Jim Cummins

Jim Cummins
University of Toronto | U of T · Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (194)
Chapter
Full-text available
My goal in this book is to provide some background and insight into the origins of the theoretical constructs I have proposed over the past 45 years. In various publications, I described constructs such as the threshold hypothesis, the linguis¬tic interdependence hypothesis, and the distinction between basic interper¬sonal communicative skills (BIC...
Article
Full-text available
Most school systems around the world prioritize the teaching of languages and aim to develop bilingual or multilingual proficiencies among their students. However, in a large number of contexts, schools also systematically and intentionally undermine the potential of immigrant-background and minoritized students to develop multilingual abilities. T...
Article
Full-text available
This article reports on a study that examined the effectiveness of an intervention using text messages to enhance the academic vocabulary acquisition of English language learners (ELLs). With a random control trial design, we compared students' learning gain of target vocabulary (direct effect) and its subsequent impact on academic vocabulary learn...
Chapter
In this chapter, I analyze patterns of school achievement among students of immigrant background and suggest evidence-based directions for increasing students’ educational success. Although each social context is unique, some generalizations regarding patterns of achievement and causes of underachievement can be made based on the research evidence....
Article
The emergence in recent years of heteroglossic conceptions of bi/multilingualism and the related construct of translanguaging has raised questions about how these notions relate to more traditional conceptions of additive bilingualism, biliteracy, and the overall academic achievement of minoritized students. In this article, Jim Cummins provides a...
Article
This study examined university undergraduate English language learners’ (ELLs) perspectives on an intervention, Word Matters, that aimed to enhance functional academic vocabulary learning critical to their cognitive academic language proficiency development (Cummins, 1989), a challenge faced by many ELLs in English-medium universities. This interve...
Presentation
It reports on a study that examined the effectiveness of using text messages to enhance English language learners’ (ELLs) academic vocabulary learning in a large Canadian University.
Chapter
This chapter discusses the theoretical issues and empirical research relevant to instructional language use in bilingual and L2 teaching programs. In most contexts, language teaching is still largely based on monolingual instructional assumptions that view languages as separate and autonomous. Optimal instructional practice is frequently characteri...
Chapter
The distinction between basic interpersonal conversational skills (BICS) and cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) drew attention to the very different time periods typically required by immigrant children to acquire conversational fluency in the school language as compared to grade-appropriate academic proficiency in that language. The di...
Chapter
The premise of this paper is that students will engage actively with literacy only to the extent that such engagement is identity-affirming. In this regard, creative writing and other forms of cultural production assume particular importance as expressions of identity, projections of identity into new social spheres, and re-creation of identity as...
Article
Full-text available
These excerpts from Sidra's five-and-a-half page account of her transition from Pakistan to Canada provide a glimpse into the inner world of an English language learning (ELL) student. Sidra highlights themes that are notably absent from the "scientifically-proven" prescriptions of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). She talks about the struggle to expres...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this article is to introduce a computer-assisted multiliteracies programme (CaMP) as an alternative approach to English as a Foreign Language (EFL) instruction in order to overcome the educational limitations that are inherent in most EFL settings. In a number of monolingual societies with a dominant language other than English, students...
Article
The paper reviews quantitative and qualitative research evidence regarding the relationship between intercultural education and academic achievement among students from socially marginalized communities. Intercultural education is conceptualized as including a focus both on generating understanding and respect for diverse cultural traditions and ch...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the theoretical issues and empirical research relevant to instructional language use in bilingual and L2 teaching programs. In most contexts, language teaching is still largely based on monolingual instructional assumptions that view languages as separate and autonomous. Optimal instructional practice is frequently characteri...
Article
The construct of identity text conjoins notions of identity affirmation and literacy engagement as equally relevant to addressing causes of underachievement among low socioeconomic status, multilingual, and marginalized group students. Despite extensive empirical evidence supporting the impact on academic achievement of both identity affirmation an...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes a qualitative study conducted over the course of one school year in an ethnically diverse school. Aimed at exploring the conditions under which parents of low socioeconomic status (SES) immigrant-background children will engage actively with the school, we involved parents and facilitators in story-telling sessions, sharing per...
Article
The authors of papers in this special issue are in agreement that if schools are to reverse underachievement among rural and township students in the South African context the instructional space must be expanded to include students’ and teachers’ multilingual repertoires together with a focus on explicitly demystifying how academic language works....
