N.B. Reveals Proposed Replacement To French Immersion

New Brunswick education officials unveiled its proposed Innovative Immersion Program on Thursday, which is expected to replace the current French immersion program in provincial schools.

The government says the proposed roadmap would see anglophone students spend half of their day in English and the other half in French throughout elementary school.

“The goal … is to have all students graduate with a conversational level of French, at a minimum, with opportunities for enrichment and advanced studies … at the high school level,” said Education Minister Bill Hogan.

“French second-language training in the anglophone sector has led to less than half of our high school graduates being able to speak French at a conversational level.”

Beginning in September, students in kindergarten and Grade 1 would spend 50 per cent of their day “engaged in exploratory learning in French.”

The other half would be taught in English and focus on math, reading and writing.

“We want students to practice their French through authentic learning activities and be part of an engaging and fun French language learning environment,” said Hogan.

“By beginning in kindergarten, students will receive an earlier start to learning their second language, which is consistent with “earlier the better” research findings.”

Once they reach grades 6 to 8, Hogan said students would spend 40 per cent of their day being taught in French and 60 per cent in English.

Hogan said grades 2 to 12 students enrolled in English Prime, French Immersion or a Language Learning Opportunities initiative will continue on their current path.

“As we continue to build upon the proposed framework, we will work with partners to explore more opportunities for our high school students,” said Hogan.

He added this could include access to university courses, online learning, experiential learning or co-ops.

The department will seek feedback on the framework through a survey found here and during public consultations in January.

Sessions will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 17 in Bathurst, Jan. 19 in Moncton, Jan. 24 in Saint John, and Jan. 25 in Fredericton. Virtual sessions take place on Jan. 31 and Feb. 2.

Details will be posted online later and communicated directly to schools and families by the districts in advance of the events.

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