Canada’s immersion graduates grow up and raise bilingual kids

The Globe and Mail offers this fascinating look at the coming of age of Canada’s French immersion program, which took root in the 70s but saw dramatic growth over the past decade. Some education officials surmise they’re seeing the next immersion wave – children of immersion graduates who want to pass bilingualism onto their kids.

Imagine the ripple effect of Utah’s immersion program 30 years from now. Will bilingualism be the new norm? And how will this change cultural customs and our understanding of the world? What new opportunities will be opened to residents of the state?

Highlights from the Globe and Mail:

“A 1990 study of an early wave of French immersion graduates in Saskatchewan found that more than 80 per cent said they wanted their children to follow in their footsteps by pursuing immersion.

“We’re now seeing a generational transition,” Mr. Rothon said. “It hasn’t really been documented yet. Once we start seeing its extent we should start to see it influencing government policy.”

Mr. Rothon said the children of immersion are creating something like a new linguistic category. They go home to environments where one or two parents are capable of speaking French with them and helping with their homework. It’s not the same as living in an easily defined anglophone or francophone environment, yet it still represents a change from earlier generations. By choosing to continue with French immersion into a second generation, these families are saying, “This is part of how we grew up and this is who we are as Canadians,” Mr. Rothon said.”

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