Teaching 100 Languages in a Second Language Using an Inquiry-Based Approach in Early Childhood French Immersion

Researchers: Paula D. Fortier and Marielle Hamon
October 2014

Drawing on their lived experiences, two colleagues and co-researchers reflected upon their teacher practice related to using an inquiry approach in their French immersion kindergarten and Grade 1 classrooms. While defining inquiry-based learning and the ideals of French immersion education, they recognized a tension. Using their own personal experiences, they examined how inquiry-based teaching led them to question some of their beliefs about French immersion early childhood education. Can a teacher use an inquiry-based approach successfully in a French immersion early childhood classroom? 

Although French immersion teachers are equally inspired by play-based and inquiry-based teaching philosophies, there are few, if any, examples of how successful inquiry can be supported and should be achieved in an early childhood second language environment such as French immersion kindergarten or Grade 1. These questions led the researchers on their own personal journey of change and generated an eagerness to learn from other teachers’ experiences. A research question was formed: What do teachers perceive to be the challenges and opportunities of using an inquiry-based approach when teaching in an early childhood French immersion classroom?