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The Role of Primary Language Development in Promoting Educational Success for Language Minority Students

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Developed by
Office of Bilingual Bicultural Education
California State Department of Education
Sacramento, California .
Published by
Evaluation, Dissemination and Assessment Center
California State University, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
ISBN: 0-89755-011.0
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 81.71272
This publication was funded in whole or in part by a contract (G007902844) be-
tween the California State Department of Education and the United States Educa-
tion Department. The opinions expressed herein do not, however, necessarily
reflect the positions or policy of the United States Education Department; no of-
ficial endorsement by the United States Education Department should be
Developed by
California State Department of Education"
Sacramento, California
Published and Disseminated by
,California State University, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Printed in USA 1981
Second Printing 1982
Third Printing 1982
Fourth Printing 1982
Fifth Printing 1983
Sixth Printing 1983
Seventh Printing 1984 3
The growing interest in the problems of language minority
students In the United States has been accompanied by the
publication of an enormous number of books andarticles. Often;
however, advice regarding approaches, methods, strategies, and
teithnlques for effectively educating language minority students
is Offered without any concern or explanation of empirical
evidence. With the possible exception of legal concerns, the Of-
lice of Bilingual Bicultural Education in the California State
Department of Education receives more Inquiries regarding
research evidence on the effectiveness of bilingual education
than on any other issue. Educators want to know which types of
programs actually work with non-English language background
The Office of Bilingual Bicultural Education has identified
three major objectives for all instructional programs serving
language minority students. Regardless of the approach taken,
at the end of the treatment period, language minority students
should exhibit: (1) high levels of English language proficiency, (2)
appropriate levels of cognitive/academic development, and (3)
adequate psychosocial and cultural adjustment. 'The articles in-
cluded In this collection of papers explain the importance of
these goals and describe the likelihood of various types of in-
structional approaches to achieve such outcomes. Instead of
providing the reader with a series of unconnected suggestions
and recommendations, the authors collectively advance a
research-based theoretical framework for the design and im-
plementation of Instructional programs for language minority
This publication is a progress report, not a collection of proven
answers. The theoretical framework implied in this volume is,
however, based on the best Information that science can provide
at this time. The research herein reported does not lead to
perfect progrpms with perfect outcomes, nor does it answer all
the questiod regarding language development, language ac-
quisition, and cognitive/academic development in bilingual con-
texts. But, taken collectively, these articles form the beginning of
a research-based theoretical framework for planning and improv-
ing bilingual education programs. We at the California State
Department of Education view this as substantive progress. We
are encouraged by the potential practical applications of the
research presented in this collection and shall continue with the
refinement of this work. At the aame time, we not only invite
other researcherp, teacher trainers, and school districtpersonnel
to put into practice the Ideas and Implications presented here
but also to improve and expand their programs to meet all of the
schooling needs of language minority students.
Guillermo.Lopez, Chief
Office of Bilingual Bicultural Education
Sincere appreciation is first expressed to the authors of the
five papers appear:ng in this collection: James Cummins,
Stephen Krashen, Dorothy Legarreta-Marcaida, Tracy Terrell, and
Eleanor Thonis. The contributors have not only astutely syn-
thesized their own research and the research of others but have
also skillfully presented the information In a manner especially
suitable to educators.
Special thanks are .1so due to the Project Team members in
the Office of Bilingual Bicultural Education: Maria Ortiz, Dennis
Parker, and Fred Tempes..These Individuals were responsible for
the design of the initial, outline questions, review of the interim
and final drafts, consultation with the authors, and preparation
of the articles for the publisher. In turn, the work of the Project
Team was ably promoted and supervised by several ad-
ministrators at the California State Department of Education, in-
cluding 'Ramiro Reyes, Guillermo Lopez, and Tomas Lopez.
Charles Leyba, Director, and his staff at the Evaluation,
Dissemination and Assessment Center, California State Univer-
any, Los Angeles are to be commended for their professional
preparation of this document. The Office of Bilingual Education
and Minority Language Affairs of the United States Education
Department provided the funds for this project.
Many more individuals and agencies, too many to UM here,
provided valuable assistance in the development of this collec-
tion; final .responsibility for this volume, nevertheless, rests with
the Office of Bilingual Bicultural Education, California State
Department of Education.
David P. Dotson
Project Team Leader
Office of Bilingual Bicultural Education
JAMES CUMMINS is a Visiting Professor in the Modern
Language Centre of the Ontario Institute for Studies on Educa-
tion. Re received his PhD from the University of Alberta in 1974.
His research interests include minority group achievement, bi-
lingualism, and reading disability. He is the recipient (with J. P.
Das) of the International Reading Association 1979 Albert J. Har-
ris Award for the best papers on detection and remediation of
reading disability.
STEPHEN KRASHEN is Professor of Linguistics at the Univer-
sity of Southern California. He has published extensively on
second language acquisition theory, second language teaching,
and neurolInguistics. He Is the author of Second Language Ac.
quisfccn and Second Language Learning (Pergamon Press,
:A.:1), co-author of The Human Brain (Prentice-Hall, 1977); and
-editor of Research in Second Language. Accp Onion (Newbury
House, 1980).
Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, Dr. Legarreta
has published several articles on second language acquisition
and primiry language maintenance. Her earlier research was on
Black dialect speakers. Her present book-in-progress is a study
of ethnic identity and language maintenance among nearly
20,000 Basque children evacuated during the Spanish Civil War
and sent to France, England, Belgium, the U.S.S.R., and Mexico.
TRACY DAVID TEIWELL is the Chair of the Program in
Linguistics and a meraberof the Department of Spanish and Por-
tuguese at the University of California, Irvine. He has written
many articles on Spanish phonology, especially on the
phonology of Caribbean Spanish. His theoretical interest is
sociolinguistics and, in particular;language change. His recent
area of specialization is second language acquisition, especially
language teaching. He is perhaps best known as the !nitlator of a
-new" communicative approach tr; languagrl instruction, "The
Natural Appfoach." He has published a text on applied
linguistics with Maruxa Satgues de Cargill called Linguistics
aplIcada (J. Wiley 3,nd Sons) and another will appear shortly on
Spanish phonetics with R. Barrutia, Fanatics y fonologla
espaialas (J. Wiley and Sons). He will also publish a book co-
authored with S. Krashen entitled The Natural Approach:
Language Acquisition In the Classroom (Pergemon Press).
ELEANOR WALL THONIS is the district psychologist for
Wheatland Elementary School District; a part-time instructor.
University of California, Berkeley; and the consultant for bi-
lingual education in the"Marysville Unified School District. She
has served as the director of the area Reading Center and Is the
author of several publications on reading for language minority
There are presently more than 375,000 students of limited
English proficiency in California public schools. There are an ad-
ditional 433,000 students of fluent English proficiency who have
a home language other than English. This means that
California's language 'minority student population in
kindergarten through grade twelve approximates 010,000.
As a group, language minority students tend to do poorly In
regular school programs. They da not acquire the language,
academic, and sociocultural skills necessary to meet the
challenges of vocational and higher education pursuits. Many
language minority students achieve only low levels of primary
language proficiency while acquiring less than native-like ability
In English.
Making decisions about instructional offerings for language
minority students has proven to be e. complex and demanding
task for school personnel and parents alike. Part of the difficulty
can be attributed to the absence of a theoretical framework upon
AO programs for language minority students can be based.
Without a framework, decision makers are often unable to focus
consistently upon the psychosocial and educational factors that
",_ influence the school achievement of language minority students.
While political and economic factors are alsO important, basing
educational programs solely on such grounds tends to affect
negatively the quality of the educational experience of language
minority students. Only by clearly understanding what educa-
tional attainments are possible for language minority students
can school personnel and parents judge the approprigteness of
the educational practices currently utilized by local schools.
Although political and economic compromises may be
necessary, they are best made when decision makers under-
stand as many of the pertinent dynamics as possible. This
publication offers information related specifically to the educa-
tional consequences of program decisions.on language minority
In the past, mbst knowledge about programs for language
minority studtmts was based entirely on authority (laws and ex-
perts), the personal experiences of educators, and the "common
sense" reasoning of program designers and planners. Such infor-
mation may be important but is in Itself insufficient for making
critical educational decisions. Therefore, the Office of Bilingual
Bicultural Education of the California State Department of
Education has decided to turn to scientifically controlled studies
to establish the validity c I knowledge about Instructional pro-.
grams for language minority students. Empirical knowindge is
ceftain to Improve the ability of educators to predict individual
Student and program outcomes for specific types of students,
given certain types of Instructional treatments, and under dif-
ferent types of background conditions. Thus, the articles con-
tained In this collection represent an initial step in the develop-
ment of a research-based theoretical framework for the school-
ing of language minority students.
This collection of papers Is divided Into two major parts. The
first section, consisting of papers by James Cummins and
Stephen Krashen, addresses the theoretical underpinnings of
primary language development, second language acquisition,
and the relationship of both to normal school achievement. The
second section coigains a series of three papers, each ex-
panding upon the theoretical works In the first section and pro-
viding the reader with numerous instructional methods and
techniques, all consistent with each other and with the various
hypotheses posited by Cummins and Krashen.
No pedagogical issue relating to the instruction of language
minority students has been more vigorously debated than the
role of minority languages in bilingual education program e. In his
work, Cummins clarifies the role of the primary languagi, by: (1)
describing the nature of language proficiency and its connection
to academic and cognitive development, (2) identifying different
levels of bilingualism experienced by language minority students
and predicting the corresponding effects of each level on
academic achievement, and (3) 'suggesting a relationship be-
tween primary language development and eventual attainment In
the second language through tits notion of a common undeilying
dimension of language proficiency. Clearly, Cummins has
developed several important hypotheses and constructs that
help explain and reconcile the seemingly contradictory findings
of many other researchers.
While Cummins' article focuses on primary language cleivelop
ment and academic achievement, Krashen dedicates attention
to the acquisition of a second language, specifically English. The
author distinguishes between language acquisition and
language learning environments. The former, it is suggested,
leads to fluency, while the latter assists in the development of
what Krashen palls the "Monitor." Krashen also suggests that
the key to second language acquisition .1s exposure to "com-
prehensible Input" in substantial amounts and under Optimal
conditions. In describing the conditions necessary for second
language acquisition, Krashen analyzes the potential of `variJus
second language (grammar and communicative-based English-
as-a-Second-Language) and bilingual education (immersion,
transitional, and ideal) programs to meet the language and
academic needs of minority students.
Based on the assumption that high levels of primary language
proficiency promote adequate school achievement, Dorothy
Legarreta-Marcalda explores the effective use of primary
language In bilingual classrooms. The author addresses five key
questions related to the design, management, and implementa-
tion of bilingual classes:
1. To what extent should the child's primary language be used
overall in grades K-6?
2. In what manner should primary language Instruction be
a. Concurrent translation?
b. Alternate immerton (direct method) usually through
language dominaht groupings?
3. What variety of the primary language should be used in the
4. How can we ensure the prestige of the primary language via
vie the dominant language, English?
5. How can primary language use be monitored: a formative
evaluation process?
The responses to those questions are based on the recent find-
ings of empirical studies and the published material of ex-
perienced professionals.
Complementing Krashen's theoretical hypotheses, Tracy D.
Terrell presents an acquisition model called the "Natural Ap-
proach." This model Is one means of applying Krashen's
theoretical constructs. Terrell not only describes Vie model in
eelationship to Krashen's work and the work of others but also
addresses: (1) the principles of the Natural Approach, (2) natural
language acquisition situations, (3) appropriate teacher
behaviors, (4) sample teaching techniques and strategies, (5) the
use of continua in the Natural Approach, and (8) student evalua-
tion. Terrell's article Is enhanced by the inclusion of many actual
classroom examples related to suggested techniques and
The last paper, by Eleanor Thonis, deals with reading instruc-
tion in bilingual contexts. She expands upon Cummins' notion of
a Common. Underlying Proficiency (CUP) In the
cognitive/academic language skills area as it relates to literacy
acquisition among bilingual students. The potential for primary
language reading skill transfer to English is disCussed in detail.
Additionally, the author suggests appropriate methods and
techniques designed to promote primary language literacy in and
out of the classroom. Thonis concludes her article with a
description of the positive outcomes associated with billteracy.
Finally, the compendium concludes with an Appendix and a
Glossary. The appendix contains a sample copy of the 1981-82
version of the Bilingual Education Program Quality Review in-
strument, Kindergarten Through Grade Six. The use of this instru-
ment is one way the Office of Bilingual Bicultural Education pro-
motes the principles and standards of Implementation sug-
gested by the theoretical framework implied In this compendium.
