose a popsicle stick. Read the word if they can or ask a partner for help. Use the foam letters to form the word. Use the white board marker to write the word.

After the visit around the building, Mr. Enroth and I talked in the hallway. The discussion with him addressed many issues and it made me realize that most dual immersion programs encounter the same issues: Program/curriculum development, testing in English, teacher shortage, attrition, middle school development, and some gentrification in a diverse community. I assured him that LA has the same issues and it was nice to hear that we weren’t alone. He was glad to hear that these issues were not unique to PS20 as well.

(Video) Empowering Your Female Leaders in 2022

New York French American Charter School

I went to the New York French American Charter School in Harlem in the afternoon. It was a long trek from Sunset Park in Brooklyn. Nevertheless, the visit was amazing. Raphaelle Etoundi Essomba, an intern at the French Consulate and assistant to Fabrice Jaumont, joined me for the visit. We were greeted by Stephanie, the office manager. Contrary to PS20, the population at this school was mostly students of color. They serve a lot of African and Haitian families who have French roots. The teachers were dynamic and proud of their students. They were also ready to share and talk. It was obvious that they were used to visitors at their school as the students weren’t phased by our presence at all.

(Video) Data Contracts: The future of Data Management? - DataFriday 2x08

Stephanie guided us through all of their classes. For those in the middle of lessons, they welcomed us to sit and the ones who had centers, we walked around talking to students where they shared their narratives and activities. The thing that set NY French American Charter School apart is their pull out French as a Second Language class due to the number of students who join them after Kinder and 1st grade. They also have ESL pullout for the Francophone students who are new arrivals. Like the rest of our schools though, the SPED support providers are English speakers. It is also hard for them to have French speakers as academic support staff. Mr. Maurice, the principal, joined us in the middle of the tour. He was such a welcoming man and accompanied us the rest of the way. We finished the afternoon by meeting in his office and figuring out ways to form a symbiotic relationship. Speaking of which, I need to send him some information!

Thank you Raphaelle for taking the picture of us!

PS 110

Fabrice Jaumont’s children attend PS 110, so he was happy to take me in for a visit. After getting lost and going to the wrong café, I finally found him. Oops! I got a tad turned around. In the upper grades, it was school elections time, so there were campagne posters galore. The halls were decorated with student work in both French and English. I was surprised to see Geralynne and Ben, teachers who were part of the Utah training over the summer. I had forgotten that they taught there! As the principal took us around, we got to know a bit more about the school, its history and development. In this 50-50 program, the French teachers also teach the kids in English for a portion of the day. Like all other public immersion schools, there’s a big push for good scores in testing that is done in English. So voilà. We talked about how to minimize testing for our students and the issues that the school is currently encountering. First and foremost, finding a French dual-immersion teacher is not easy. Apparently, the teacher who was hired to teach second grade French gave up on the complicated paperwork process as a transfer from a midwest state. I suppose, NY’s bureaucracy is just as complicated as that of LAUSD’s, if not more complex. Moreover, parents add extra stress to the process, too, feeling uninformed despite the principal providing all the information that she has. Quick shoutout: If you’re in the NY area and would like to teach second grade French, they’re hiring. RIGHT NOW!! I assured her that California has the same issues, too, including the massive bureaucracy that can deter out of state teachers from completing the process. I even mentioned that she could share that with the parents who feel like this is a solely a PS 110 issue so that they don’t feel so alone.

My Takeaways

I was inspired and motivated by visiting these three schools and felt bad that I didn’t have the time to see even more. Nevertheless, there are certainly trends that follow across the board.

(Video) EmpowerED Exchanges Episode 8: Dr. Heather Woodley (Part 1)

  • New York City schools are physically so different from schools in California. The classrooms are smaller and the campuses are vertical in a building, due to weather and space. Climbing stairs is definitely a necessity. Not all classrooms had the space for carpet time (aside from the kindergarten classes) and it’s generally a sea of desks in a classroom. Not all classrooms had windows, either, depending on their location in the building.

