Promoting oral language development in the primary classroom: a focus on New Brunswick’s French Immersion program
University of New Brunswick
Grade 1 French Immersion is the foundational year for developing oracy, literacy and writing skills. Educators play an integral role in guiding students towards language acquisition (LA), and thus must use tried and true best practices rooted in the theories of LA. The pedagogies surrounding LA need to not only be understood by teachers, but also serve as a roadmap for task-based activities linked to LA research. Providing ample opportunities for students to speak and listen, with a variety of language users, is essential to develop output. This is especially relevant in today’s current political climate surrounding the success of the FI program in New Brunswick. The literature supports the claims that any child can learn a second language, but stresses the importance of properly implemented and planned oral activities to ensure that children become proficient speakers. Teachers in primary classrooms must be cognizant of this when organizing talk-based activities: oracy skills must be practiced as with any other skill, and relevant, talk-based activities merit their spot in the primary classroom now more than ever.