Chapter
The distinction between basic interpersonal conversational skills (BICS) and cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) drew attention to the very different time periods typically required by immigrant children to acquire conversational fluency in the school language as compared to grade-appropriate academic proficiency in that language. The di...
Book
This is a remarkably interesting and useful book…it makes a significant contribution to our knowledge and understanding of both bilingualism and education.' Journal of Education Policy.
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents findings from a collaborative inquiry project that explored teaching approaches that highlight the significance of multilingualism, multimodality, and multiliteracies in classrooms with high numbers of English language learners (ELLs). The research took place in an inner city elementary school with a large population of recently...
Article
This paper argue that an explicit focus on teaching the nature of academic language and how it works to create meaning in complex texts is a crucial component of effective instruction for students who are at risk of underachievement. However, it is just one among several crucial components. Equally important are the promotion of literacy engagement...
Article
Full-text available
THE PAPER ADDRESSES THE INTERSECTIONS BETWEEN RESEARCH FINDINGS AND CANADIAN EDUCATIONAL POLICIES FOCUSING ON FOUR MAJOR AREAS: (a) core and immersion programs for the teaching of French to Anglophone students, (b) policies concerning the learning of English and French by students from immigrant backgrounds, (c) heritage language teaching, and (d)...
Article
Full-text available
Hace ya algunos años Cole y Scribner, con una investigación transcultural que se ha hecho clásica, establecían una distinción clave entre la lecto-escritura como código por una parte y los usos concretos que de ella se hace, por otra. Con el ordenador en la educación ha llegado también el momento de hablar quizá menos del aparato en si y mas de los...
Article
Bilingual education and second language immersion programs have operated on the premise that the bilingual student’s two languages should be kept rigidly separate. This paper argues that although it is appropriate to maintain largely separate spaces for each language, it is also important to teach for transfer across languages. In other words, it i...
Article
This paper identifies four misconceptions about language proficiency which are currently impeding the implementation of effective bilingual education programs. These misconceptions involve: 1) the attribution of deficient language or cognitive skills on the basis of non-standard varieties of L1, and the consequent attempt to eradicate these stigmat...
Chapter
In educational discourse, the term empowerment has been used predominantly in the context of discussions of equity and social justice. Keywords: esl/efl; educational linguistics; ethnicity and culture
Article
Full-text available
This article attempts to provide ESL teachers, school administrators, and policymakers with a concise overview of what matters in promoting academic success among learners of English in Canadian schools. We review research focused on bilingual and biliteracy development, the nature of academic language, and the roles of societal power relations and...
Article
Policies designed to improve educational outcomes in the United States (and many other countries) over the past decade have failed to raise overall achievement or close the gap between middle-class and low-income students in any significant way. Little tangible impact is evident despite the expenditure of billions of dollars ($6 billion for the Rea...
Article
Educational policies designed to promote literacy achievement in U.S. schools over the past decade have failed to deliver the anticipated outcomes. These disappointing outcomes can be attributed to the implementation of evidence-free policies. In particular, policymakers have ignored the fact that underachievement is concentrated in schools serving...
Article
The present paper synthesizes the international research literature on the educational achievement of immigrant and minority language students by articulating three propositions for which there is strong empirical evidence: (a) print access and literacy engagement play a key role in promoting reading comprehension; (b) the development of bilingual...
Article
Full-text available
Exceptional pupils enrolled in Canadian French immersion programs rarely have access to the same range of special education programs and services that are available to students in the regular English program. More often than not, students with special needs are encouraged to transfer to English programs to access necessary support services. This co...
Article
Current assumptions regarding psychological assessment of immigrant and minority language children are examined in this paper. It is argued that immigrant children tend to acquire fluent surface skills in their second language (L2) more rapidly than they develop L2 conceptual and literacy skills. Data are presented which show that immigrant childre...
Article
This book shows how identity texts have been used as a central focus for effective and inspirational pedagogy in multilingual school contexts that is engaging students around the world. The term identity texts was first used by the Canada-wide Multiliteracies Project to describe a variety of creative work by students, including collaborative inquir...
Chapter
IntroductionThe Sociopolitical Context of Bilingual EducationTypes, Goals, and ParticipantsGeneral Outcomes of Bilingual Education ProgramsDissenting PerspectivesOutcomes of Immersion ProgramsIllustrative Sketches of Bilingual and Immersion ProgramsPedagogical Issues within Bilingual and Immersion ProgramsConclusion References
Article
The papers in this special issue of of International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism edited by Shelley K. Taylor and Mitsuyo Sakamoto cover a wide range of educational contexts and issues and they draw on a variety of disciplinary perspectives to interpret the phenomena they analyze. As the editors point out in their introduction, t...