  • There needs to be some form of exceptions made for dual-immersion teachers in the paperwork process in large school districts. Or some way to speed up the process. These teachers are hard to come by and it doesn’t make sense to deter them from applying with a roundabout process, especially since these hiring processes are usually at the last minute.

  • All dual-immersion and their English partners work extra, extra hard. We need to stop reinventing the wheel and SHARE the things we have created. I’m not talking about TPT.

  • The stress of testing is prevalent and there needs to be some other measure for these immersion students who are spending at least 50% of their time learning in a different language to not be as stringently tested in English. Yes, I understand that data needs to be collected somewhere. However, I really don’t think it’s fair that they are subjected to the same level of rigor when they have spent half the time in English instruction. There is knowledge transference between the two languages, however, that takes time.

    (Video) Frontiers of Innovation- Empowering Women

  • NY teachers have built in planning time during their day. It would be nice to have some built in planning time for CA teachers, too.

  • We need SPED teachers who speak the instructional language, too. How do we go about doing this?

Well, here’s to hoping that we can all be a part of this revolutionary change in public education with dual language movement across the US. Community members, we need you!

FAQs

Should I keep my kid in French immersion? ›

Learning a second language has a positive effect on learning your first language skills. In other words, learning French improves your English language skills. By the end of the elementary school years students in immersion often outperform those in the regular program on tests in literacy.

When should I take my child out of French immersion? ›

Most Parents feel unable to help their kids because they are themselves not fluent French speakers. As a result, most students end up switching from the French immersion to an English program once they reach grade 7.

What is the difference between French immersion and French school? ›

Here is a short summary. The purpose of a Francophone school is to teach French as a first language and encourage strong bilingualism. The teaching takes place in French. The purpose of a French immersion school is to teach French as a second language.

How can I help French immersion for kids? ›

Read aloud to your child in the language you speak at home – or any other language – and talk about what you are reading. Provide encouragement and set aside time for reading in French and in English to help your child develop a broad vocabulary in both languages.

What are the disadvantages of French Immersion? ›

Some studies – and parents – have observed a temporary lag in English language spelling, punctuation and word knowledge among children who are in complete immersion with no English instruction until between grades 2 and 5.

What is the best age to learn French? ›

To become completely fluent, however, learning should start before the age of 10. There are three main ideas as to why language-learning ability declines at 18: social changes, interference from one's primary language and continuing brain development.

Should I put my child in French immersion if I don't speak French? ›

It is not necessary for you to speak French for your child to be successful in the French Immersion program. Our French programs are designed for children of non-French speaking parents.

How long does it take to get fluent with Immersion? ›

You Need Patience to Become Fluent in a Language

True language fluency requires consistent effort and time, and while 500 – 1,000 hours may seem like a lot, a typical person could probably invest that level of time over 12 – 18 months, with the right study schedule.

How long does it take to become fluent in Immersion? ›

FSI research indicates that it takes 480 hours to reach basic fluency in group 1 languages, and 720 hours for group 2-4 languages. If we are able to put in 10 hours a day to learn a language, then basic fluency in the easy languages should take 48 days, and for difficult languages 72 days.

Does French Immersion make you fluent? ›

French immersion students develop higher levels of communicative abilities in French than students in core French and French immersion has no negative effects on students' academic achievement on their English language development, according to research published by Canadian Parents for French.

How long does it take to learn French with full immersion? ›

If you are an English speaker, learning French requires 575-600 hours of study (or 23-24 weeks full- time). It is the same for other European Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish etc) and the Germanic ones (Danish, Swedish, Dutch/Afrikaans Norwegian – not German).

How long does it take to learn French through immersion? ›

Approximately 3 years to achieve an intermediate level of French. Total, active immersion (8 hours per day). Approximately 3 months to have an intermediate level of French.

Does French immersion make you bilingual? ›

The main purpose of French Immersion is to give Anglophone students the opportunity to become bilingual.

