The outputs of modern education are highly rich in academic excellence in Indian scenario whereas they are comparatively poor in linguistic competency by which they have to suffer a slow down at international levels academy and vocation. So, assuring linguistic competency has become a foremost challenge of modern education around the world. Conventional grammar-centered teaching methods are proven to be lees conducive for promoting proficiency and fluency in the language. So we have been continuously ‘testing and throwing’ different methods and techniques for accelerating English language teaching.
Language learning can be made easier through the integration of content with language and it can be made practical through myriads of ways among which a very pivotal one is language immersion programme. The approach that differentiates language from subjects and views language learning as a separate attempt seems to be lesser applauded these days. As subjects merge with other subjects resulting in multidisciplinary outlook, language also tends to get diluted in the learning stuff. There are various methods which try to put in practice this integrated approach among which some significant ones are:
• Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)
• Content-based Language Teaching (CBLT)
• English Across the Curriculum (EAC)
• Bilingual Integration of Languages and Disciplines (BILD)
• Content and Language Integration in Primary CLIP
• English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI)
• Foreign Language Immersion Program (FLIP)
• Content-based Instruction (CBI)
• Content-based Language Instruction (CBLI)
• English as an Academic Language (EAL)
• Foreign Languages as a Medium of Education (FLAME)
• Languages Across the Curriculum (LAC)
• Teaching Content Through English
• Teaching English Through Content
Language Immersion: start and track
Immersion can be done with any subject like physics, geography, history, mathematics, management, anthropology and even statistics. In language immersion classroom only the target language is used and it creates the same ambience of learning mother tongue naturally. This method help learners to get rid of the roundabout way of pooling ideas in mind in one language and translating it in other language as the learners getting used to the structures and patterns of the target language naturally. Learners are expected to get extra proficiency in English when they actually try to produce increasingly complex sentences in the same language. All materials and instruction of immersion programs are in English. For this reason, teachers and instructional support staff are not supposed to speak a language other than English to the least.
According to the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA), ‘language immersion education has heralded benefits such as academic achievement, language and literacy development in two or more languages, and cognitive skills’. Furthermore, Immersion method pays added attention to increase the linguistic creativity of the learners as well. In order to have an emotional appeal in the linguistic interaction, creative elements are so essential. If acquiring a language is comparatively easy, acquiring creativity requires continuous exercises and conducive exposures.
The foundations of immersion
Based on the age level, immersion programme can be categorized in to three sections. Early Immersion, for the learners between the age of 5 or 6 is the first one. The second stage is Middle immersion for the age group of 9 or 10.The final stage which is called as Late Immersion is scheduled for the students learn between the ages of 11 and 14.
Wave lengths towards different subjects
The effect of immersion will be varying as per the nature of each subject. For example humanities subjects are more indulgent and affable to language immersion whereas science subjects are lesser. When science subjects use very minimum resources of language social science has much to say, refute, defend, convince and corroborate by making use of powerful potentials and properties of language. When science deals with objects and substances which do not have life and blood, social science speaks about societies which are formed of individuals. It has to narrate about human cultures and civilizations.
So far as the handling of language by Mathematics is concerned it is quite pitiably Shylockian. Hence, the application of immersion programme helps open new horizons of wide and wild linguistic exposures to the learners of mathematics as well. The immersion programme is so viable because wherever a subject item appeared it is easy to relate it with English language either linking to spelling, grammar, pronunciation, figures of speech or anything of that sort. No doubt, by going through ten classes of this language-subject immersed ambience a Mathematics student will become more fluent and confident in language both in speaking and writing.
General Procedure for implementing immersion
For implementing immersion packages in our schools we have to go through a precise procedure having different steps. In the very outset learning materials have to be prepared based on immersion method. Proper planning, designing, grading and linking language items to content parts, preparing tasks, worksheets and activities etc come in this phase. Subsequently the materials must undergo validation process by expert educationists. Lesson plans have to be prepared and orientation classes must be conducted duly. As immersion teachers are likely from other subject areas, teacher texts explicitly describing the classroom procedures and supplying in depth level guidance have to be scientifically developed. After a typical try out it can be implemented in our schools.