- Pathways to Multilingualism: Evolving Perspectives on Immersion Education
It has been more than a decade since Johnson and Swain (1997) brought together research from a range of international immersion contexts in one volume. Fortune and Tedick’s book also unites research and experience gathered from one- and two-way immersion programs in North America, Europe, and Asia. However, they have gone a step further by including indigenous immersion as a third category of immersion education. The editors’ rationale for their inclusive approach is that each program model has tended to specialize in one type of research (for instance, program evaluations in two-way and language development research in one-way), and could therefore benefit greatly from a ‘cross-fertilization’ of ideas and findings.
Although all immersion programs have similar roots, the clearly important contextual differences among them could have made for a somewhat incoherent book. The editors have therefore framed the diverse contributions with an introduction that situates them under the umbrella of ‘dual language education’ and a synthesis that links the chapters’ common themes. The first two chapters serve as an introduction to and overview of dual language education. In chapter 1, Fortune and Tedick discuss the history and core features of immersion education, clarify immersion terminology, and give their rationale for the book. In chapter 2, Genesee explains immersion education’s relevance in the age of globalization and discusses critical issues related to dual language education. The remaining chapters are then divided into three thematic sections: immersion pedagogy, language development in immersion, and the impact of social context on immersion programs.
In chapter 3, Met launches the section on immersion pedagogy by describing the key role that vocabulary knowledge plays in both literacy development and academic achievement, and she outlines some practical approaches to vocabulary instruction for immersion instructors. Chapter 4 highlights a study conducted by Fortune, [End Page 465] Tedick, and Walker in which US one- and two-way immersion teachers reflect on planning and delivering language and content instruction. In chapter 5, Palmer presents research on equitable teacher—student talk patterns in a US two-way classroom and how those patterns relate to the development of students’ academic identities.
Chapter 6 begins the section on language development in immersion programs with a study by Swain and Lapkin that investigates the link between repetition and lexical learning in a Canadian French immersion classroom. In chapter 7, Lyster and Mori compare studies of form-focused instruction that support a ‘counterbalanced’ approach to language and content instruction in immersion classrooms. In chapter 8, Södergård discusses teachers’ strategies for the elicitation of student language production in a Swedish immersion kindergarten in Finland.
The final section addresses the impact of social context on immersion programs. Lindholm-Leary and Howard discuss issues affecting students’ language development and academic achievement in two-way immersion in chapter 9. In chapter 10, Dagenais details the impact of language awareness activities on students’ critical language awareness in a Canadian French immersion program. In chapter 12, Richards and Burnaby offer a historical overview of indigenous immersion program models, a discussion of issues crucial to indigenous immersion, and case studies of two adult Mohawk immersion programs in Ontario. Finally, in chapter 12, Hoare and Kong describe the impact that the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese government has had on Hong Kong’s late English immersion program.
This book is appropriate for a wide array of readers. Several chapters outline the history, core features, terminology, and issues related to the various dual language education models, and these will serve as a good introduction for newcomers to immersion education. However, the book also contains enough new research to interest readers who are already well-versed in the topic. The contributions are likewise relevant to both researchers and practitioners, as their focus ranges from classroom discourse analysis to pedagogical strategies and teaching tips. Moreover, the writing is uniformly clear and accessible.
Fortune and Tedick have essentially outlined the path that immersion research should take in the future; drawing...