In the 21st century, fluency in several languages is a necessity.
The French National Education program stipulates that pupils must have reached by the end of primary school the minimum level "A1" of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and be able to communicate in a simple way if the interlocutor speaks slowly and clearly (https://www.education.gouv.fr/les-langues-vivantes…).
Overview of the different language teaching models
Different models of language teaching exist, each involving different resources.
Some of these models, such as that of total or partial immersion, involve a significant investment on the part of the educational structure.
- A minimalist model consists of giving priority to one-off times in two of the languages taught (bilingualism) in the form of modules. This is working time aimed at establishing links between disciplines and maximizing consistency between lessons. This system is flexible and makes it possible to work in a targeted and thematic manner on everyday language, the vocabulary of school life, a specific lexicon, a methodology, etc.
- Another, more ambitious possibility uses project pedagogy. Interdisciplinary by nature, the project is the moment which regularly allows the manipulation of several languages (bilingualism and / or plurilingualism): it can be for example an interdisciplinary project of school radio, newspaper, archeology, etc.
- There is the possibility of co-teaching on the model that researcher Claudine Brohy qualifies as reciprocal immersion: the children present in class have a level of linguistic mastery of French and other varied languages. The main constraint linked to this reciprocal immersion model is the need for two teachers to be co-teaching, most of the day, in order to provide the disciplinary content each in his main language, with a translation. almost permanent, provided by one or the other or one of the students. This is the choice made by the Lab School Paris.
- The CLIL class (Teaching an Integrated Subject to a Foreign Language at School in Europe) is an immersive bilingual / plurilingual program that has been in existence since 2006. The language associated with another discipline (for example history) are both teaching objects without there being a precedence of one over the other. This system requires the co-presence of 2 teachers, one supporting the other. Four types of objectives are to be achieved (4C): content (disciplinary objectives), communication (linguistic objectives), (inter) culture (European citizenship), cognitive (challenge in cognitive but also affective terms).
- Finally, there is the possibility of reserving time for each language according to the percentage assigned to each of them. Thus, in a hypothetical 50-25-25 distribution, the mornings will be dedicated to French and the afternoons divided between the second and the third language. This formula allows children to know in advance which language will be used and to mobilize exclusively on it. This formula does not prohibit the contribution of vocabulary or some translations on the contrary, but there is only one main language spoken during the learning period. This formula is all the more interesting because it can include the co-presence of a second teacher in a language other than the spoken one, which becomes a support language. It is cognitively less costly than reciprocal immersion or the CLIL class. This is the choice made by many Montessori schools.
Several studies have shown that the best results in terms of problem solving, ability to interact or metalinguistic thinking are obtained by students from bilingual education. Comparative studies between “3 languages” classes and “standard” classes have also shown a gain of around two years for the former with at least an equal level of French (Study on the contribution of multilingualism to creativity, no. EACEA / 2007/3995/2, European Commission, July 24, 2009).
TRILINGUALISM AT EFIM
As an innovative French school we have the ambition to promote the integration of 2 cultures and 3 languages: French, of course, Spanish because it is the language of the host country and English, essential.
All these languages will be present from kindergarten. Various devices will be put in place for non-French speakers to facilitate their acquisition of French, as well as French speakers to facilitate their acquisition of Spanish and English.
Learning Spanish is important for 2 reasons:
- it is the language of the host country and for a question of integration it is advisable to be able to exercise it
- it is a "Spanish" condition which allows a bridge between French and Spanish establishments (we also intend to go further by teaching Spanish history to elementary school students, this second condition being compulsory only in middle school)
To implement this quality requirement, “of” and “in” 3 languages, the EFIM assigns 3 teachers per class, the referent teacher - native French - and two complementary teachers - native Spanish and English -. It is planned to operate as a “pedagogical unit” of 2 classes.
Various measures such as co-teaching, small groups, interdisciplinary projects or the implementation of specific modules will make it possible to achieve the objective - minimum - of an A1-A2 level (between A1 and C2 depending on the level of the child's departure and the learning cycle).