Expert advice

A few tips to handle issues that are specific to an immersion classroom – Part 1

Marline Al Koura (She/Her/Elle)
Principal at St Patrick's High School

“When it comes to interviewing specifically for a French Immersion position, there will be the added angle of how you would handle issues that are specific to an immersion classroom. Here are a few things to consider when answering questions that directly relate to programming and delivering material in French Immersion.” 

  • Recognize that Immersion is not an elitist program. ALL learners have a right to access the Immersion program. Whether the student is on an Individualized Education Plan or if they struggle to maintain top grades, as long as they WANT to learn French, and appropriate learning supports are available, then they should continue to be in the Immersion program. 
  • Recognize that FI students are learning on a continuum. Some will pick it up faster than others. Your job is to set high standards that move learners along their own personal learning path.  
  • As the classroom teacher, you are the role model and as such, you will communicate in French with students at all times, including in the hallways, between classes, before and after school. Focusing on various forms of communication, where you model the use of the language will promote its use beyond the walls of the classroom. Think of your role as that of offering your students the opportunity to expand their horizons by being able to communicate in both official languages (therefore expanding their reach for future employment). 
  • Although language teachers tend to naturally apply the tenets of Differentiated Instruction, as a FI teacher, you understand those tenets and apply them intentionally, based on the needs of the learners entrusted to you. Use the experiential learning opportunities to make the curriculum as accessible and enjoyable for all learners. Project-based learning is a good way to allow different entry points for the varied skill sets and comfort levels.