Other promotional strategies Include the development of Asian
and minority group handbooks and periodic presentations at
regional technical assistance workshops for local *Khoo( district
personnel as well as coordination meetings with resource agen-
cies and county schools offices. The glossary of terms has been
included to assist the reader by promoting consistency in the use
of the key terms across articles, It Is suggested that the reader
become familiar with the entries in the glossary before attempt-
ing a thorough reading of any of the papers.
Most educators, government officials, parents, and communi-
ty members would agree that the goal of educational programs
designed for language minority stertiants Is to allow such
students to develop the highest degree possible of language,
academic, and social skills. necessary to participate fully In all
aspects of life. More specifically, as a result of an instructional
treatment, language minority students should attain: (1) high
levels of English language proficiency, (2) normal cognitive and
academic achievement, (3) adequate psychosocial and cultural
adjustment, and (4) sufficient levels of primary language develop-
ment to promote normal school progress. Based on the empirical
evidence prasented in the five articles contained in this collec-
tion, properly designed and adequately implemented bilingual
education programs are one means to achieve such goals.
As a result of the controversy regarding-the legislation of state
and federal requirements, some educators today erroneously
believe that many parents and community members view bi-
lingual education with disfavor. This is not necessarily the case.
In a recent poll conducted for Newsweek by the Gai kip Organize
tion (March, 1981), 64 percent of the American public approved of
classes conducted In a foreign language as well as In English for
children who do not speak English. Another 14 percent did not
know enough about the value of these classes to make a judg-
ment. Contrary to the statements of a few political opportunists,
uninformed newspaper columnists, and some special interest
group representatives, the public Is generally supportive of
primary language instruction for language minority students,
even though there may not be an awareness of the strong scien-
tific case for such progranis.
The task of educating language minority students Is not sim-
ple. Nevert:' eless, creative and committed educators In coopera-
tion with r onm:ne7; parents and community members have
designed and WO wi,ited educational programs that result in
significantly Improved school performance on the part of such
students. In other words, under certain conditions, language-
related problems are no longer as likely to interfere with the
academic and vocational aspirations of language minority
students and their families. To accomplish this, educators must
rely upon empirical evidence rather than "folk remedies" as a
guide to professional decisions for selecting and Implementing
instructional programs for language minority children. This
publication is meant to be an important contribution toward this
David P. Dotson
Project Team Leader
Office of Bilingual Bicultural Education
James Cummins
The Role of Primary Language Development in Promoting
Educational Success for Language Minority Students
Stephen D. Krashen
Bilingual Education and SecondLanguage Acquisition Theory...
Dorothy Legarreta-Marcaida
Effective Use of the Primary Language in the Classroom
Tracy D. Terrell
The Natural Approach in Bilingual Education
Eleanor W. Thonis
Reading Instruction for Language Minority Students
Bilingual Education Program Quality Review Instrument,
Kindergarten Through Grade Six
Part One
Theoretical Foundations
The Role of Primary Language
IhvelopMent in Promoting Educational
Success for Languagi\Minority Students*
James Cummins
IN ORDER TO ASSESS the role of langtlage minority students'
primary language (LI) development in the acquisition-of English (L2)
academic skills, it is necessary to consider two questions: (1) What is
meant by "language proficiency"? and (2) What are the cross-lingual
dimensions of language proficiency, i.e., how does the development of.
proficiency in LI relate to the development of L2 proficiency? Confusion
concerning the rationale for bilingual education, assessment of bilingual
proficiency, and entry-exit criteria for bilingual programs stems from in-
adequate conceptualization of the nature of language proficiency and its
cross-lingual dimensions.
To account for the research data on bilingual education, it is necessary
to distinguish those aspects of language proficiency involved in the
development of literacy skills from other aspects of language proficien-
cy, and to note that these literacy-related aspects are interdependent
across languages, i.e., manifestations of a common underlying proficien-
cYThis paper is organized into three sections. First, the nature of
language proficiency and its relationship to academic and cognitive
development is considered. In the second section, the origins of current
misconceptions about bilingualism are examined, and a theoretical posi-
tion regarding the nature of bilingual proficiency is formulated in light of
the research data. The third section applies these theoretical positions
regarding the nature of language proficiency and its cross-lingual dimen-
sions to the current debate over the rationale for bilingual education, en-
try and exit criteria, and assessment of bilingual proficiency.
Many people have contributed to the present paper through comments on previous ver-
sions of the theoretical framework which it elaborates. I would like to thank Michael
Cana le, Steve Chetiarek, Lily Wong Fillmore, Fred Genesee, Steve Krashen, John Oiler
Jr., Muriel Saville-Troike, Bernard Spoisky, Merrill Swain, Rudolph 'Troike, and Beaji
Wald for their constructive criticisms. The suggestions of the editorial team for the pre-
sent volume have also been aureately useful and for this I would like to thank David
Dotson, Maria Ortiz, Dennis Parker, and Fred Tempes of the Office of Bilingual-
Bicultural Education, California State Department of Education.
4Sch.lo ling and Language Minority Students:
The Nature of Language Proficien4
How Misconceptions About English Proficiency Create Academic
Deficits is Language Minority Students
The rationale for bilingual education in the United States (United
States.Commission on Civil Rights, 1975), as it is understood by most
policy makers and practitioners, can be stated nfollows:
Lack of English proficiency is the major reason for language
minority students' academic failure. Bilingual education is in-
tended to ensure that students do not fall behind in subject
matter content while-they are learning English, as they would
likely do in an all-English program. However, when students
have become proficient in English, then they can be exited to
an all-English program, since limited English proficiency will
no longer impede their academic progress.
Despite its intuitive appeal, there are serious problems with this ra-
tionale. First, it ignores the sociocultural determinants of minority
students' school failure which, it, will be argued. are more fundamental
than linguistic factors. Second, an inadequate understanding of what is
meant by "English proficiency" is likely to result in the creation of
academic deficits in language minority students.
Some concrete examples will help illustrate how this process operates.
These examples are taken from a Canadian study in which the teacher
referral forms and psychological assessments of over 400 language
minority students were analyzed (Cummins, 1980c). Throughout the
icthers' referral forms and psychologists' assessment reports are
ferences to the fact that children's English communicative skills appear
considerably better devakxd than their academic language skills. The
following examples illustrate this point:
PS (094). Referred for reading and arithmetic difficulties in
second grade, teacher commented that "since PS attended
grade one in Italy, I think his main problem is language,
although he understands and speaks English quite well."
GG (1114). Although he had been in Canada for less than a
year, in November of the grade one year, the teachercom-
mented that "he speaks Italian fluently and English as well."
However, she also referred him for psychologicalassespnent
because "he is having a great dew of difficulty with thegrade
one program" and she wondered if he had "specifk learning
disabilities or if he is just a very long way behind children in
his age group."
DM (105). Arrived from Portugal at age 10 and was placed in
a second grade class; three years later in fifth grade, her
A Theoretical Framework 5
teacher commented that "her oral answering and comprehen-
sion is so much better than her written work that we feel a
severe learning problem is involved, not just her non-English
These examples illustrate the influence of the environment in develop-
ing English communicative skills. In many instances in this study im-
migrant students were considered to have sufficient English proficiency
to take a verbal IQ test within about one year of arrival in Canada.
Similarly, in the United States, language minority students are often con-
sidered to have developed sufficient English proficiency to cope with the
demands of an all-English classroom after a relatively short amount of
time in a bilingual program (in some cases, as little as six months).
There is little doubt that many languaae minority students can develop
a relatively high degree of English communicative skills within about two
years of exposure to English-speaking peers, television, and schooling.
However, in extrapolating from the considerable English proficiency
that language minority students display in face-to-face communication
to their overall proficiency in English, we risk creating academic deficits
in these students.
Consider the following example: .
PR (289). PR was referred in first gra& by the school prin-
cipal who noted that "PR is experiencing considerable dif-
ficulty with grade one work. An intellectual assempent would .
help her teacher to set realistic learning expectations for her
and might provide some clues as to remedial assistance that
might be offered."
No mention was made of the child's ESL background; this only
emerged when the child was referred by the second grade teacher in the
following year. Thus, the psychologist does not consider this as a possi-
ble factor in accounting for the discrepancy between a verbal IQ of 64
and a performance IQ of 108. The assessment report read as follows:
Although overall, ability level appears to be within the low
average range, note the significant difference between verbal
and nonverbal scores....It would appear that PR's develop-
ment has not progressed at a normal rate and consequently
she is, and will continue to experience much difficulty in
school. Teacher's expectations at this time should be set ac-
What is interesting in this example is that the child's English com-
municative skills are presumably sufficiently well developed that the
psychologist (and possibly the teacher) is not alerted to the child's ESL
background. This leads the psychologist to infer from her low verbal 1Q
6Schooling and Language Minority Students:
score that "her development has not progressed at a normal rate'" and to
advise the teacher to set low academic expectations for the child since she
"will continue to experience much difficulty in school." There is ample
evidence from many contexts (Mercer, 1973) of how the attribution of
deficient cognitive skills to language minority students can become self-
Jn many of the referral forms and psychological assessments analyzed
in this study, the following line of reasoning was invoked:
Because language minority istudents are fluent in English,
thebr poor academic performance and/or test scores cannot
be attributed to lack of prolickluy in English. Therefore,
these students must either have defirient cognitive abilities or
be poorly motivated ("tazy,.
The trend to exit students to all- English programs as quickly as poisi-
ble in many' United States bilingual programs inevitably gives rise to a
similar line of reasoning. It is commonly observed that students classified
as "English proficient" after a relatively short stay in a bilingual pro-
gram and then exited to an all-English program often fall progressively
further behind grade norms in the development of English academic
skills. Because these students appear to be fluent in English, their poor
academic performance can no longer be explained by their English
language deficiency. Policymakers and educators are also reluctant to
blame the school for minority students' poor performance because the
school has accommodated the students by providing a bilingual pro-
gram. Once again, the academic deficiency will be attributed to factors
within the child.'
It is frequently assumed that language minority students have become
"English proficient" when they have acquired relatively fluent and peer-
appropriate face-to-face communicative skills. examples cited
above, as well as the research evidence reviewed in the remainder of this
paper, strongly suggest that this misconception operates to impede the
academic progress of language minority students. To understand the
nature of this misconception, it is necessary to consider the question of
what is meant by "English proficiency."
This process is, in wary respe cts. the opposite of the attribution of deficient cognitivear
linguistic ability an the basis of autface structure dialectal differences (Shay, 1977). In
the present situation. the presence of adequate surface structure leads teachers to
eliminate "lack of English proficiency" as an explanatory variable with the result that
low academic performance is attributed to deficient cognitive abilities In language
minority students.
A Theoretical Framework 7
What Is Meant By "English Profichincy"?
There is still little consensus among researchers as to the nature of
"language proficiency" or "communicative competence."a For exam-
ple, a model proposed by Hernandez-Chavez et al. (1978) comprised 64
separate prOriciencie' s, each of which, hypothetically, is independently
measurable. At the other extreme is Oiler's (1978; 1979) claim that
" "...there exists a global language proficiency factor which accounts for
the bulk of the reliable variance in a wide variety of language proficiency
measures" (1978, p. 413). This factor is strongly related to cognitive
abililty and academic achievement measures and is about equally well
measured by certain types of listening, speaking, reading, and writing
tasks.'The communicative competence framework proposed by Canale
(1981), on the basis of the earlier Canale and Swain (1980) theory, adopts
an intermediate position ii distinguishing four components. These are:
1. Grammatical competence: Mastery of the language code (e.g., lex-
ical items and rules of word formation,' sentence formation, literal mean-
ing, pronunciation, and spelling).
2. Sociolinguistic competence: Mastery of appropriate language use in
different sociolinguistic contexts, with emphasis on appropriateness of
meanings and forms.
3. Discourse competence: Mastery of how to combine earrings and
forms to achieve a unified text in different modes (e. ., telephone in-
cluirrguitientative essay, and recipe) by using (a) /lesion devices to
relate utterance forms (e.g., pronouns and trans n words), and (b)
coherence rules to organize meanings (e.g.. repetition progression, con-
sistency, and relevance of ideas).
