Bilingual Education for Majority English-Speaking Children

Type of resource
Bilingual Education for Majority English-Speaking Children
A variety of second-language program options are available to Anglophone children in Montreal’s public schools: French-as-a second-language (FSL), delayed and early French immersion, and full French-medium schooling. In this research, the authors evaluated the achievement in French, English, and mathematics of two cohorts of Anglophone students (longitudinally through grade 6) in each of these program options. The performance of these students was compared to that of comparable Anglophone and Francophone control groups who were attending conventional all-English and all-French schools, respectively. In terms of approximations to native-like command of French, the authors found that the French-medium option was the most effective followed by the early immersion option: students in these programs were generally indistinguishable from the French Controls on all written French language tests and in mathematics. On tests of French oral skills, however, they scored below the French Controls, the extent of disparity depending on the opportunities available for social interaction with francophones. As well, no retardation in English language development was found for any of the options, even those that provided little instruction time in English. The authors found that, to the contrary, Anglophone students scored significantly higher than English Controls on tests of English and mathematics, and in general the more concentrated the second language component, the better they performed relative to the controls on first language skills and mathematics. The authors conclude by discussing the apparent transfer of competence from second language to first and the bilingual advantages involved in these results in terms of time spent on the target language, the mode of instruction, and the opportunities provided for interaction with native-speaking peers.
European Journal of Psychology of Education
Vol. 8
no. 1
Lambert, Wallace E., Fred Genesee, Naomi Holobow, and Louise Chartrand. “Bilingual Education for Majority English-Speaking Children.” European Journal of Psychology of Education Vol. 8, no. 1 (1993): 3–22.
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