Article
This article addresses the issue of whether TESOL should clearly articulate a set of pedagogical principles that challenge the assumption that English language teaching (ELT) should be conducted monolingually through English. This "monolingual principle" emphasizes instructional use of the target language (TL) to the exclusion of students' home lan...
Article
This article reports on a qualitative case study involving pedagogical innovations grounded in culturally and linguistically inclusive approaches to curriculum. In this project, kindergarten children were supported in collaboratively authoring Dual Language Identity Texts. Our findings suggest that as family and teacher conceptions of literacy were...
Article
Where Immigrant Students Succeed: A Comparative Review of Performance and Engagement in PISA 2003 ( Petra Stanat & Gayle Christensen. 2006. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 222 pages.)
Article
This study examined the relative efficacy of electronic versus hard-copy textual environments in supporting students' acquisition of vocabulary. Forty-six Grade 5 students were randomly assigned to 4 Aesop's Fables that had been equated in terms of difficulty, with the constraint that each student would read 2 texts in each condition. Scaffolding i...
Chapter
Population mobility is at an all-time high in human history. The movement of people from one country to another has resulted in a significant increase in linguistic diversity in urban schools in countries around the world. This increase in diversity has given rise to numerous issues related to educational policies and classroom pedagogy for immigra...
Article
In this article, the author argues that there is minimal scientific support for the pedagogical approaches promoted for low-income students in the federal Reading First initiative. In combination with high-stakes testing, the interpretation of the construct systematic phonics instruction in Reading First has resulted in highly teacher-centered and...
Article
Full-text available
Three inter-related assumptions regarding best practice in second/foreign language teaching and bilingual/immersion education continue to dominate classroom instruction. These assumptions are that: (a) the target language (TL) should be used exclusively for instructional purposes without recourse to students? first language (L1); (b) translation be...
Chapter
In the English language teaching field, it seems self-evident that the goal of every ELT program must be to learn English, and hence the focus must be on teaching the English language. Although at some fundamental level such assumptions are undoubtedly valid, they have been severely tested by recent paradigm shifts in the field of second language a...
Chapter
The purpose of research in the social sciences is to generate data that contribute to our understanding of social phenomena. In education, research provides information on multiple phenomena such as the efficacy of various instructional approaches, achievement differences between social groups and across countries, and the many factors that contrib...
Chapter
Assessment and evaluation have always been important areas of policy and practice in ELT, inextricably linked with many other aspects of TESOL, including language policy, language teaching methodology and curriculum design, teacher development, and second language acquisition, to name just a few. Assessment and evaluation are common concerns in dif...
Chapter
Throughout the relatively short history of second language acquisition research there has been a clear division, and sometimes tension, between cognitive and socially-oriented approaches. Cognitive approaches view learners as individuals who process language input and produce language output. The major challenge for the researcher is to discover wh...
Chapter
Language teaching research and theory have traditionally focused on issues of effectiveness and efficiency: What is the best method for teaching a second or foreign language? What is the optimal age for starting the teaching of a new language? What emphasis should be placed on each of the “four language skills”—speaking, listening, reading, and wri...
Chapter
This chapter proposes a framework for conceptualizing the nature of academic language and the pedagogical conditions that foster its development. Academic language proficiency is distinguished from both conversational fluency and discrete language skills and defined as the ability to understand and express, in both oral and written modes, concepts...
Article
It is obvious that English language teaching must have as its primary focus the development of the English language, as Cummins and Man point out in their chapter in this section of the handbook, but the ELT field has not yet reached a common shared understanding of what is meant by language. (The issue of what is English is even more contentious,...
Book
This two-volume handbook provides a comprehensive examination of policy, practice, research, and theory related to English language teaching (ELT) in international contexts. Nearly 70 chapters highlight the research foundation for the best practices, frameworks for policy decisions, and areas of consensus and controversy in the teaching and develop...
Article
Jim Cummins teaches in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. His research has focused on the nature of language proficiency and second language acquisition with particular emphasis on the social and educational barriers that limit academic success for cult...
Article
NON-WESTERN EDUCATIONAL TRADITIONS: INDIGENOUS APPROACHES TO EDUCATIONAL THOUGHT AND PRACTICE (3rd ed.). Timothy Reagan. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2005. Pp. xiii + 308. $36.00 paper. Within the field of applied linguistics, globalization expresses itself most clearly in two phenomena: (a) the increase of cultural and linguistic diversity in urban center...