4. Strategic competence: Mastery of verbal and non-verbal strategies
(a) to compensate for breakdowns in communication due to insufficient
competence or performance limitations (e.g., strategies such as use of
dictionaries, paraphrase, and gestures), and (b) to enhance-communica-
tion effectiveness.
a Although language can be used for purposes not overtly communicative, e.g.:
problem-sabring (Canal! and Swain, 1980), these "analytic" (Bruner, 1975) language
skills develop within a matrix of human interaction; thus, for purposes of this paper,
the terms "language proficiency" and "communicative proficiency" are being
used synonymously.
if should be noted that Oiler (1979) leaves open the possibility that there may be smaller
specific components of language proficiency that are not encompassed by the global pro-
ficiency dimension.
$Schooling and Language Minority Students:
There are two major problems in applying this or any other theoretical
framework for communicative competence to minority students' acquisi-
tion of English proficience.r. First, these theories tend to be static since the
developmental aspects of communi ive competence in LI and 12.are
left vague; second, in general, little nsideration has been given to the
role of specific acquisition contexts in ermining the interrelationships
and development of different aspects or *communicative competence
(howeverp see Canale, 1981). In particular, the nature of the com-
municative demands of schooling (e.g., processing language outside of
one-to-one, face-to-face situations) has not been considered. The
relevance of these problems can be seen by examin* the development of
English proficiency among native English-speaking children.
The Development of English Proficiency in School Contexts. The
development of language proficiency can be considaKin two very dif-
ferent ways. First is the acquisition of what Bruner (197 as termed the
"species minimum" involving the phoncilogical, syntactic, and semantic
skills that most native speakers have acquired by age six (there is little
difference between the phonological competence of a six-year-old anda
fourteen-year-old). Similarly, mastery of basic syntax approaches
maturity by.age six, although the development of more sophisticated
rules and flexibility in grammatical control will continue into early
adolescence (Chomsky, 19:72). Also, semantic categories such as agent,
instrument, and recipient of action are present at a very early age.
However, in contrast to the acquisition of this "species minimum"
competence, other aspects of language proficiency continue to develop
throughout the school years and beyond. Obvious examples are literacy-
related language skills such as reading comprehension, writing ability,
and vocabulaiy/concept knowledge. Within each of the four com-
ponents oP communicative competence distinguished by Canale (1981),
4nativeaspeakers achieve mastery levels in some subskills prior to others.
For example, within grammatical competence virtually all native
speakers master pronunciation before spelling. Similarly, some aspects
of sociolinguistic, discourse, and strategic competence will be mastered
at an early age and others much later, if at all.
However, within a second language context very different relation-
ships may exist among the various subskills, depending upon the specific
acquisition context, e.g.; formal L2 classroom vs. real life exposure, or
pre -schOol immigrant children vs. adolescent immigrant children whose
LI literacy skills are well developed. Also, the relationship of language
proficiency to cognitive and academic variables will vary both between
L I and 12 contexts and also vgithin L2 contexts, dependingupon the con-
A Thcoretital Framework 9
ditions of acquisition. Thus, almost by definition, the "species
minimum" will be attained by all native speakers regardless of academic
or cogitive abilities; however, this will pot necessarily bethe case among
L2 ilearners. For example, prOnuncitftion skills may remain poorly
developed among many older L2 learners. Also,.cognitive and personali:
variables are likely to differentially influence the acquisition of dif-
ferent aspects of Li proficiency in different contexts. As Fillmore (1979)
suggests, personality variables (e. g., sociability) may be most influential
in determining the acquisition rate 'of L2 face-to-face conuiunication
skills in it peer interaction situation; however, cognitive skills in a peer in-
teraction situation; however, cognitive skills may be more involved in
determining the acquisition rate of L2 literacy skills in a classroom con-
text.\ In short, current theories of communicativecompetence are not par-
ticularly helpful in elucidating issues related to the development of
English proficiency by language minority students. This is because these
theories (1) fail to incorporate a developmental perspective; (2) fail to
consider the development of communicative comietepce explicitly in
relation to specific contexts, in particular the school c6ntext; and (3) fail
to examine the developmental relationships between t I and L2. In other
words, the usefulness of most current theories is limited because they
either exist in a developmental and contextual vacuum or else have been
proposed in a very different context from that of bilingual education in
the United States.
The necessity for consickirinkilre question of what constitutes
language proficiency in school contexts from a developmental perspec-
tive is highlighted by a recent study which shows that immigrant students
arriving lifter age six take between six and seven years to approach grade
norms in English academic skills (Cummins, 1981). Results-ofthis study,
conducted among 1,210 immigrant students in the Toronto Board of
Education, are shown in Figure I. The Picture Vocabulary Text (PVT)
consisted of a group-administered vocabulary test, and results were
broken down by Age on Arrival (AOA) and Length of Residence (LOR).
Clearly, it takes considerably longer for immigrant students to develop
age-appropriate academic skills in English (five-sevenyeari LOR) than it
does to develop certain aspects of age-appropriate English com-
municative skills (approximately two years). Thereason is pot difficult to
see. Literacy-related language skills (such as vocabulary range) continue
to develop among native speakers throughout the school years, +whereas
some salient aspects of face-to-face communicative skills reach a plateau
by about age six. Clearly, many other aspects of face-to-face com-
10 Schooling and Language Minority Students;
Figure 'I
AOA 0-1 11:9 10-11 12-13 1415
municative skills continue to develop throughout the school years; but
the data considered above suggest that these are not particularly salient
for teacher's and psychologists.
In a previous section, it was pointed out that failure to distinguish
these two dimensions of English proficiency can result in educational
deficits for language minority students. At this point, it may be helpful
to describe this distinction More completely and place it into a broader
theoretical framework so that it can be used to examine the developmen-
tal relationships between LI and L2 proficiency within bilingual educa-
tion programs.
A Theoretical Framework 11
A Theoretical Framework4
To recapitulate, three minimal requirements for a theoretical
framework of communicative proficiency relevant to bilingual education
in the United States have been outline* First, such a framework must in-
corporate a developmental' perspective so that those aspects of com-
municative proficiency mastered early by native speakers and 12 learners
can be distinguished from those varying across individuals as develop-
ment progresses; second, the framework must permit differences
between the linguistic demands of school and those'of interpersonal con-
texts outside the school to be described; and third, the framework must
allow for the developmental relationships between LI and L2 proficiency
to be described.
The framework developed in response to these requirements i
presented in Figure 2. The framework proposes that in the context of
United States bilingual education, communicative proficiency can be
conceptualized along two continuums. A continuum related to the range
of contextual support available for expressing or receiving meaning is
described in terms of "context-embedded" versus "context-reduced"
communication. The extremes of this continuumare distinguished by the
fact that in context-embedded communication the participants can ac-
tively negotiate meaning (e.g., by providing feedback that the message
has not been understood) said the language is supported by a wide range
of meaningful paralinguistic (gestures, intonation, etc.) anchituational
cues; context-reduced communication, on the other hand, relies primari-
ly (or at the extreme of the continuum, exclusively) on linguistic cues to
meaning and may, in some cases, involve suspending knowledge of the
"real" world in order to interpret (or manipulate) the logic of communi-
cation appropriately.°
In general, context-embedded communication derives from interper-
sonal involveMent in a shared reality that reduces the need for explicit
linguistic elaboration of the message. Context-reduced communication,
on the other hand, derives from the fact that this shared realitycannot be
assumed and. thus linguistic messages must be elaborated precisely and
explicitly so thit the risk of misinterpretation is minimized. It is impor-
°This theoretical framework should be viewed wilt, in a socialcontext. The li.%iiguast profi-
ciencies described develop as a result of various types of communicative interactions in
home and school. The nature of these interactions is, in turn, determined by broader
societal factors. as described later in this paper.
The term "context-reduced" is used rather than "disembedded" (Donaldson. 1978) or
"decontextualizecl" because there is a large variety of contextualcues available to carry
out tasks even at the context-reduced end of the continuum. The difference, however, is
that these cues are exclusively him:is:iv in nature.
12 Schooling and Language Minority Students:
Figure 2
tam to emphasize that this is a continuum and not a dichotomy. Thus,
examples of communicative behaviors going from left to right along the
continuum might be: engaging in a discussion, writing a letter to a close
friend, and writing (or reading) an academic article. Clearly, context-
embedded communication is more typical of the everyday world outside
the classroom, whereas many of the linguistic demands of the classroom
reflect communication that is closer to the context-reduced end of the
continuum. Recent research, reviewed by Tannen1(1980), suggests that
part of minority students' failure in mainstream classrooms may derive
from application of context- embedded strategies in the school setting
where context-reduced strategies (e.g., responding in terms of the logic
of the text rather than in terms of prior knowledge) are expected and
The vertical continuum is intended to address the developmental
aspects of communicative competence in terms of the degree of active
cognitive involvement in the task or activity. Cognitive involvement can
be conceptualized in terms of the amount of information that must b?.
A Theoretical Framework 13
processed simultaneously or in close succession by the individual in order
to carry out the activity. .
How does this continuum incorporate a developmental perspective? If
we return to the four components of communicative competence (gram-
matical, sociolinguistic, discourse, and strategic) discussed by Canale
(1981), it is clear that within each one some subskills are mastered more
rapidly than others. In other words, some subskills (e.g., pronunciation
and syntax within LI grammatical competence).reach plateau levels at
which there are no longer significant differences in mastery between in-
dividuals (at least in context-embedded situations). Oder subskills con-
tinue to develop throughout the school years and beyond, depending ,
upon the individual's communicative needs. .
Thus, the upper parts of the vertical continuum consist of com-
municative tasks and activities in which the linguistic tools have become
largely automatized (mastered) and thus require little active cognitive in-
volvement for appropriate, performance. At the lower end 4 the con-
tinuum are tasks and activities in which the communicative tools have
not bicome automatized and thus require active cognitive Involvement.
Persuading other individuals that your point of view rather than theirs is
correct, or rriting an essay on a complex theme, are examples of such ac-
tivities. In these situations, it is necessary to stretch one's linguistic
resources (i.e., grammatical, sociolinguistic, discourse, and strategic
competencies) to the limit itrorder to achieve one's communicative goals.
Obviously, cognitive Involvement can be just as intense in context-
einbedded as in context-reduced activities.
AF masted, is developed, specific linguistic tasks and skills travel from
the bottom towards the top of the vertical continuum. In other words,
there tends to be a high level o( cognitive involvement in task or activity
performance until mastery has been achieVed or, alternatively, until a.
plateau level at less than mastery levels has been reached (e.g., L2 pro-
nunciation in many adult immigrants). Thus, learning Ifie phonology
and syntax of LI, for example, requires considerable cognitive involve-
ment for the two- and three-year-old child, and thus these tasks would be
placed in quadrant B (context-embedded, cognitively demanding).
However, as mastery of these .skills develops, tasks inviolving them would
move from quadrant B to quadrant A, since performance becomes
I gereiler and Seard,ainalia (M)) 4nt out that as children learn to write, the progressive
automatization of lower level skills (e.g., handwriting, spelling ofcommon wards, pu -
tuation, common syntactic forms, etc.) releases increasingly more mental capacity
higher level planning of large chunks of discourse. To illustrate what writing must be ke
for a young child, they suggest trying to dosome original writing with the wrong hand. It
is likely to be difficult to think much beyond the ward being written.
Schooling and Language Minority Students:
increasingly imtontatizel---and cognitively demanding. In a second
language context, the same type of developmental progression occurs. As
specific linguistic tasks and skills are mastered in L2, they move up the
vertical continuum.'
Literacy Development and Communicative Proficiency. Clearly,
within this theoretical framework, literacy is viewed as one aspect of
communicative proficiency. Although there are inherent characteristics
of literacy tasks that place them towards the context-reduced end of the
horizontal continuum, most theorists would agree that the more reading
and writing instruction can be embedded in a meaningful communicative
context (i.e., related to children's previous experience4 the more suc-
cessful it is likely to be. As the papers (this volume) by Krashen (1981)
and Terrell (1981) emphasize, the same principle holds for second
language instruction. The more context-embedded the initial L2 input,
the more comprehensible it will be and, paradoxically, the more suc-
cessful in ultimately developing 12 skills in context-reduced situations.
Thus, a major pedagogical principle for both LI and L2 teaching is that
language skills in context-reduced situations can be most successfully
developed on the basis of initial instruction which maximizes the degree
of context-embeddedness.
