by Sungryoung Yoon
In 1960s, public schools in Canada started to introduce “immersion schools” where children can study French, and in 1970s public schools in US also started to introduce a new education system, “immersion schools” to public school. Today, children in the US and Canada can study a second language or third language in public schools by this system. We did discussion about “immersion school” for children to be bilingual by the end of elementary school. However, I think that this system is one of important roles for multicultural society. I would like to write about what background made US to introduce this system and how Japanese society can change to be multicultural society by using this system.
We generally think that the US is one of big countries of multicultural society. However, almost people of immigrant encouraged dropping their native language. For instance parents don’t teach their native language to children and making them to study English. Why these actions happen to the society? I guess it is disadvantage for people who don’t have an English ability to live in the US society for education and job. It is necessary for people to get to full English skill and I think this action does not lead multicultural society anymore. Not dropping native language and knowing other language are one of the big ways to be multicultural society. Today, in the US, many public schools have “immersion school” and give a lot of opportunities to children to learn their native language and also to know other culture of countries. I think this system has been helping the US society to coexist with different countries and it has been a big role for multicultural society in the US.
While the US society has struggled to introduce the new education system for multicultural society since 1970s, I think that children are limited to learn language in Japanese society. For example, we could not get to chance to study English when I was an elementary school. At last Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology introduced English education system to elementary school in 2008 but it is not enough to say Japan is multicultural system. For instance, how children who came to Japan as immigrant learn their native language? Today, Japanese society has to try to coexist with languages and culture of each country like the US since a lot of immigrants live together in Japan and I think it will be one of a big role for Japanese society to be multicultural society.
I think that children could get know their identity, and they could understand about cultures and language of other countries by introducing “immersion school” to Japanese society. We need multicultural society since more immigrants would come to Japan in the future. “Immersion school” will help Japanese society to be multicultural society.