Can a 12 year old learn French? ›

You can learn a new language at any age. You don't need to be a toddler, or a kindergartener, or some other “magic age”, to become fluent in more than one language.

Does French immersion teach English? ›

The major goal of French Immersion is to provide the opportunity for non-francophone students to become bilingual in English and French. Bilingualism is achieved by providing instruction of the basic curriculum entirely in French during the first years.

Are immersion schools worth it? ›

Studies by the RAND Corporation and researchers at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, have also found that immersion students score better on standardized reading and math tests than their non-immersion peers by late elementary school.

Is immersion or bilingual education better? ›

The results show that while students in English immersion programs perform better in the short term, over the long term students in classrooms taught in two languages not only catch up to their English immersion counterparts, but they eventually surpass them, both academically and linguistically.

How do you succeed in French immersion? ›

This is a question we are so often asked when a child in a french immersion program is struggling to develop efficient reading skills.
...
Here are 5 tips to keep your child on the path to bilingualism.
  1. Be enthusiastic and positive! ...
  2. Put your first-language first. ...
  3. Compare and contrast vocabulary.
  4. Make reading fun!
11 Jun 2018

Can you learn French after 40? ›

But research shows that learning a second language offers proven benefits for intelligence, memory, and concentration, plus lowered risks of dementia and Alzheimer's. So what if you are over 40 and want to learn a second language? The good news is, it can be done. I learned French in my 50s.

Can you learn French at 50? ›

Learning French at any age is not only possible, but studies have proven it can be a fountain of youth for your brain! Whether you already have distant memories of your high school French or you are a true beginner, find a French language school and start exercising those grey cells.

Can a 70 year old learn French? ›

Are you ever too old to learn a new language? Well, the good news is that experts say you are never too old. Studies show that anyone at any age can learn a new language. In fact, it is even easier to start speaking in a foreign language now with all the advanced technology available on the market.

Can you learn a language through Immersion only? ›

You can learn a language while traveling by immersing yourself in the local culture of a country where that language is spoken, you can visit a school or community where that language is spoken in your home country, or you can go to a language immersion school.

Can you learn a language just through Immersion? ›

We've established that immersive language learning usually means learning a new language in the most natural way possible. In practice, it would mean living in the country where the language is spoken. However, as this isn't currently an option, it's necessary to find other ways to immerse yourself.

What should you not do when learning French? ›

Here is a short list of things to avoid in order to best learn French:
  1. Rooming with other foreign students. ...
  2. Only making friends of your same nationality in your French course. ...
  3. Going out at night with only your fellow countrymen. ...
  4. Using your phone as a translator. ...
  5. Wanting to move too quickly from one level to the other.
15 Mar 2017

Can I learn French in 2 years? ›

Depending on your goals, native language, study method and time, and motivation, within 6 months to 3 years you should be able to speak French at a good level. It will take longer if you're following a secondary school curriculum or want to totally master French for a career in something like interpreting.

Can you learn a new language at 40? ›

You can become a perfectly fluent speaker of a foreign language at any age, and small imperfections of grammar or accent often just add to the charm. Learn a new language.

What is the hardest language to learn? ›

Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center puts Mandarin in Category IV, which is the list of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers.

Can you still graduate if you fail work immersion? ›

Having failed in the Work immersion, a learner can still join the graduation.

How much is fluent in 3 months? ›

Fluent In 3 Months review summary

At $97, it's probably slightly overpriced until they add more modules (there is a 30 day refund policy).

Is B2 fluent? ›

Reaching B2 is generally considered by most people as having basic fluency. You'll have a working vocabulary of around 4000 words. It's not always effortless and it's not always perfect, but neither you nor your native speaking partners are having a really hard time in most circumstances at this point.

Can I become fluent in French in 3 months? ›

While you certainly won't master it in three months, especially if you can only put a few hours a week into it, you can make sure to be more efficient by following an initial plan of action. Let's take a look at what you should do in the first hour, first day, first week and first month of learning French.