In terms of the vertical continuum, developmental relationships be-
tween cognitive ability and reading performance can be readily inter-
preted. Singer (19/7) reviews data that show a change between grades 1
*An of this theoretical framework for theories of communicative competence
is that there is likely to be different relationships among language tasks in a first
istallusae, compared to a second language cornett. This is because 12 learners are likely
to have lower levels of certain L2 skills as compared to native speakers. In other words,
tasks located close to the top of the vertical continuum for native speakers may be dose
to the bottom for 12 her s. Also, acquisition contexts may vary between 1.2 learners
and native 'peaky.,,. For example, skills acquired in context-embedded situations by
native speakers may have been learned in context-reduced situations (e.g., formal
classrooms) by L.2 learners. This would also result in variable relationship among
language skills between native speakers and L2 learners. Thus, an important
characteristic of the theoretical framework is that although communicative tasks and ac-
tivities can be mapped onto it in a general way (e.g., inherent test charactedstics make
reading and writing less context-embedded than facr-to-face communication), the exact
location of any particular task on the horizontal and vertical continuums will depend on
the individual's or group's proficiency Ind and acquisition context. Thus, for inunigrant
students in the host country for two years, acathmic tasks in 12 are likely to be more
cognitively demanding and context-reduced than for native speakers.
Space does not permit the question of individual differing= in learning styles among L2
learners to be discussed in detail. However, within the present framework, learning style
can be regarded as the way in which Individual learners define the degree of cognitive in-
volvement and context -em beckhedners of particular tasks. Thus, at least three factors
must be taken into account in .)eating any particular task in relation to the two con-
tinuums: (1) the task's inherent characteristics, (2) the learner's general level of proficien-
cy. and (3) the learner's individual learning style.
A Theoretical Framework 15
and 5 in the amount of common variance between IQ and reading
achievement from 16 to 64 percent (correlations of .40 to .79). He inter-
prets this in terms of the nature of the component skills stressed in
reading instruction at different grade levels.
As reading achievement shifts from predominant em-
phasis on word recognition to stress on word meaning
and comprehension, the mental functions being assessed
by intelligence and reading tests have more in common.
(Singer, 1977, p. 48)
As development progresses, word meaning and reasoning-in-reading
(e.g., inferring and predicting text meaning) rather than word decoding
skills account for the variance between good and poor readers. In terms
of the present framework, word meaning and reasoning-in-reading skills
remain in the lower end of the vertical continuum (i.e., variance between
individuals in these skills remains large), whereas word recognition skills
tend to climb towards the upper end of the continuum as development
progresses. In other words, as fluency in reading is acquired, word
recognition skills are first automatized and then totally short-circuited,
since the proficient reader does not read individual words butengages in
a process of sampling from the text to confirm predictions (Smith, 1978).
Relevance of the Theoretical Framework to the Achievement of
Language Minority Students. A major aim of literacy instruction in
schools is to develop students' abilities to manipulate and interpret
context-reduced cognitively demanding texts (quadrant 1)). One reason
why language minority students have often failed to develop
high levels of academic skills is because their initial instruction has em-
phasized context-reduced communication, since instruction has been
through English and unrelated to their prior out-of-school experiences.
Attempts to teach English through context-reduced audiolingually-based
ESL may very well have been counter-productive in some respects
(Legarreta. 1979).
However, another contributing factor to minority students' academic
failure, and one which is still operating even in the context of bilingual
programs, is that many educators have a very confused notion of what it
means to be proficient in English. Ifianguage minority students manifest
proficiencies in some context-embedded aspects of English (quadrant A),
they are often regarded as having sufficient English proficiency both to
follow a regular English curriculum and to take psychological and educa-
tional tests in English. What is not realized by many educators is that
*Clearly. the relationships between IQ and early reading achirvement may vary as a funs -
Lion of the instructional approach.
16 Schooling and Language Minority Students:
because of language minority students' ESL background, the regular
English curriculum and psychological assessment procedures are con-
bly more context-reduced and cognitively demanding than they are
fEnglish-background students. As was pointed out earlier, research
suggest that it takes much longer for language minority students
o approach commonly accepted age /grade norms in context-reduced
Aspects of English proficiency (five to seven years on the average) than it
in context-embedded aspects (approximately two years on the
Hypothetical curves representing these data are presented in
Fire 3
----- Native English-Speakers
ESL Learners
Context-Embedded Face-tu-Facc
Communicative Proficiency Context-Reduced (Academic)
Communicative Proficiency
'Native-speakers also, of course, take much longer to levelop proficiency in processing
language in context-reduced situations.
A Theoretical Framework 17
In summary, I have tried to show how certain misconceptions re-
garding the notion of language proficiency are currently contributing to
thevacadank failure of language minority students, To more adFquately
address the issue of the acquisition of English proficiency in bilingual
programs, a theoretical framework has been developed in which two con-
tinuums are distinguished. One deals with the range of contextual
supports for the communicative activity while the other is concerned with
the degree of active cognitive involiement in the activity. Literate
cultures typically require their members to become proficient in com-
municative activities which are context-reduced and cognitively damn-
ding (e.g., reading and writing). There tends to be large individual dif-
lemon both within and between socio-economic groups in the extent to
which this dimension of communicative proficiency is developed. ur in
thevemainder of this paper, the dimension of language which is strongly
related to literacy skills will be termed "context-reduced language profi-
In the next section, several theoretical distinctions similar to those
developed in the present framework are briefly discussed, in order to
further elaborate the characteristics of context-reduced language
Related Theoretical Frameworks
Several theorists interested primarily in the development of first
language academic skills have similarly argued f6r the necessity to
distinguish between the processing of language in informal everyday in-
terpersonal situations and the language processing required in most
academic situations (Denim' and Scardamalia, 1981; Donaldson, 1978;
Olson, 1977). In concrete terms, it is argued that reading a difficult text
or writing an essay make fundamentally different information processing
"1 Wells (1979), in a ten-year longitudinal study, has hie:Wiled two broad types of home
communicative activities that strongly predict the acquisition of reading skills in school.
One is the extent to which there is "negotiation of mousing" (i.e., quality and qualidty
of communication) between aulults and children, the other is the extent to which literacy-
Mated activities are promoted in the home, ca., reading to children). There is no clear-
cut relationship between ado-econousie status (SES) and the former, but a strong rela-
tionship between SES and the latter.
"In previous articles I have contrasted cognftivs/ academic language proficiency (CALP)
with basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) in order to make the same point;
namely, academic deficits are often created by teachens and psychWogists who fail to
realize that it takes language minority students considers* longer to attain grade/age-
appropriate levels in English academic skills than it does in English face-to-face com-
municative skills. However, because this distinction was not explicitly integrated Into a
more general theoretical framework, niisinterproation occurred. Hence, the attempt to
define such a framework in this paper.
1 I Schooling and Language Minority Students:
den: n the individual compared to engaging in a casual conversa-
tion h a friend.
Em ,and Disembedded Thought and Language. Donaldson
(1978) distinguishes between embedded and disembedded thought and
'language from a developmental perspective and is especially concerned
with the implications for children's adjustment to formal schooling. She
points out that young children's early thought processes and use of
language develop within a "flow of meaningful context" in which the
logic of words is subjugated to perception of the speaker's intentions and
salient features of the situation. Thus, children's (and adults') normal
productive speech is embedded within a context of fairly immediate
goals, intentions, and familiar patterns of events. However, thinking and
language, which move beyond the. bounds of meaningful inter-
personal context, make entirely different demands on the individual in
that it is necessary to focus on the linguistic forms themselves for mean-
ing rather than on the intentions.
Donaldson (1978) offers a re-interpretation of Piaget's theory of
cognitive development from this perspective and reviews a large body of
research that supports the distinction between embedded and disembed-
ded thought and language. Her description of pre-school children's com-
prehension and production of language in embedded contexts is especial-
ly relevant to current practices in language proficiency assessment in
bilingual programs. She points out that:
...the ease with which preschool children often seem to
understand what is said to them is misleading if we take it as
an indication of skill with language per se. Certainly they
commonly understand us, but surely it is not our words alone
that they are understandingfor they may be shown to be
relying heavily on cues of other kinds. (Donaldson.
1978, p. 72)
Donaldson goes on to argue that children's facility in producing
language that is meaningful and appropriate in interpersonal contexts
can also give a misleading impression of overall language proficiency:
When you produce language, you are in control: you need on-
ly talk about what you choose to talk about-Jae child) is
never required, when he is himself producing language, to go
counter to his own preferred reading of the situationto the
way in which he himself spontaneously sees it. But this is no
longer necessarily true when he becomes the listener. And it is
frequently not true when he is the listener in the formal situa-
tion of a psychological experiment or' indeed when he
becomes a learner at school. (1978, pp. 73-74)
A Theoretical Framework 19
The practical implications of this view will be discussed in 'the context of
current assessment practices in bilingual education.
Utterance and Ten. Olson's (1177) distinction between "utterance"
and "text" relates to whether meaning is largely extrinsic to language
(utterance) or intrinsic to language (text). In interpersonal oral situa-
tions, the listener has access to a wide range of contextual and para-
linguistic Information with which to interpret the speaker's intentions;
and, in this sense, the meaning is only partially dependent upon the
specific linguistic forms used by the speaker. However, in contrast to ut-
terance, written text: an autonomous representation of meaning. Ideally, the
printed reader depends on no cues other than linguisticcues;
it represents no intentions other than those represented in the
text; it is addressed to no one in particular; its author is essen-
tial& anonymous; and its meaning is pecisely that
represented by the sentence meaning. (Olson, 1977, p. 276)
Olson explicitly differentiates the t of the ability to process
text from the development of the tongue (utterance) in the pre-
school years:
But language development is no simply a matter of pro-
gressively elaborating the oral mother tonguias a means of
sharing intentions. The developmental hypothesis offered
here is that the ability to assn a meaning to the sentence per
se, independent of its nonlinguistic interpretive context, is
aarkved only well into the schoolyears. (Olson, 1977, p. 275)
Conversation and Composition. Bereiter and Scardamalia (1981) have
analyzed the problems of learning to write as problems of converting a
language production system geared to conversation over to a language
production system.capable of functioning by itself. Their studies suggest
that some major difficulties involved in thisprocess are the following: (1)
learning to continue producing language without prompting from con-
versational partners; (2) learning to search one's own memory instead of
having memories triggered by what other people say; (") planning large
units of discourse instead of only what will be said next; and (4) learning
to function as both sender and receiver, the latter function being
necessary for revision.
Bereiter and Scardamtdia (1980) argue that the absence of normalcon-
versational supports makes writing a radically different kind of task
from conversation.
We are proposing instead that the oral language production
system cannot be carried over intact into written composition,
that it must, in some way, be reconstructed to function
autonomously in -,toad of interactively. (p. 3)
20 Schooling and Language Minority Students:
Although the distinctions between "embedded-disembedded,"
"utterance-text," and "conversation- composition" were developed in-
dependently and in relation to a different set of data, they share the
essential characteristics of the distinctions outlined in the present
theoretical framework. The major difference is that the failure of other
frameworks to distinguish explicitly between the cognitive and contex-
tual aspects of communicative activities might incorrectly suggest that
context-reduced communication (literate tradition) is *Pinsk& ly more
cognitively demanding than 'context-embedded communication (oral
Having described in some detail the nature of the academic tasks
students encounter in school, it is now possible to discuss the develop-
ment of bilingual proficiency among language minority students within
this context. The Nature of Bilingual Proficiency
The Myth of Di lingual Handicaps
The image of bilingualism as a negative force in children's develop-
ment was especially common in the early part of this century when most
teachers of language minority children saw bilingualism almost as a
disease that not only caused confusion in children's thinking but also
prevented them from becoming "good Americans." Therefore, they felt
that a pre-conditior for teaching children the school language was the
eradication of their bilingualism. Thus, children were often punished for
speaking their first language in school and were made to feel ashamed of
their own language and cultural background. It is not surprising that
research studies conducted during this period (Darcy, 1953) often found
that bilingual children did poorly at school, many experiencing emo-
tional conflicts. Children were made to feel that it was necessary to reject
the home culture in order to belong to the majority culture, often ending
up unable to identify fully with either cultural group.
However, rather than considering the possibility that the school's
treatment of minority children might be a cause of their failure, teachers,
researchers, and administrators seized on the obvious scapegoat and
blamed the children's bilingualism. The research findings were inter-
preted to mean that there is only so much space or capacity available in
our brains for language; therefore, if we divide that space between two
languages, neither language will develop properly and intellectual confu-
sion will result (Jensen, 1%2). Table 1 outlines the interplay between
socio-political and psycho-educational considerations in establishing the
mIth of bilingual handicaps and the role of "scientific studies" in
perpetuating it.