Article
There is little research on English language learners (ELLs) in relation to learning disability (LD) assessment and identification. More important, there is a scarcity of research on models and strategies that enhance learning opportunities and outcomes for ELLs prior to an LD diagnosis. We describe in this article an innovative language interventi...
Article
There is little research on English language learners (ELLs) in relation to learning disability (LD) assessment and identification. More important, there is a scarcity of research on models and strategies that enhance learning opportunities and outcomes for ELLs prior to an LD diagnosis. We describe in this article an innovative language interventi...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, we examine the relationships between pedagogy and the use of information technology (IT) in schools. IT refers not only to computers (hardware and software), but also to the full range of multimedia technological tools that are potentially available to support learning and communication of knowledge (e.g., digital and video cameras...
Article
To what extent have Canadian schools incorporated notions of multiliteracies into their curricula and instruction? What pedagogical options are implied by a multiliteracies perspective? How might consideration of multiliteracies affect policies and practices at various levels of the educational system--ministries of education, faculties of educatio...
Article
Currently, heritage language teaching to school-aged students is carried out both within public schools (e.g., in foreign language classes and bilingual/dual language programs) and in community-supported out-of-school programs. In all of these settings, the teaching of heritage languages is marginalized with respect to funding provisions, number of...
Article
Full-text available
In How People Learn, Bransford, Brown, and Cocking (2000) synthesized research regarding the optimal conditions that foster learning; a follow-up volume edited by Donovan and Bransford (2005) examines the application of these learning principles to teaching history, mathematics, and science. Bransford and colleagues emphasize the following three co...
Chapter
Full-text available
With cultural diversity comes linguistic diversity. This diversity has been created by growing rates of migration since the 1960s and by greater inter-cultural contact among nations as they try to resolve ecological and diplomatic problems together. In this chapter, Jim Cummins looks at the implications of linguistic diversity for educational chang...
Article
Full-text available
In How People Learn, Bransford, Brown, and Cocking (2000) synthesized research regarding the optimal conditions that foster learning; a follow-up volume edited by Donovan and Bransford (2005) examines the application of these learning principles to teaching history, mathematics, and science. Bransford and colleagues emphasize the following three co...
Article
Section A: Background 1. Assessing the Effects of Bilingualism - D. K. Oller and B.Z. Pearson 2. An Integrated Approach to Evaluating Effects of Bilingualism in Miami School Children - D. K. Oller and R. E. Eilers. Section B: Overall Results on Language use and Standardized Test Performance 3. Bilingualism and Cultural Assimilation in Miami Hispani...
Article
This professional development kit for teachers and administrators working with English language learners (ELLs) offers three videotapes of three presentations from the 2002 NABE Conference, as well as agendas, presenter's notes, classroom activities, a list of resources, and transparencies for half-day or full-day workshops. The topics discussed in...
Article
Jim Cummins presents a theoretical framework for analyzing minority students' school failure and the relative lack of success of previous attempts at educational reform, such as compensatory education and bilingual education. The author suggests that these attempts have been unsuccessful because they have not altered significantly the relationships...
Article
Full-text available
The findings of the Ramrez Report indicate that Latino students who received sustained L1 instruction throughout elementary school have better academic prospects than those who received most or all of their instruction through English. This pattern of findings refutes the theoretical assumptions underlying opposition to bilingual education while su...
Article
This paper outlines a framework for academic language learning that highlights the importance of focusing instructionally on meaning, language, and use. Academic language learning refers to the learning of the language registers in L1, L2 or L3 required to function successfully in school contexts where these languages are being used for instruction...
Article
The term globalization is never far from the front pages of newspapers these days. It evokes strong positive or negative feelings depending upon whether it is being praised by the business community for opening up world markets to more extensive trade or condemned by those who associate the term with the dramatically widening gap between rich and p...
Article
En: Revista de educación (Madrid) Madrid 2001, n. 326, septiembre-diciembre; p. 37-61 Se presentan las líneas de investigación sobre las realidades psicolingüísticas del bilingüismo en los niños. La investigación pone de manifiesto: una distinción entre el desarrollo de capacidades conversacionales y acedémicas en una segunda lengua, los efectos po...

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OME is a non-profit organization committed to promoting and legalizing multilingual education in Ontario, Canada.​ www.multilingualeducation.ca