Vol. 5:1 (2017) ► pp. 30–57
Context-appropriate crosslinguistic pedagogy
Considering the role of language status in immersion education
In the field of second language education, researchers increasingly call for crosslinguistic pedagogical practices meant to encourage bilingual learners to draw on all of their linguistic resources regardless of the focus of instruction or the status of the target language. These recommendations include a relaxation of the strict language separation common in many bilingual education programs. Specifically, some Canadian French immersion researchers suggest that it may be beneficial to allow immersion students to use English for peer interaction during instructional time allotted to French. In this position paper, we argue that researchers should proceed with caution in calling for increased majority language use in the minority language classroom. We use Canadian French immersion as a case in point to contend that until empirical evidence supports increased use of English in immersion, crosslinguistic approaches that maintain a separate space for the majority language may represent ideal pedagogical practices in these contexts.
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