A Theoretical Framework 21
The soda- political and psyche-educational assumptions illustrated in
Table 1 are very much in evidence in the education
debate. The popular press frequently warnsthlifiltealducation will
lead to social fragmentation and Quebec-style separatist movements.
This fear of bilingual education is often rationalized in psycho-
educational terms; namely, that if minority children are deficient in
English, then they need instruction in English, not in their first language.
Table 1
A. Overt aim
Teach English to
minority children
in order to create a
harmonious society
with equal oppor-
tunity for all.
Cotten aim I D.
Anglicize minority
children because
linguistic and cal-
tural diversity are
seen as a threat to
social cohesion.
Even more intense
efforts by the
school to eradicate
the deficiencies in.
Went in minority
Tice failure of these
efforts only serves
to reinforce the
myth of minority
group deficiencies.
B. Method
Prohibit use of LI in
schools and make
children reject their
own adture and
lassguage in order to
identify with major-
ity English Pout).
ifiAtialtiOlf C. Results
1. Lt shooki be III. Shame in LI
eradicated because language and
it will Interfere
with the learning
of English.
2. Identification
with Ll culture will
reduce child% abil-
ity to identify with
English- speaking
2. Replacement of
LI by 1.2.
3. School failure
among many
I. Bilingualism
causes confusion
in thinking. ento-
donal insecurity.
and school
2. Minority group
children are
"culturally de-
by definition
since they are not
3. Some minority
language groups
are genetically in
Fedor (common
theory in the
United States in
the I920s and
"This table reflects the assumptions of North American school systems in the first half of
this century. However, similar assumptions have been made about minority language
children in the school systems of many other countries.
22 Schooling and Language Minority Students;
Consider, for example, the view expressed by Bothell (1979):
Bilingual education IS an idea that appeals to teachers of
Vanish and other tongues, but also to those who never did
think that another idea, the United States of America, was a
particularly good one to begin with, and that the sooner it is
restored to its compownt "ethnic" parts the better off we
shall all be. Such people have been welcomed withopen arms
into the upper mocha of the federal government In recent
years, giving rise t* the suspicion of a death wish. (p. 30)
The psycho-educational argumentiramars later when Bethel (1979)
approvingly quotes Congressman John' Ashbrook's opposition to bi-
lingual education:
The program is actually preventing children from learning
English. Someday somebody is going to have to teach those
young people to speak English or else they are going to
become public charges. Our educational system is findingit
increasingly difficult today to teachinglish-veaking children
to read their own language. When. children come out of the
Spanish- hanguage schools or Choctaw- language schools
which call- themselves bilingual, how is our educational
system going to make them literate in what will still be a com-
pktely alien tongue...? (pp. 32-33)
The argument that' defieiencies in English should be remediated by in-
tensive instruction in English appears at first sight muchmore intuitively
appealing, than the alternative argument that instruction in LI will be
more effective than instruction in English in promoting English skills.
This latter argument appears to invoke a "less equals more" type of logic
that is unlikely to convince skeptics. In order to evaluate these alternative
positions, it is necessary to make their propositions more explicit and
make empirical evidence rather than "common sense" the criterion of
validity. The issues revolve around two alternative conception% of bi-
lingual proficiency, termed the Separate Underlying Proficiency (SUP)
and Common Underlying Proficiency (CUP) models.
The SUP and CUP Models of ileingnal Proficiency
The argument that if minority children are deficient in English, then
they need instruction in English, not in their Li, implies: (a) that profi-
ciency in L I is separate from proficiency in English, and (t) that there is
a dirett relationship between exposure to a language (in home or school)
and achievement in that language. The SUP model is illustrated in Figure
35 fr
A Theoretical Framework 23
Flame 4
0. The second implicatjon of the SUP model follows from the first, that
if LI and L2 proficiency are separate, then content and skills learned
through LI cannot transfer to L2 and vice versa. In terms of the balloon
metaphor illustrated in Figure 4, blowing into the LI balloon will succeed
in inflating LI but not L2. When bilingual education is approached with
these "common-sense" assumptions about bilingual proficiency, it is not
at all surprising that it appears illogical to argue that one can better in-
flate the L2 balloon by blowing into the LI balloon.
However, despite its intuitive appeal, there is not one shred of evidence
to support the SUP model."' In order to account for the evidence re-
viewed, we must posit a CUP model in which the literacy-related aspects
la Macnantara (1970) points out that a strict interpretation of a SUP model would leave the
bilingual in a curious predicament in that "...he would have great diffk-uhy in 'com-
municating' with himself. Whenever he switched languages he would have difficulty in
explaining in L2 what he had heard or said in LI" (pp. 25-26). It is not surprising that
the SUP model is not seriously proposed by any researcher. Nevertheless, it is important
to examine 'the research evidence in relation to this model, since many educators and
policy-makers espouse positions in regard to bilingual education which derive directly
from this Implicit model.
24 Schooling and Language ivlinoiity Students:
of a bilingual's proficiency in LI and L2 are seen as common or in-
terdependent across languages. Two ways of illustrating the CUP model
(the Interdependence Hypothesis) are shown in Figures 5 and 6.
Figure 5
Common Underlying
LIChannel 12
Figure 6
Surface Features Surface Features
of I I of L2
Common Underlying
A Theoretical Framework 25
Figure S expresses the point that experience with either language
can promote development of the proficiency underlying both
languages, given adequate motivation and exposure to both
either in school or in the wider environment. In Figure 6 bilingual profi-
ciency is represented by means of a "dual iceberg" in which common
cross-lingual proficiencies underlie the obviously different surface
manifestations of each language. In genval the surface features of LI
and L2 are those that have become rklatively automatized or less
cognitively demanding whereas the underlying proficiency is that in-
yolved in cognitively demanding communicative tasks."
There are five major sources of evidence for the CUP model: (I)
results of bilingual education programs, (2) studies relating age on arrival
and immigrant students' L2 acquisition, (3) studies relating bilingual
language use in the home to academic achievenient, (4) studies of the
relationship between LI and 1.2 prtifidency, and (5) experimental studies
of bilingual information processing. The first three sources will be con-
sidered in more detail than the latter two because of their direct relevance
to current concerns of bilingual educators in the United States'.
Evaluations of Ilignsuid Progranis
Although there is a widespread perception that bilingual educa-
tion has yet to its effectiveness (Trombley, 1980), findings of the
available, ntrolled research are strongly supportive of the basic
principle underlying bilingual education, i.e., the CUP model of bi -
lingual proficiency. For example, Troike (19711) reviewed 12 evaluations
and several research studies in which bilingual instruction was found to
be more effective than English-only instruction in promoting English
academic skills. Two of these evaluations are outlined here as well as
several other evaluations in the United States and elsewhere that clearly
relute the SUP model.
Rock Point Navajo Study. Before the bilingual program was started
in 1971, Children were two years behind United States norms in
"The data used to support the CUP model primarily involve "commit-reduced language
proficiency" because the model Is developed explicitly in retainer to the development of
bilingual academic skills. It is probable, however, that many aspects of "context-
embedded language proficiency" may also be interdependentacross languages. As far as
context-reduced language proficiency Is concerned, the transfemiellltY ACratelangualles
of the proficiencies Involved fe reads* (e4. inferring and predicting meaning based on
sanspling from the test) sad inking (e.g. planning lane chunks of &mune) b obvienni.
However, even where the task &meads are langssage specific fr. g., decoding or
sprains), a strong reiftionddp may be obtained between skills fa LI and 1.2 as a result of
a mcwe meridiem! proftchincy (and motivation) to handle coenitively demanding
content-reduced language task& Similarly, on the camext-engsedded side, many sacks-
linguistic rules of face -to -face commualcatkin are language-specific, but I. I and Li
sockginerlisdc skills may be related as a result of a possible gem:razed sensitivity to
sociolinguistic.rules of discoune.
26 Schooling and Language Minority Students:
English reading by the end of sixth grade despite intensive teaching of
English as a second language. The bilingual program used Navajo
as the major initial medium of instruction and continued its use
throughout elementary school. English reading instruction was delayed
until Navajo reading skills were well established (mid-second grade). By
the end of the sixth grade, children in the bilingual program
were performing slightly above United States grad norms in English
readiitg despite considerably less exposure to English than previously
(Rosier and Fertile, 1976).
Santa Fe Bilingual Program. In the schools involved in this program,
Spanish was used for between 30 and 30 percent of the school day
throughout elementary school. It was found that children enrolled in the
bilingual program consistently performed significantly better than the
control group (in an English-only program) in both reading and
mathematics. Children enrolled continuously in the bilingual program
from second grade caught up with United States norms in English
reading by fifth grade and stayed close in sixth grade. In math this group
surpassed the national average in fourth grille and maintained an equal
or superior status through sixth grade (Leyba, 1978).
Legarreta Study: Direct ESL-Bilingual Comparison. 4 study carried
out by Legarreta (1979) in California compared the effectiveness of three
types of bilingual treatments with two types of English-only treatments
in facilitating the development of English communicative competence in
Spanish,background kindergarten children. The three bilingual
treatments were found to be significantly superior to the two English-
only treatments in developing English language skills. The most effective
program was one with balanced bilingual usage (50 percent English, 50
percent Spanish).
Nestor School Bilingual Program Evaluation. The Nestor program in
San Diego involved both Spanish- and English-background students and
used a team teaching approach in which instruction in the early grades
was pridierily through the children's LI ,The proportion of instruction in
Limas gradually increased until, by fourth grade, approximately 50per-
cent of instruction was through each language. The evaluation of the
program (Evaluation Associates, 1978) showed that Spanish-background
students gained an additional .36 of a year's growth in English reading
for each successive year they spent in the bilingual program. Spanish-
background students who had spent five years or more in the bilingual
program at the elementary level tended to perform slightly better in
English reading.than the school average at the junior high school level,
despite the fact that at least 37 percent of the comparison group were
originally native English speakers. In mathematics, the sixth grade
A Theoretical Framework 27
Spanish-background children in the program were over a year ahead of
the Spanish speakers in the comparison district and only one month
behind grade level. The English-background participants in the Nagor
bilingual program performed at a higher levee than the comparison
groups on a large majority of measures; however, this may be due to a
selection bias.
The Colorado Bilingual PWg,umr Evaluation. Egan and Goldsmith
(1981) and Egan (1981) report on the "overwhelming success" of bi-
lingual programs in Colorado for both language minority and Anglo
students. Over 90 percent of the 39 programs for which data were
available reported that "limited-English-proficient" students showed a
rate of academic progress at least as good as that normally expected for
all students. More surprising, however, was the fact that 50 percent of
the programs showed growth rates in English academic skills for
language minority students well beyond the normal expected growth
rates for all students. These results are especially significant in view of
previous research in Colorado (Egan and Goldsmith, 1981) showing that
411ispanic students tended to fall progressively further behind grade
norms during the elementary school years.
Sodertatie Program for Finnish Immigrant Children in Sweden. The
findings of this evaluation are very similar to those of the Rock Point
Navajo evaluation. Finnish children in Swedish-only prognuni were
afbund to perform worse in Finnish than 90 percent of equivalent socio-
economic status Finnish children in Finland and worse in Swedish than
about 90 percent of Swedish children (Skutnabb-Kangasand Toukomaa,
1976). The Sodertalje prokram, however, used Finnish as the major in-
itial language of instruction and continued its use throughout dealt:Mary
school. Swedish became the major language of instruction from third
grade. By sixth grade, children's performances in this program in both
Finnish and Swedish were almost at the same level as that of Swedish-
speaking children in Finland, a considerable improvement in both
languages compared to peir performances in Swedish-only programs
(Hanson, 1979).
Manitoba-Francophone Study. A large-scale study carried out by
Hebert et al. (1976) alhong third, sixth. and ninth grades, in. which
minority fmncophorte students in Manitoba °were receiving varying
mounts of instruction through the medium of French, found that
the amount of French-medium instruction showed no relationship to
children's achievement in English. In other words, francophonetstudents
receiving 80 percent instruction in French and 20 percent instruction in
English did just as well in English as students receiving 80 percent in-
struction in English and 20 percent instruction in French. However,
4 0
28 Schooling and Language Minority Students;
amount of instruction in French was positively related to achievement in
French. In other words, students' French benefited at no cost to their
progress in English.
