星期二, 14 2月 2017 09:57

French immersion is education for the elite

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2017-2-14

无意间看到的这篇文章。

The Vancouver Sun

 

French immersion is education for the elite

 

Dan Gardner, Canwest News Service

Published: Saturday, July 26, 2008

 

 

Keep out the slow kids. Keep out the troubled kids. Keep out the poor and the crippled. Only admit the bright, well-behaved, hard-working kids from prosperous homes.

 

That's the ideal classroom. That's the one we want our kids in. And thanks to French immersion, we've figured out how to get it.

 

Oh, we'll never say so out loud. We may not even admit it to ourselves. But let's be frank.

 

Everyone knows why French immersion is so popular among the ambitious parents who drive high-end SUVs, serve on school committees and draft detailed plans for getting their children into Harvard. It's because immersion is the elite stream.

 

The good kids are in immersion. The kids with parents like us. The kids we want our children to be around. And no one else.

 

The rude word for this process is "culling." Immersion is tough. Kids who struggle are culled.

Slow kids are culled. Troubled kids. Poor kids who come to school with empty stomachs. Disabled kids who need teaching assistants. All the kids who could burden teachers and drag the class down and annoy the ambitious parents of future Harvard alumni.

 

Forget national unity. Making kids bilingual for the good of the country is as dead as Trudeau.

Job prospects? That's the reason most parents give when researchers ask why they choose immersion, but I think that's what we say in polite company. Chinese or Spanish would look much better on the résumés of future corporate executives, and ambitious parents don't dream of their children becoming assistant deputy ministers.

 

It's about the streaming. We all know it. We just don't talk about it.

Fortunately, the polite silence was recently broken by J. Douglas Willms, the Canada Research Chair in Human Development at the University of New Brunswick.

 

In the current issue of Policy Options magazine, Willms dissects the data on early French immersion in New Brunswick and shows conclusively that immersion is segregating students.

Kids with special needs are the first to go. Willms found that while 17 per cent of children in the English program "are in special education plans for the whole school year," that figure drops to seven per cent in French immersion.

 

But that is just the beginning. "The segregation associated with French immersion is much broader and deeper," Willms wrote.

 

Boys are modestly underrepresented in French immersion because boys are more likely to have trouble with reading. In a typical class of 20, Willms writes, there are 11 girls and nine boys.

There is also "some segregation according to ability." In each of five developmental criteria, Willms finds, "children enrolled in EFI have significantly higher scores . . . . The differences are most pronounced in measures of cognitive and language skills, which are important predictors of academic success."

 

Meanwhile, "the proportion of vulnerable children in [core English] classes is more than twice that in EFI," Willms writes.

 

But the most startling of Willms's discoveries was the class divide. After grouping schoolchildren into five socioeconomic bands -- based on their parents' income, education and occupation -- Willms found enrolment in French immersion was heavily biased toward the top end. "Compared with children in the middle socioeconomic group, those from the highest socioeconomic group are nearly twice as likely to enrol" in French immersion, he writes. "In contrast, those in the lowest socioeconomic group are about half as likely to enrol in EFI. Well over half of all children enrolled in EFI are from the two wealthiest socioeconomic groups."

 

This is a stunning level of segregation. "The divide is comparable to or larger than the divide between non-Hispanic whites and African-Americans in the U.S.," he writes.

 

Not only is this unjust, Willms notes. It's bad for kids.

 

"Children from higher socioeconomic groups tend to do well in any setting," he writes, but not less fortunate kids. "When children with lower ability or children from lower socioeconomic groups are concentrated in particular schools or classes, they tend to perform worse than when they are in mixed ability classes."

 

This basic truth -- well-established by research -- is behind a move in the U.S. toward integrating schools by socioeconomic class. And not only there. "Many countries that practice early streaming are attempting to overhaul their school system to delay streaming until the later stages of secondary school," Willms writes.

 

But in Canada, we prefer not to discuss what French immersion is doing to schools. It's easier to say nothing.

 

And, entre nous, ambitious parents are just fine with keeping the lesser kids out of their child's classroom.

 

下面是枫下论坛的评论。

一篇反FI的文章。 不过反过来看, 到有不少可取之处。

筛选=culling

 

说白了,就是一种筛选,本地报纸有篇文章,说FI有悖加拿大“一个都不能落下”的教育方针。首先1年级入学,如果孩子在JK/SK表现语言能力不行/智力发育晚,家长会自觉不送孩子去FI,这样FI的孩子都是语言表现好的,这样的孩子一般智力在中上,然后,每个学年淘汰

在FI学法语学不好的,一般也影响其他学科,或者反过来,数学不好的,带动整个评测成绩不好,每年FI年级都有几个学生被“劝“转到英语学校/英语班,对这些学习有困难的孩子,一般家长也愿意转,这样一来,FI班里孩子都是中上智力的,教学进度也容易进行,而被拨到英语学校学不好的孩子,如果没有掌握,老师会停下来继续讲,不让一个学生落下,这样则影响别的孩子学习进度。

 

文章从左派的角度,说这种筛选“不公平”,但是对于华人家长,最不能理解和憎恨的是公校“向下看齐”的教育方法,孔子曰“因材施教”,但这里不是这样,如果班里孩子比较整齐,就教的多点,如果有后进生,就慢点。而FI这种“筛选“,正中华人家长下怀,如果FI学校排名较好(大多如此),何乐不为?

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