Challenging the French immersion orthodoxy : student stories and counterstories
Quiring, Suzanne Gabrielle
Through this study I have provided an understanding of what French immersion was like for children who left the program. I have considered an important aspect of the French immersion program that has been neglected in the research literature. My main research question was: What were the experiences of French immersion students who withdrew from their program during the elementary years? Subsequent questions included: How did they deal with repeated failure? How did they cope with the frustration? How did these failures and frustrations change after they left the French immersion program? How do they make sense of their experiences?In this study, I listened to students’ voices to gain insights that lead to an understanding of how they make sense of what school was like for them during their years in French immersion. Using narrative inquiry, I focused on the lived, storied experiences of students who have not succeeded in a French immersion program. By listening to the students’ storied conversations, I have developed a deeper understanding of failed immersion experiences than that which is currently provided in the literature.The six students in this study were aware of their lack of progress in the French immersion program and were unable to become active participants in the classroom community. The inability to become engaged further marginalized them as learners and led to the development of school stories about them. These school stories soon became designated identities with which the children had to cope. By honoring the experiences of the students and including their voices, I have outlined information to aid educators to make decisions for more appropriate programming choices. This information demonstrates the need for timely intervention for some students to improve their school experience. Parents, teachers, and policy makers can then make decisions with the added knowledge provided by the students’ stories.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
DepartmentCollege of Education
ProgramCollege of Education
CommitteeTorres-Racinos, J.; Robinson, Sam; Ralph, Edwin; Park, Jeff; Noonan, Brian; Kalyn, Brenda; Cherland, Meredith; Ward, Angela
second language acquisition