Edmonton Ukrainian-English Bilingual Program. This program has
existed in eight Edmonton elementary schools since 1972 and is financial-
ly supported by the Alberta government. In 1978-1979 there were 697
students enrolled between kindergarten and fifth grades. Ukrainian is
used as a medium of instruction for 50 percent of the regular school day
throughout elementary school. Only about 15 percent of the students are
fluent in Ukrainian on entry to the program. A study carried out with
first and third grade students (Cummins and Mulcahy, 1978) found that
students who were relatively fluent in Ukrainian as a result of parents
using it consistently in the home were significantly better able to detect
ambiguities in English sentence structure than either equivalent mono-
lingual English-speaking children not in the program or children in the
program who came from predominantly English-speaking homes. The
evaluations of the program have shown no detrimental effects on the
development of children's English or other acackmic skills. In fact, by
the end of fifth grade children in the program had pulled ahead of the
comparison group in English reading comprehension skills (Edmonton
Public School Board, 1979).
In summary, the results of research on bilingual pro:warns show that
minority children's LI can be promoted in school at no cost to the
development of proficiency in the majority language. b other words, the
educational argument against bilingual education Is invalid; in order to
explain the findings, it is necessary to posit a common proficiency dimen-
sion that underlies the development of academic skills in both languages.
The data clearly show that well- implemented bilingual programs have
had remarkable success in developing English academic skills and hive
proved superior to ESL-only programs in situations where direct com-
parisons have been carried out.
How do we reconcile the success of L1- medium programs for minority
children with the fact that majority language children fare very well
acaclanica4 in French or Spanish immersion programs (Cummins,
1979b; Swain, 1978)7" There are many differences between these
situations, e.g., prestige of Ll, security of children's identity and self-
concept, and level of support for LI development in home and environ-
"A French immersion . program involves teaching students from English home
backgrounds through the medium of French for a major part of the school day from
kindergarten through high school. The goal is bilingualism in French and English. These
programs are now extremely commix' in Canada_ and evaluations show that students
gain high levelsof French proficiency at no cost to proficiency in English (Swain, 19711).
A Theoretical Framework 29
ment. Thus, it is not surprising that different forms of educational pro-
grams should be appropriate for children with very different background
characteristics. The apparent contradiction between findings in minority
and majority contexts completely disappears when we stop thinking in
terms of "linguistic mismatch" or "home-school language switch." In
immersion programs for majority language children, as well as in bi-
lingual programs for minority children, instructionthrough the minority
language has been effective in promoting proficiency in both languages.
These findings, which have been replicated in an enormous number of
studies, support the following "Interdependence" Hypothesis: To the
event that instruction in Lx is effective in promoting proficiency in Lx,
trumfer of this proficiency to Ly will occur provided there is adequate
exposure to Ly (either in school or environment) and adequate Milli %I-
lion to learn Ly. In other words, far from beingcontradictory, th. -ante
theoretical principle, the CUP model, underlies immersion programs for
majority language students as well as bilingual programs for language
minority students.
Age on Arrival and L2 Acquisition
It would be predicted on the basis of the Interdependence Hypothesis
that older learners who are more cognitively mature and whose LI profi-
ciency is better developed would acquire cognitively demanding aspects
of L2 proficiency more rapidly than younpr learners. Recent reviews of
research on the age issue confirm this prediction (Cummins. !Ma;
Cummins, 1981; Ekstrand, 1977; Genesee, 1978; ICrashen et al., 1979).
The only area where research suggests older learnersmay not have an ad-
vantage is pronunciation, witichl, significantly, appears to be one of the
least cognitively demanding aspects of both Li and L2 proficiency. In
terms of the model presented in Figure 3, we would expect the advantage
of older learners to be especially apparent in context-reduced aspects of
9L2 proficiency because of theirgreater amount of experience in process-
ing context-reduced aspects of Lt.
The extent of the advantage older learners have in acquiring context-
reduced cognitively demanding aspects of L2 is illustrated by the data in
Figure 7. The test, a group adaptation of the Ammoris Picture
Vocabulary Test (Ramsey and Wright, 1972), and subjects (1,210 fifth,
seventh, and ninth grade immigrant students in the Toronto Board of
Education) are the same as in Figure 1. However, the data are presented
in terms of absolute scores on the test rather than in terms of grade
norms. In Figure 1, older and younger L2 learners appeared to approach
grade norms at a generally comparable rate. However, because older
learners have further to go in order to reach grade-appropriate levels of
30 Schooling and Language Minority Students:
Figure 7
AOA 0-1 2-3 4-5
6-7 8-9 10-11 12-13 14-15
L2 academic proficiency (consider, for example, the difference between
the vocabulary knowledge of a twelve and six-year-old monolingual
English child), we would expect them to acquire more L2 than younger
learners b absolute terms in the same amount of time. This is clearly the
case in Figure 7. In this study, it was possible to make 90 comparisons
between older and younger learners on context-reduced cognitively
demanding aspects of L2. In 89 of these, older learners performed
"it may appear surprisi that older learners make more rapid progress in acquiring L2 in
view of the popular myth that there is an optimal pre-puStrtal age for L2 acquisi-
don. However, a jor reason for the advantage is obvious when the data are viewed
from within the of the CUP model. For example, in learning the term
"democracy" the for a 14-year-old immigrant child consists of acquiring a new
label for a concept y developed in Li; for a 6-year-old immigrant child the term
will not be acquired until the conorpt has been developed. The advantage of older
learners lies in the interdependence of conceptual knowledge across languages.
A Theoretical Framework -31
The relationship between Li and L2 proficiency in immigrant students
was explicitly investigated in two studies. Cummins et al. (1981) reporte
that olden. Japanese immigrant students, whose Li literacy skills were
better developed, acquired English proficiency significantly faster than
younger immigrant students. It was also found that students who im-
migrated at younger ages developed significantly lower proficiency in
Japanese compared to students who immigrated at older ages and who
had been in Canada for the same amount of time. All the students in this
study were from upper-class backgrounds.
Skutnabb-Kangas and Toukomaa (1976) also report that among Fin-
nish immigrant children in Sweden, the extent to which LI had been
developed prior to contact with Swedish was strongly related to how well
Swedish was learned. Children who migrated at age 10-12 maintained a
level of Finnish close to Finnish students in Finland and achieved
Swedish language skills comparable to those of Swedes. By contrast,
children who migrated at younger age levels or who were born in Sweden
tended to reach a developmental plateau at a low level in both Finnish
and Swedish academic proficiency.
Consistent with the Skutnabb- Kangas and Toukomaa findings (1976),
there is considerable anecdotal evidence that immigrant students from
Mexico fare better educationally than native-born Mexican - Americans.
For example, Troike (1978) stated that:
It is a common experience that... children who immigrate to
the United States...qfter grade six... rather quickly acquire
English and soon out-perform Chicano students who have
been in United States schodis since grade one. (p. 15)
Based on a survey of school personnel in four southwestern states, Caner
(1970) similirly reported that many teachers and administrators believe
that older immigrant students achieved better than native-born Chicano
students. '41
In summary, considerable research supports prediction derived
from the Interdependence Hypothesis that older immigrant children
"Two empirical studies (Kimball, 1968; Anderson and Johnson, 1971) support these
teacher perceptions. However, a recent study (Banal, 1979) reports that immigrant
students who had had at least`two years of schooling in Mexico performed significantly
lower in Academic skills than naive -born Mexican students. Two factors are important
in interpreting these results: first, the immkarant students came front significantly lower
socio-etonomic backgrounds than the native-born students: second, they had been in
United States schools only between two and five years. The Canadian findings Ceported
earlier (Cummins, 1931) mistiest that it can takeup to seven years for immigrant students
to approach Brink non= in English academic skills. Students who were in Canada for
three years were still approximately one standard deviation below grade norms. Thus,
the relatively short length of residence and the socio-ecanomic differences between im-
migrant and native-born students can account for Baral's (1979) findings.
32 Schooling and Language Minority Students:
make more rapid progress than younger children in acquiring 1.2 profi-
ciency. It should be noted that these relationships between LI and
L2 do not operate in a sociocultural vacuum. ilfhe role of sociocultural
factors in relation to cognitive and linguistic factors will be considered in
a later section.
Primary Leagues*,Development hs the Home
Several studies show that the use of a minority language in the home is
not a handicap to children's academic progress." This was evident in the
Cummins and Mulcahy (1978) study of the Ukrainian bilingual program
where first and third grade students who used Ukrainian consistently in
the home were better able to detect ambiguities in English sentence struc-
ture. Two other studies (Bhatnagtr, 198U; Chesarek, 1981) suggest that,
under certain conditions, a switch to the use of the majority language in
the home is associated with poor academic progress in the majority
Chesarek (1981) carried out a long?udinal study among elementary
students on a Crow, reservation in Montana in which he identified a sub-
group of students who had one or more Crow-speaking parents bat were
raised as Enflish speakers. This group of students scored significantly
lower on a non-verbal ability test at school entry than either native Crow-
speaking children or English-speaking children of two English-speaking
parents. In a longitudinal follow-up at third grade in one of the reserva-
tion schools that utilized a bilingual instructional program, it was found
that this group performed worse on several aspects of English achieve-
ment than the native Crow-speaking-group." Chesarek (1981) sums up
these findings as follows:
In other words, children who had only three years exposure to
English in a bilingual program context were surpassing
children for whom English was the only language. (p. 14)
A very similar pattern of findings emerges from a recent study carried
out by Bhatnager (1980) in Montreal, Canada. in this study, the
"In addition to the studies considered in the text, studies carried out by Carry and Cum-
mins (1979), Ramirez and Pulitzer (1976), and Yee and La Forge (1974) with minority
francophone, Hispanic, and Chinese stet s, respectively, show that, In itself, the use
of a minority LI in the home is not an impediment to the acquisition of 1.2 acadendc
shills In school. These findings, of course, create problems of de "Bevis* mismatch"
rationale for bilingual education, namely, the minority students fail in school because
their home language is diffeent from that of the school.
lochesarek (1991) points out there was very little bilingual activity in the classroom since
the major efforts were being devoted to developing an onhography and teaching
materials as well as training Rees to assume instructional activities.
A. Theoretical Framework 33
academic progress of 171 Italian immigrant children in English language
elementary schools and 102 in Rem* language schools was examined in
relation to language spoken at home and with friends and siblings. Bhat-
nager sums up his findings as follows:
The results reported here do not support the popular assump-
tion that the more immigrant children speak the local
language the better their adjustment to the host culture. It is
interesting to note that immigrant chikIrtm who used Italian
and a Camxlian language interchangeabb, were better even at
English or French, of both the spoken and written variety,
than children who used English or Fl-ench all the
time....Language retentkm...should lead to higher academic
adjustment, better facility in the host language, and better
social rektions of immigrant Chi en. (1980, pp. 153-155)"
In all these instances, the SUP model would have predicted that
students exposed exclusively to the majority language at home would
perform better than students who used a minority language at home.
This prediction receives no support from the research findings; instead,
the research sum the predicdon derived from the CUP model, that
experience with either language is capable of promoting the proficiency
that underlies the development of academic skills in both languages.
Thus, whether English or a minority hinguage is used in the home is, in
itself, relatively unimportant for studesne academic development. As
Wells' (1979) study has shown, what is inspmant for future academic
success is the quality of interaction children experience with adults.
Viewed from this perspective, encouraging minority parents to com-
municate in English with their children in the home can have very detri-
mental consequences. If parents are not conifortable In English, the
quality of their interaction with their children in English is likely to be
Is than in LI. Thus, the lower academic achievement of minority
children who used L2 exclusively with their parents and friends in Bhat-
nagar's (1980) and Chesarek's (1981) studies may be httributable to the
lower quality of communication their parents were capable of providing
in their second language.a°
'ilibatnager OM) reports that imm*rant students who used Li exclusively with parents
and siblings also palkomed siwdficantly worse than those who used both LI and
However, it Reins Wm* that A's finding can be attributed to the fact that only
those students who had bmnigtated rdodvdy recently would use LI exclusively.
Length of !IMMO= Is not coasideseel in nemeses study, but the data in F I
suggest that It takes lit:mignon students at Iciest five Imam to approach grade norms in L2
academie skills.
Data from two other SCUMS also support the CUP model. Theses are corxelitiopal
studies of the relationship between LI sod 1.2 proficiency and everimenial studies of bi-
Ultra, information processing.
