The French Immersion Debate: French for All or All for French?


158 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 1-55059-226-2
DDC 448'.007




Reviewed by Ronald R. Henry

Ronald R. Henry is director of the School of Translators and
Interpreters at Laurentian University.


This thoughtful, lucidly written book addresses a broad range of
questions emerging from the French Immersion (FI) debate: Is FI suitable
for all children? Do all children benefit from FI? Does it contribute to
the cognitive development of all students? Is there an optimal age for
beginners? How do IQ, motivation, anxiety, learning disabilities, and
physical limitations affect second- language learning? Is first-language
proficiency a factor in second-language learning?

It is the author’s view that “language intelligence” is variable,
and that acquiring another language—or even a first one—must be
considered as part of the broader role of education: finding oneself or
achieving self-actualization. Within the context of this humanistic
approach to education, acknowledging the child’s inner world of ideas
and feelings is key. To help children decide whether FI is right for
them, we need to recognize and understand their individual kinds of
intelligence. Parents, teachers, and administrators should read this


Mannavarayan, Jeanne-Marie., “The French Immersion Debate: French for All or All for French?,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 23, 2024,