Language Immersion is a method of teaching a second language in which the regular school curriculum is taught through the medium of the language. The second language is the vehicle for content instruction not the subject of instruction. Therefore, as students are “immersed” in the second language (the medium of instruction), they become fluent speakers of the language at an early age.
Total immersion is one form among several in terms of time spent in the second language. In total immersion, all schooling in the initial years is conducted in the second language, including reading and language arts. Partial immersion differs from total in that 50% of the school day is conducted in English right from the start. In partial immersion, reading and language arts are always taught in English. Beyond that, the choice of subjects taught in each language is a local decision. HLIP is an early total immersion program because Hawaiian is used as the only medium of instruction from kindergarten until fourth grade. Thereafter, it may be considered a partial immersion program.
This method of learning a second language has also been used successfully in native language programs in New Zealand, Canada, Wales, and Spain. It is particularly successful with minority languages, where use of the language in society at large is limited. The Canadian school system offers several different models of immersion including double and triple immersion