34 Schooling and Language Minority Students:
in summary, the research fladings from evaluations of bilingualpro-
grams, studies of immigrant aildren's academic progress, and studies
that examined the consequences of different patterns of home language
use, are consistent with predictions derived from the CUP model.
However, the observed relationships between LI and L2 do not operate
indepemlently of the sociocultural context. In the next section the role of
sociocultural factors in determining minority students' academic
development is considered.
Sociocultural Determinants of Minority Students' AL-Wyman
Linguistic, cognitive, or educational factors by themselves cannot ac-
count for the school failure of minority students because there are large
individual and group differeices, in academic'achievement of minority
students exposed to the same educational conditions(e.g., home-school
language switch). Consider, for example, the fact that immigrant
students who arrived in Canada before age six achieved grade norms in
L2 academic skills (see Figure 1), whereas Finnish students who im-
migrated to Sweden at an early age attained only a low level plateau in
Swedish academic skills. This latter pattern also appears to characterize
Hispanic students who immigrate at an early age or who are born in the
United States.
What sociocultural factors account for this pattern of deferential
achievement by minority students in different contexts7Socio-econornic
status (SES) cannot account for4the differences becauseall groups were
low SES. Acculturation, or the degree to which minority students adopt
the language and cultural values of the majority, likewise fails to account
for the data. If acculturation were the major factor at work, we would
expect those minorky students who used only English at home to per-
form better academically than those who maintained the use of LI at
home. In fact, as the studies by Chesarek (1981) and Rhatnagar (1980)
demonstrate, such "acculturated" students often (but not necessarily
Many studies have shown Mghly signifiaun ocarelailons between LI and L2 proficiency
(Cununins, 1979a) and it haw been reported that Sganish reading proficiency developed in
a bilingual program is the mast stable predictor of English reading proficiency levels
students develop after transferring; from the bilingual prose= (Fischer aqd Cabello.
Experimental studies of bilingual information ptercessh;g have condstendy shown that
bilinguals process semantic memory information in themaw way in their two languages
and in the same way as monolinguals (Quantum and Stelae*, 1980 Enrique*, ISSO;
Kolas, 190; Landry, ISM 19110; McCormack, 1974). In other words, Mammals have
only one senses* memory system that can be accessed via two languages. The studies
cited above have been carried out with adult bilinguals; however, a recent study (Chit-
Chana, 1981) carried out with Chinese elenumtary school students has reported simfhr
results. She condddm that, at the input and conceptual level, the two languages of the
bilingual are in one storage.
A Theoretical Framework 35
always) show lower levels of English academic achievement than students
who continue to use their LI at home and maintain their allegiance to the
home odium."
An examination of the sociocultural characteristics of minority groups
that tend to perform poorly in L2-only school situations suggests that the
attitudes of these groups towards, their own identity may be an important
factor in interaction with educational treatment. Specifically, groups
such as Finns in Sweden, North American Indians, Spanish- speakers in
the U.S., and Franco-Ontarians in Canads all tend to have ambivalent or
negative feelings towards the majority culture and often also towards
their own culture. This pattern has been Marti documented for Finnish
immigrants in Sweden by Skutnabb-Kangas and Toukomaa (1976). For
example, Heyman (1973) concludes:
Many Finns in Sweden feel an fiVerSiOn, and sometimes even
hostility, towards the Swedish knguage and refuse to learn
it... under protest. There Lc re/awed evidence of this, as there
is, on the other hand, of Finnish Fectalechildren and
adultswho are ashamed of their Finnish language and do
not allow it to live and develop. (p. 131)
The same pattern of ambivalence or hostility towards the majority
cultural group and insecurity about one's own language and culture is
found, to a greater or lesser extent, in other minority groups that have
tended to perform poorly in school. For itumple, many Franco-
Ontarians tend to regard their own dialect of French as inferior and to
show low aspirations for social and atomic mobility in the majority
anglophone culture. In contrast, minority groups that do well in school
and to be highly motivated to learn the majority language and often
(though not always) have a strong sense of pride in their own cultural
According to this interpretation, part of the reason bilingual education
is successful in promoting minority students' academic progress is that
by validating the cultural identity of the students (as well as that of the -
community), it reduces their ambivalence towards the majority language
and culture. Older immigrant students often fare better than minority
students born in the lost country because they have not been subject to
the same ambivalence towards both cultural groups in their pm-school
and early school years and, hence, approach the task of learning L2 with
a secure identity and academic self-concept. Similarly, the exclusive use
of L2 rather than LI in the home is likely both to reflect and contribute
to minority students' ambivalence towards L2.
' "I am grateful to Steve Chesarek for pointing this out to Inc.
36 Schooling and Language Minority Students:
Clearly, at this stage, these suggestions in regard to the operation of
",bicultural ambivalence" ay.. speculative. However, they appear to ac-
count for the data better than a simple "acculturation" explanation and
also provide the basis for a more adequate rationale for bilingual educa:
tion than "linguistic mismatch" between home and school.
How does the operation of sociocultural factors relate to the linguistic
factors (e.g., interdependence between LI and L2) described earlier? The
development of communicative proficiency in Li and IIcan be regarded
as an intervening variable mediating the effects of the sociocultural con-
text on achievement. For example, sociocultural factors are likely to af-
fect patterns of parent/child interaction that will influence the develop-
ment of communicative proficiency (as described in Figure 2) in LI
and/or 1.1 that will, in turn, influence children's ability to benefit from
instruction. Thus, if parents are ambivalent about the value of their
cultural background or fed that they speak an inferior dialect of LI,they
may not strongly encourage children to develop LI skills in the home.
They may tolerate (or even encourage) children to watch television far a
considerable portion of the day on the grounds that this will help them to
learn English and do well at school. This attitude may be encouraged by
some teachers who believe that children should be exposed to as little LI
as possible.
Compare this situation to that of language minority parents who feel a
strong sense of pride In their cultural background and are eager to
transmit this cultural heritage to their children. They are likely to spend
more time " "negotiating meaning" (in LI) with their children, which ac-
cording to Wells' (1999) findings, is a strong predictor of future
academic success. If we assume that those aspects of communicative pro-
ficiemy most relevant to academic success develop largely as a result of
quality and quantity of communication with adults, then children in the
second situation will come to school better prepared to handle the
context-reduced communicative demands of school than children in the
first situation, despite the fact that they may know little or no English
(Chesarek, 1981). As the research reviewed in the context of the CUP
model clearly shows, communicative proficiency already developed in LI
can readily be transferred to L2, given motivation to learn L2 and ex-
posure to L2.
How do school programs interact with sociocultural and linguistic fac-
tors? As outlined in Table I, schools have contributed directly to minori-
ty children's academic difficulties by undermining their cultural identity,
attempting to eradicate their L 1, and exposing them to incomprehensible
context-reduced input in English. Recent evaluations of bilingual educe-
A Theoretical Framework 37
tion, however, have shown that when schools reinforce minority
children's cultural identity, promote the development of the L1 com-
municative proficiency children bring to school, and make instruction in
English comprehensibk, by embedding it in a context that is meaningful
in relation to students' previous experience, then minority students mi-
mic= academic success and develop high English literacy skills, in
spite of sodoculnual impediments.
In summary, although both sociocultural and educational factors con-
tribute directly to the development of communicative proficiency in
minority students, a large majority of academic and communicative
de hits (e.g., low reading achievement) are developed in these students
only as a result of failure by educators to respond appropriately to the
sociocultural and communicative characteristics children. bring to school.
In this section, bilingual communicative proficiawy has been con-
sidered as a dependent variable in relation to sociocultural and educa-
tional factors. Bilingual communicative proficiency can also be regarded
as an intervening variable, which in turn influences the further develop-
ment of cognitive and academic skills. In other words, how do different
patterns of bilingual proficiency influence students' ability to benefit
from interaction with their scholastic environment? This issue is con-
sidered in the next section.
Bifingual Pro th:Wm as Educational Enrichment: The Threshold
It was pointed out in a previous section that because bilingual children
performed more poorly than monolingual children on a variety of
verbal-academic tasks in early studies, bilingualism was often regarded
as a cause of language handicaps and cognitive confusion. However,
more recent findings refute this interpretation. A large number of studies
have reported that bilingual children are more cognitively flexible in cer-
tain respects and bear able to analyze linguistic meaning than are
monolingual children (Cummins, 1979b). Albert' and Obler (1978) con-
clude on the basis of neuropsychological research findings that:
Bilinguals mature earlier than monolinguals both In terms of
cerebral lateralization for language and in acquiring skills for
linguistic abstraction. Bilinguals have better developed
auditory language skills than monolinguals. but there Li no
clear evidence that they differ from monolinguals in written
skills. (p. 248)
These findings are not at all surprising when one considers that
bilingual children have been exposed to considerably more "training"
in analyzing and interpreting language than monolingyal children.
38 Schooling and Language Minority Students:
The greater analytic orientation to language of bilingual children is con-
sistent with the view of Viaotskii (1962), who argues that being able
to express the same thought in different languages will enable the child
to "see his language as one particular System among many, to view
its phenomena under more general categories, and this leads
to awareness of his linguistic operations" (p. 110). Lambert and
'nicker (1972) argued that a similar process was likely to ?mate among
children in bilingual programs. Theysuggested that, as children develop
high level bilingual skills, they an likely to practice a form of "incipient
contrastive linguistics" by comparing the syntax and vocabulary of their
two languages.
How do we resolve the apparent inconsistency that bilingualism is
associated with both positive and negative coitnitive and academic ef-
fects? An analysis of the characteristics of subjects in these two types of
studies suggests that the level of bilingualism children attain is an impor-
tant factor in mediating the effects of bilingualism on their educational
development (Cummins, 1979b). Specifically, a large majority of the
"negative" studies were carried out with language minority children
whose LI was gradually being replaced by a more dominant and
prestigious L2. Under these conditions, these childrendeveloped relative-
ly low levels of academic proficiency in both languages. In contrast, the
majority of studies that have reported coanitiVe advantages associated
owith bilingualism have involved students whose LI proficiency has con-
tinued to develop while L2 is being acquired. Consequently, these
students have been characterized by relatively high levels of proficiency
in both languages.
These data have led to the hypothesis that there may be threshold
levels of linguistic proficiency bilingual children must attain in order to
avoid cognitive deficits and allow the potentially beneficial aspects of
becoming bilingual to influence cognitive growth. The Threshold
Hypothesis assumes that those aspects of bilingualism that might
positively influence cognitive growth are unlikely to come into effect un-
til children have attained a certain minimum or threshold level of profi-
ciency in the second language. Similarly, if bilingual children attain only
a very low level of proficiency in one or both of theirlanguagefz, their in-
teraction with the environment through these Itutguagesboth in terms of
input and output, is likely to be impoverished.
The form of the Threshold Hypothesis that seems to be most consis-
tent with the available data is that there are two thresholds (Cummins,
1976; Toukomaa and Skutnabh-lCangas, 1977). The attainment of a
lower threshold level of bilingual proficiency would besufficient to avoid
A Theoretical Frames lurk 39
any negative cognitive effects; but the attainment of a second, higher
level of bilingual proficiency might be necessary to lead to accelerated
cognitive growth. The Threshold Hypothesis is illustrated in Figure 8.
Since this hypotheils was originally formulated (tummins, 1976),
several studies have reported findings consistent with its general tenets
(Cummins and Mulcahy, 1978; Duncan and DeAvila, 1979; Kessler and
Quinn, 1980). Duncan and De Avila (1979), for example, found that
language minority students who had &wok:wed high levels of LI aid
.proficiency (proficient bilinguals) performed significantly better than
monolingnals and other sub-groups of bilinguals (partial and limited bi-
linguals) on a battery of cognitive tasks. Kessler and Quinn (1980) found
that Hispanic bilingual students who had been in a bilingtial program
performed significantly better than monolinguals on a science problem-
solving task, while Cummins and Mulcahy (1978) found that Ukrainian-
English bilingual students who spoke Ukrainian at home and received 50
percent instnicdon through Ukrainian were better able to detect am-
biguities in English sentence structure than were monolingual English-
speaking students.
1)pe off Bitfrigudism
Thetfinient bifingsonnn
High ievds in both
Clognithe Meer
Higher ducilsold
B. Avast biktswasksm Neitinr positive lewd of bilingual
Native he level in = negative proficiency
o®e of tbe bloWsne5 cognitive effects
Lona thiaihold
level of bilingual
C. Lintieed live pendency
Low level in both cognitive effects
beguolie4 OW be
bahmoed err dominant)
'Adapted non Tonkin= and Slannabb-Kangas, 1977, p.
