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Hector Hammerly

Calgary, Detselig, 1989. 200pp, paper, $17.95
ISBN 1-55059-004-9. CIP

Reviewed by Phillip K. Harber.

Volume 18 Number 2
1990 March

Hector Hammerly of Simon Fraser University has given notice in this book that he is against the popular trend of French Immersion teaching in Canada. It is natural for other second-language teachers in this country and elsewhere to want to read his views and re-examine their own beliefs and practices to be sure that they are teaching as effectively as they can.

Professor Hammerly is ready to condemn the present implementation of the widely accepted theory, which is, briefly, that learning a second language is best done in the appropriate sur­rounding, simulating immersion in the culture of the country of choice, and learning as early as possible in life in order to exploit the apparent ease with which children learn their first lan­guage.

This and other assumptions exam­ined in Chapter 3 are rejected by the author, who proposes an alternative, christened ISF/PEM (Intensive System­atic French/Principled Eclectic Method). He is in fact asking teachers to accept a set of principles and practices devel­oped over the years by many experi­enced and successful second-language teachers like himself who were unable or unwilling to hail French Immersion as the answer to all their problems.

It is an interesting and apposite proposition, supported by all manner of anecdotal and statistical information, but it remains another hypothesis to be considered and analyzed by experts like H.H. Stern.

For all professional collections.

Phillip K. Harber, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.
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