The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with French classes for children and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. French immersion is a form of bilingual education in which a child who does not speak French as his or her first language receives instruction in school in French. In most French-immersion schools, children will learn to speak French and learn most subjects such as history, music, geography, math, art, physical education and science in French.
French immersion programming spread rapidly from its original start in Canada in the 1970s. French Immersion education is optional and not compulsory. Parents have the choice in sending their children to schools that offer such programming. Students are encouraged to begin communicating in French as consistently as possible.
A study shows that French immersion might improve academic performance. Students participate in French Immersion programs to gain employability-related skills and to increase job opportunities. Students in French Immersion demonstrate a superior level of mental flexibility, which is an ability to think more independently of words and to have a higher awareness of concept formation as well as a more diversified intelligence than students in the regular program. Data illustrates that students in French Immersion programs also have a linguistic advantage as they are able to adopt two different perspectives, offering alternative ways to look at the same information. French Immersion students also have a deeper appreciation and respect for various cultures. In addition, they also gain more fulfillment in learning a new language. Students in French immersion programs also have greater opportunity to understand their own culture or their own nation.