Schooling and Language Minority Students:
In summary, far from impeding English language and general
academic skills development, as the SUP model would predict, bilingual
Mangold! appears to offer students apotentially enriching educational
environment. For language minority students, this potential appears to
be realized only when their LI continues to develop as they are acquiring
Andication of liteareticat Analysis to Bilingual Education
In this section, the implications for bilingual education of the research
and theory outlined earliir will be made explicit. The four major implica-
tions relate to the rationale for bilingual education, entry criteria,
reclassification and exit criteria, and assessment considerations.
The Rationale for Bilingual Edinition
The failure of 1.2-only programs to protnote 1.2 literacy skills effec-
tively among some groups of language minority children was interpreted
by many academics as support for the hypothesis that mismatch between
the language of home and language of school Is a major cause of
academic retardation among minority children (Downing, 197$;
UNESCO, 1953; United States Commission on Civil Rights, 1975). This
Linguistic Mismatch Hypothesis is exemplified in the well-known
UNESCO statement that "it is axiomatic that the best medium for
teaching a child is his =they tongue" (UNESCO, 1953, p. 11).
The Linguistic Mismatch Hypothesis has come to be the main
theoretical rationale for bilingual education in the United.States. This is
unfortunate because it greatly over-simplifies the complexity of the issues
and as a general principle has title validity. The success of majority
languaw students in Fixmch immersion programs and of some minority
children in 12-only programs show clearly that "linguistic mismatch"
has limited explanatory power.
The transitional form of bilingual education operating in most states
derives directly from the linguistic mismatch hypothesis. The focus on in-
itial mismatch between the "visible" surface forms of LI and L2 implies
that children can be switched to an English-only program when they have
acquired basic fluency in English. Thus, in mo, transitional programs,
the role of LI instruction in developing English academic proficiency is
inadequately understood. LI is viewed only as an interim carrier of sub-
ject matter content until 12 can take over, rather than as the means
through which children "negotiate meaning" with significant adults in
their world, thereby laying the foundation for overall academic and
cognitive development.
There are several major differences between the linguistic mismatch
rationale and that developed in this paper. First, the present rationale
A Theoretical Frameviork 41
emphasizes the sociocultural determinants of minority students'
academic difficulties. A major reason for the success of quality bilingual
programs is that they encourage minority students (and probably the
minority community) to take pride in their cultural background. A pro-
gram that continues to promote students' LI throughout ekknentary
school is much more likely to reinforce children's cultural identity than
one that aims to remove children as quickly as possible from any contact
with, of use of, LI iI3 School.
A secoorway in which the present rationale differs from the linguistic
mismatch rationale is that it takes account of the difference between
context-embedded and context-reduced conununicativiproficiency. The
linguistic mismatch rationale leaves undefined the name of the "English
proficiency" required to survive in an all-English classroom; but by
default, relatively superficial aspects of context-embedded com-
municative proficiency have usually been regarded as adequate. This
assumption ignores the fact that it takes L2 learnersconsiderably longer
to achieve grade-appropriate levels of L2 context-reduced com-
municative proficiency than it does to achieve peer-appropriate levels of
face-to-face context-embedded communicative proficiency. Thus, the
present analysis suggests that a realistic reclassification threshold of
"English proficiency" is unlikely to be attained by most language
minority students until the later trades ofelementary school.
A third difference between the linguistic mismatch rationale and that
developed in this paper relatesto the role assigned to minority students'
LI proficiency in the acquisition of English acadanic skills. Instruction
through LI is regarded as much more than an interim carrier of subject
mum content; rather, h is the means thrnugh which the conceptual anti
communicative proficiency that underlies botia I and English literacy is
developed. The elaboration of the CUP Model provides,a rationale for
continuing the promotion of Ll literacy development throughout
elementary school as a means 'of simultaneously contributing to'' the
development of both English and LI literacy skills.
A fourth difference is the fact that, unlike the linguistic mismatch ra-
tionale, the present rationale emphasizes the additional cognitive and
linguistic advantages (beyond the obviousadvantage of being bilingual)
that research suggests are associated with the attainment of proficient
bilingual skills.
Finally, within the present framework, the language spoken by the
child in the home is, in itself, essentially irrelevant. Mutt should be much
more important in determining thelasponse of the school are the
sociocultural characteristics and overall level of communicative profi-
ciency of children on entry. The school program should in every case at-
42 Schooling and Language Minority Students:
tempt to build an (rather than replace) the entry characteristics of
Who Should Eater IR Squid Programs?
The research evidence reviewed above strongly suggests that programs
that aim to develop a high level of proficiency in two languages provide
greater potential for academic development for allchildren than educa-
tion through the medium of only one language. Whether or not this
greater potential is realized in any particular bilingual program will, of
count, depend on the quality of the program. Research has failed to
identify any category of student for whom a bilingual education would
be less suitable than a monolingual education. This issue has been exten-
sively researched in Canada in the context of French/English bilingual
programs. Students with learning disabilities, low academic ability, and
non-English or non-French home backgrounds have all been found to
perform at least as well in French/English bilingual programs as
equivalent students in English-only programs (Cummins, 1910. In
other _words, the enrichment potential of bilingual education is accessible
to all students.
This conclusion is also clearly supported by the recent large-scale
evaluation of bilingual education programs in the state of Colorado
(Egan and Goldsmith, 1981), which found that students from English
language backgrounds gained just as much from bilingual education as
"linguistically different" students. Both groups of students are reported
to have made significant gains in bilingual programs compared to what
would have been expected in regular English programs. For language
minority students who fail in L2-only school programs, bilingual educa-
tion offers a very basic form of enrichment, i.e., the possibility of educa-
tional survival.
There has been considerable debate in recent years about which
categories of language minority students should enter bilingual pro-
grams. Much of this debate has been political in nature and only Dulay
and Burt (1980) have advanced any serivas educational argument in
favor of limiting access to bilingual education by Limited Engligh Profi-
cient (LEP) students. Arguing on the basis of the Linguistic Mismatch
Hypothesis, Dulay and Burt suggest that "English-superior" LEP
students should receive instruction primarily Would, English, "primary-
language superior" LEP students should receive bilingual education,
while "limited balanced" (i.e., equally limited in LI and L2) students
should be taught through whichever language is spoken at home. The
analysis and research reviewed in this paper shows that this suggestion
has no educational support, either empirical or theoretical.
A Theoretical Framework 43
Reclassification and Exiting Coadderadons
It should be clear by now that there is no educational justification for
exiting students from a successful bilingual program. The CUP model
provides an interpretation of why students in bilingual programs per-
form well in English academic skills despite much less instruction
through English. Furthermore, many studies show cognitive and
academic advantages as a result of attaining literacy and fluency in two
languages. Exiting students from bilingual programs in the early grades
of elementary school is likely to short-circuit theseacademic advantages;
the rationale for a quick -exit policy is either socio-political in nature or
else based on an ill-conceived SUP model of bilingual proficiency.
It is instructive to examine the confused logic of transitional bilingual
education as currently practiced in many school districts. Minority
students in transitional programs are expected to make so much progress
in the cognitive and amides* skills underlying English literacy in the ear-
ly grades that after two or three years they should be able to compete on
an equal footing with their monolingual English-speaking peers. In other
words, a CUP model of bilingual proficiency is implicitlyendorsed in the
early grades. Yet proponents of a quick-exit policy revert to a SUP model
by assuming (contrary to their earlier assumption and the research data)
that children's English skills will not develop adequately unless they are
mainstreamed as soon as possible toan English-only program. It is ironic
that the earlier they want the child mainstreamed, the more effectivegthey
must assume the LI instruction to have been in pfbmothig L2 proficiency
(Cummins, 198(1d).
Assessment Conalderadons
The lack of a theoretical framework that would allow the relationship
between "communicative competence" and academic achievementto be
considered is especially obvious in the confusion surrounding ap-
propriate ways of assessing language proficiency and dominance foren-
try and exit purposes in bilingual education. Some measures are intended
specifically not to relate to academic achievement [e.g., the Bilingual
Syntax Measure (Burt et al., 1975)1, while others are intended to show a
moderate relationship [e.g., the Language Assessment Scales (DeAvila
and Duncan, 1976)).
Given that the purpose of language proficiency assessment is place-
ment of students in classes taught through the language which, it is
assumed, will best promote the development of academic skills, it is im-
perative that the test have predictive validity for academic achievement.
In other words, the test must assess aspects of language proficiency
related to the development of literacy. If it doesnot, then its relevance to
44 Schooling and Language Minority Students:
the placement of bilingual students is highly questionable (Cummins,
For entry at the kindergarten level, assessment should probably in-
volve cognitively demanding context-embedded measures, while for exit
purposes, cognitively demanding context-reduced measures should be
used (see Figure 3). The rationale for this suggestion is that context-
embedded measures are necessary to reflect children's pre-school
language experiences, but context-reduced measures are more ap-
propriate for reclassification purposes because they more accurately
reflect the communicative demands of an all-English classroom.
Although further research is required to specify in detail what con-
stitutes "sufficient" English proficiency for reclassification purposes,
there is considerable evidence regarding conditions necessary for English
literacy 6evelopment among students traditionally performing poorly in
English-only school programs. The research suggests that achievement in
English literacy skills is strongly related to the extent of development of
LI literacy skills. Thus, rather than reclassifying and exiting minority
students as soon as possible, teachers and administrators should be con-
cerned with providing students with sufficient time in the bilingual pro-
gram to develop "threshold" levels of biliteracy.
How much time is sufficing? The evidence reviewed earlier suggests`
that school districts should aim to provide at least 50 percent of instruc-
tion in the early grades through the child's LI, and instruction in and
through the LI should be continued throughout elementary school.
Although there are no exact formulas as to how much LI and 1.2 instruc-
tion ought to be provided at any particular grade level, it seems
reasonable to suggest that it would be appropriate to provide more
English input in school in situations where exposure to English outside
school is limited. However, this increased exposure should not come in
the early grades where the instructional emphasis should be on LI, in
order to develop the conceptual apparatus required to make English
context-reduced input comprehensible. Where there is little or no ex-
posure to English outside school, between 50 and 75 percent of the in-
structional time could be through English from third grade.
It is critically important, however, that decisions made by teachers, ad-
ministrators, and policy-makers regarding bilingual education take ac-
count of the nature of language proficiency and its cross-lingual dimen-
sions. The rationale for bilingual education and the specific program
suggestions made in this paper and others in this volume can be ap-
preciated only when it is realized that context-reduced communicative
A Theoretical Framework 45
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... As discussed, the role of lexical tone in L2 English literacy has been broadly assessed, yet variations exist as to the manner by which tone affects L2 reading development. Given that "sufficient language proficiency" and "automaticity" has been much emphasized for the transfer to occur (Cummins 1981(Cummins , 2012Koda 2008), one plausible underlying reason driving the different pathways is language proficiency in reader profiles. Oral vocabulary has been considered to be a typical characteristic of reading proficiency (Joshi 2005). ...
... Thus, the interference of the language spoken at home with oral vocabulary can be lessened to a greater degree, thereby promoting the efficacy of the moderating effect in itself. Additionally, the threshold for cross-language transfer has been conventionally conceptualized in the language proficiency in the source language (Cummins 1981(Cummins , 2012Koda 2008). Children with stronger L1 proficiency show a tendency for L1-to-L2 transfer. ...
... In contrast, the conditional direct effect of tone on L2 word-level literacy was flat among those with low vocabulary scores. These findings extended previous cross-language transfer models (Chung et al. 2019;Cummins 1981Cummins , 2012Koda 2008) by showing that cross-phonological awareness transfer involves units of analyses varying in complexity from phonological grain sizes beyond segments to lexical representations in the mental lexicon, and that it is determined jointly by multiple factors; that is, the interaction of oral vocabulary and tone perception influences the degree to which tone awareness impacts L2 word-level literacy. It also indicates the threshold for sufficient L2 oral vocabulary to allow for cross-linguistic prosodic transfer to occur. ...
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Building upon the prosodic transfer hypothesis, the current study aims to examine the intermediary effect of English stress on the relation between Chinese lexical tone awareness and English word-level literacy (reading and spelling) as well as the moderating effect of English oral vocabulary proficiency on the cross-linguistic association. