“The best way to learn anything is by total immersion.” Dr. James Champion Stone, Language Acquisition Theorist, UC Berkeley
Perhaps the best way to raise Christian children to survive the teen years and go on to become strong Christian adults is to apply as early on as possible the language acquisition approach called ‘Total Immersion.’
Total Immersion is one of four ‘immersion’ approaches for learning new languages.
The most effective and longest-lasting is Total Immersion, which means 100% of the time is spent learning the ins and outs of the new language, receiving direct instruction in the same language, and living in a culture that is dependent on that language.
“Over nearly half a century, research on language immersion education has heralded benefits such as academic achievement, language and literacy development in two or more languages, and cognitive skills.” Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition.
The Total Immersion approach requires learners to listen, speak, read, think, write and live whatever language they are learning until they are confidently conversant. It is literally like a baptism that has no end.
“…a baptism without end.” Jeff Rogers, Veteran English Teacher
Parents can begin to facilitate this immersive life-long experience by consistently modeling the Christian walk of life and lovingly expecting their children to follow in their footsteps and learn from them directly what faith in Christ is all about.
Beyond going to church to worship together once or twice a week, children can…
- participate in various church programs
- pray regularly, as well as spontaneously
- see parents apologizing and forgiving
- regularly read and refer to what God says in the Bible
- play worship music often in the car and at home
- experience tough love when appropriate
- say grace at all meals, both at home and out
- give thanks and praise for blessings and lessons
- adhere to the true meaning of Christian holidays
- have Christ-centered discussions as a family
- just to name a few examples…be creative, involve the whole family
Christian schools and educational programs can support immersion efforts at home by providing weekly chapel worship, as well as…
- a Scripture-rich learning environment…verses on posters everywhere
- reminders throughout each day to pray, to think about God
- seeing adults modeling Christian behaviors
- the day and each class beginning in prayer
- intercom announcements full Scripture and prayer
- worship music piped before school, during passing periods,
- lunch, and at the end of the day
- Bible-based textbooks
- daily Bible study
- participation in regular evangelical and service projects
- just to name a few examples
Church youth programs are more often these days accused of dropping the ball with teens because of their lack of rigor and focus on Jesus and how to live a Christian life.1
Surveys of youth programs across the country say they could be more help by…
- becoming a greater priority of the church
- having greater quality youth ministry leaders
- having a greater discipleship focus
- providing more spiritual guidance and instruction
- spending more time learning the Bible
- more mission projects, trips, and retreats
- attending more Christian youth conferences
- just to name a few examples
“It’s like taking a non-stop language shower.” Jeff Rogers, Veteran English Teacher
1 “The Priorities, Challenges, and Trends in Youth Ministry,” Barna Research Group, 2016.
2 “What the Research Says About Immersion,” Tara Williams Fortune, 2019.