What level of French is considered fluent? ›

Perhaps the best general reference point is the European Common Framework of Reference which divides proficiency into six levels from A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. In my view, B2 is the level where you are fluent.

Can I become fluent in French in 5 years? ›

If you study for 1 hour every day, you can learn French in 1.5 years. If you spend 6 hours every day learning French, you can learn it in less than 100 days. And if you only spend 20 minutes/day on French, it will take you over 4.5 years to master it.

How many hours is B1 in French? ›

B1 level: 350 to 400 hours of learning. Here you'll be able to communicate with others in both familiar or commercial live situations, understanding written and spoken words and phrases.

How fast is B2 French? ›

According to the Alliance Française, it takes between 560 and 650 hours of lessons to reach a B2 level in French.

Is French harder than English? ›

Is English Harder than French To Learn? French is not as hard to learn as it is considered by most of the people, especially when compared to English. In fact, it is a language that's much easier to achieve fluency in than you'd have ever expected. English is inconsistent when it comes to pronunciation.

How many words do you need to be fluent in French? ›

It is estimated that you have to learn 5000 words to be fluent in French. Be selective and learn the 5000 most used words in French! Think about it. Some words are more valuable than others.

What is the quickest method to learn French? ›

10 tips to learn French fast
  1. Watch films. Watching films in French with French subtitles is one of the best ways to learn. ...
  2. Learn with songs. ...
  3. Read. ...
  4. Find a partner. ...
  5. Don't be scared to try and make mistakes. ...
  6. Listen! ...
  7. Practice. ...
  8. Sign up for an intensive course.
12 Aug 2016

Can you learn fluent French in 6 months? ›

If you know the 1,000 most frequent words in a language, you can understand 80% of that language! That's more than enough to be conversational in French. And you can learn 1,000 French words in a six-month period by learning just six words a day.

What is the fastest way to become bilingual in French? ›

You Can Do It!
  1. Find your “Big Why” for learning French.
  2. Immerse yourself in the French language by creating a Mini-France in your home.
  3. Make smart use of language hacks.
  4. Use conversational connectors to sound more natural.
  5. Speak from day one – especially with native speakers.
  6. Realise that French is much easier than you think.

How long does it take to learn a language from immersion? ›

The next and most accurate answer is that it can take anywhere between three months to two years to learn how to speak, write, and read in a new language fluently.

Is 14 too old to learn a language? ›

No matter how old you are, you're never too old to learn a new language. However, because your brain's ability to adapt and change decreases over time, you'll probably have to practice more.

Does speaking 2 languages to a baby? ›

In fact, early childhood is the best possible time to learn a second language. Children who experience two languages from birth typically become native speakers of both, while adults often struggle with second language learning and rarely attain native-like fluency.

How many languages is too many for a child? ›

The rule of thumb is that about 30% of a child's waking hours needs to be spent in a language to obtain conversational fluency, so, realistically, you're looking at a max of three languages. Once you have those three languages at a decent level, it would make sense to add another one.

When should I quit French Immersion? ›

Most Parents feel unable to help their kids because they are themselves not fluent French speakers. As a result, most students end up switching from the French immersion to an English program once they reach grade 7.

What is the difference between French Immersion and French school? ›

Here is a short summary. The purpose of a Francophone school is to teach French as a first language and encourage strong bilingualism. The teaching takes place in French. The purpose of a French immersion school is to teach French as a second language.

What is the difference between French Immersion and extended French? ›

The French Immersion program is designed to provide students with a minimum of 3,800 hours of instruction in French by the end of Grade 8. Students participating in the Extended French Program will receive a minimum of 1,260 hours of instruction in French by the end of Grade 8.

Are language immersion schools worth it? ›

The benefits of language immersion are plenty. According to the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, D.C., learning a language at an early age enhances children's brain development, expands their cultural awareness, helps them think more flexibly and increases job opportunities later in life.

