For over 35 years, French Immersion has been an important cultural and educational experience in Louisiana.
French immersion throughout Louisiana's cultural landscape blends with Francophone festivals such as Festival International and Festivals Acadiens et Créoles. The importance of French in Louisiana is reflected by the international recognition of Louisiana by the international organization of the Francophonie.
This foothold for Louisiana into international enterprises only underlined the need for more French speakers. French immersion is the primary route to creating those speakers, but these programs cannot rely solely on foreign teachers. We need to create our own workforce.
It is to this end that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has created a program dedicated to creating French immersion teachers prepared to teach both content and language. The M.A.T. French Immersion program is a 14 month field intensive program that trains future French immersion teachers in language, content, and immersion methods.
The program is targeted to French majors, former immersion students, and current international teachers looking to change from an international certification to a Louisiana certification. All prospective students need a minimum language level of intermediate-high.
The first summer in the program will entail educational course work and working with students. This work can be done in Louisiana or in a specially designed experience at Ste Anne University in order to meet the required advanced-low language level. The following school year MAT French immersion students will be completing all of their field experiences in the French immersion classrooms with hybrid courses that meet on weekends. Students may do this work as residents, teaching assistants, or as teachers on a Practitioner’s License. The final summer will include more pedagogical experiences including a summer reading course. All course work will either have an immersion component or be French immersion specific. All students who complete the experience will get a Master of Arts in Teaching in Elementary Education; however, students must obtain an advanced mid-level of language to successfully complete the French Immersion concentration.