French immersion in Canada – does it work?

Many anglophone kids in Canada are enrolled in French immersion schools and take all of their education in French. My three grandchildren who live in Vancouver are in French immersion.

I find that, given the number of years of schooling in French, the fluency and pronunciation of these French immersion kids is not impressive. Swedish kids of the same age speak much better English, on average, and do not attend immersion. I am of the opinion that, with effective language instruction from grade 1, kids should be able to speak at least one language, and possibly more, better than these immersion kids in Canada speak French.

Wikipedia, that handy source of information, has the following misleading paragraph in its page on French immersion, which of course makes me question the whole article.

“French-immersion programs are offered in 9 Canadian provinces, except the province of New Brunswick, which has eliminated in the early grades in favor of universal French education grade 6. French popularity differs by province and region. Currently, enrollment in French immersion is highest in the Maritime Provinces and parts of Quebec and Ontario. Western Canada, which is predominantly Anglophone, is experiencing high population growth. This has resulted in increased enrollment in French immersion programs, which can be attributed in part to the immigration of Francophones from Eastern Canada as well as other parts of the world, such as Haiti and Africa.”

In fact New Brunswick probably has the highest rate of French immersion enrollment in the country. New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario are the only provinces with significant French speaking populations. The rest of the country, including the West is predominantly anglophone. The population growth in Western Canada is primarily due to immigration from Asia. Immigration from Africa and Haiti is insignificant and has almost zero impact on French immersion enrollment, which is largely an effort by parents to provide an enriched learning experience for their children, and get away from special needs kids in the system, such as the increasing number of?? ESL students.

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