Immersion Principle


On this Website and in the Native Schools Project we are talking about language immersion in a certain specification, namely „Early Total Language Immersion“. What does it mean?

General immersion is a method of teaching a language through the medium of the language. Students are „immerged“ in the language to rapidly becoming fluent speakers of the language.

In total immersion, all schooling in the initial years is conducted in the native language, including reading and language arts. The benefits of the early start of language education are manifold. Children in that age have greater mental flexibility, creativity, listening skills and memory. This leads to a tolerant attitude and more enthusiasm not only for their own Language and culture, but also for the surrounding world and cultures.


Learning the native language as a second language is another way and often used in language programs in New Zealand, Canada, Wales, Finland, Ireland and Spain. Fortunately this are not the only countries and hopefully this will grow to a broad movement, bringing people nearer or even back to their native culture.

Thousands of studies have been completed on different aspects of immersion schools. Each and every one of them has validated that bilingual students catch up with their peers after some years in literacy. Obviously they are connected to their culture through the language and understand the ethics and moral foundations of their native culture.

Language immersion is another attempt by indigenous peoples to retain their cultural strengths. For the whole world of modern individualistic, materialistic, and capitalistic technological culture this is the last chance to preserve an alternative paradigm.

Hawaiian Language Immersion

Pars par toto we will discuss the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program. When more information is gathered from other countries or native cultures we will extend the information base. [1]

The history of Hawaiian Culture is tragic because the language was banned in 1896 by law. This led to a nearly extinction of the language. In 1986 the restriction was removed with the „Hawai’i Revised Statutes“.

In 1987 a pilot program at two schools was initiated for the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program. This Program encompasses three major purposes:

  1. maintenance of linguistic, cultural, and historical perspectives;
  2. linguistic and cultural integration;
  3. and second-language learning.

From this decent commencements the program has grown to 18 sites with an enrollment of more than 1.500 students. In 1999, the first class of students, entirely educated in the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program, graduated from high school. Now Hawaiian immersion schools are common and the University of Hawaii has college- and graduate-level Hawaiian-only academic programs.

Oki pau ka hana a ka Hawaii imi loa

Wondrous are the deeds of deep-seeking Hawaii


[1]Information based on Long-Range Plan for the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program – Papahana Kaiapuni Hawai’i, Department of Education . State of Hawai’i . RS 94-5555 . May 1994