Bilingualism: The Immersion Method | Phorms Berlin Mitte

    Students who have been learning in a bilingual environment for many years perform at an above-average level in foreign languages, in their own mother tongue and in other subjects. Bilingualism promotes the cognitive development of children in such areas as awareness of language, creativity and flexible thinking.

    Since the 2014−15 school year, we have offered two different forms of bilingual learning:

    Full immersion

    During the first three years of school, teaching at our primary school takes place in English. Teachers deliver the lesson content at native speaker level in accordance with the immersion method. This means that teaching staff speak in the foreign language at all times, using pictures, gestures and symbols to support student understanding. This enables children to learn the language naturally and to be able to use it in a variety of contexts. Our primary school students are able to have discussions, hold presentations and calculate in English. Starting in year 4 parts of the topic work curriculum, as preparation for year 5, are taught in German. Subjects such as music, art, sports depend on the mother tongue of the specialist teacher. Starting in year 5, just like our Gymnasium, Geography and History are also taught in German.

    At the same time, we also place great importance on the good quality of our teaching of German.

    Our students first learn to read and write in German. Our German programme is highly active in nature, with plenty of music and movement. Of course, we also place great importance on independent practice.

    Partial immersion

    We also want to make access to our school possible for children:

    • whose parents want a strong focus on English but also value a well-developed range of lessons in German
    • who have a multilingual background
    • whose families have an English-speaking background and want a stronger German profile

    Starting in year 1 subjects are divided by language. Lessons in German, mathematics and topic work are delivered in German. English is taught for at least seven periods a week by a native speaker. All other subjects are taught primarily in English. As a result, students gradually become bilingual or multilingual, depending on their family circumstances. Switching to full immersion is possible if students become sufficiently proficient in English.

    The content of lessons is the same for both partial-immersion and full-immersion teaching.