Does French immersion make you fluent? ›

French immersion students develop higher levels of communicative abilities in French than students in core French and French immersion has no negative effects on students' academic achievement on their English language development, according to research published by Canadian Parents for French.

How important is French immersion? ›

Better Educational and Career Opportunities

Your child's proficiency in both English and French language opens up better educational opportunities. This enables them to attend post-secondary institutions or universities. It also paves the way for career advancement and higher employment rates.

How long does it take to learn French with full Immersion? ›

If you are an English speaker, learning French requires 575-600 hours of study (or 23-24 weeks full- time). It is the same for other European Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish etc) and the Germanic ones (Danish, Swedish, Dutch/Afrikaans Norwegian – not German).

How long does it take to learn French through Immersion? ›

Approximately 3 years to achieve an intermediate level of French. Total, active immersion (8 hours per day). Approximately 3 months to have an intermediate level of French.

What is the disadvantage of immersion? ›

Drawbacks of Immersion Education

There are limited drawbacks to being part of an immersion program. The only two drawbacks that continually come up in research are: teacher turnover and lack of community knowledge and use of the language.

How long does it take to get fluent with immersion? ›

You Need Patience to Become Fluent in a Language

True language fluency requires consistent effort and time, and while 500 – 1,000 hours may seem like a lot, a typical person could probably invest that level of time over 12 – 18 months, with the right study schedule.

How long does it take to become fluent in immersion? ›

FSI research indicates that it takes 480 hours to reach basic fluency in group 1 languages, and 720 hours for group 2-4 languages. If we are able to put in 10 hours a day to learn a language, then basic fluency in the easy languages should take 48 days, and for difficult languages 72 days.

Can you become fluent in French in 3 years? ›

Depending on your goals, native language, study method and time, and motivation, within 6 months to 3 years you should be able to speak French at a good level. It will take longer if you're following a secondary school curriculum or want to totally master French for a career in something like interpreting.

What are 5 benefits of taking French? ›

10 good reasons to learn French
  • A world language. ...
  • A language for the international job market. ...
  • The language of culture. ...
  • A language for travel. ...
  • A language for higher education. ...
  • The other language of international relations. ...
  • A language that opens up the world. ...
  • A language that is fun to learn.

Do kids learn English in French Immersion? ›

The major goal of French Immersion is to provide the opportunity for non-francophone students to become bilingual in English and French. Bilingualism is achieved by providing instruction of the basic curriculum entirely in French during the first years.

How do you succeed in French Immersion? ›

This is a question we are so often asked when a child in a french immersion program is struggling to develop efficient reading skills.
...
Here are 5 tips to keep your child on the path to bilingualism.
  1. Be enthusiastic and positive! ...
  2. Put your first-language first. ...
  3. Compare and contrast vocabulary.
  4. Make reading fun!
11 Jun 2018

Videos

1. Empowering your diverse Firstline workforce with Inclusive Technology
(Microsoft 365)
2. Grit: the power of passion and perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth
(TED)
3. TeachMeet: Agency (Striking the balance: Teachers, Students, Leaders) - #tm5 #tmmelb
(Mr Kolber's Teaching)
4. PaTTANpod Cultural Navigation: A framework for empowering English Learners | [S5E7]
(PaTTAN)
5. ACU Perspectives | Joan Dassin: Empowering education
(ACUviews)
6. Orientation Day- Umran Language Academy
(Umran Green Perspective Foundation)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tish Haag

Last Updated: 12/22/2022

Views: 6145

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tish Haag

Birthday: 1999-11-18

Address: 30256 Tara Expressway, Kutchburgh, VT 92892-0078

Phone: +4215847628708

Job: Internal Consulting Engineer

Hobby: Roller skating, Roller skating, Kayaking, Flying, Graffiti, Ghost hunting, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Tish Haag, I am a excited, delightful, curious, beautiful, agreeable, enchanting, fancy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.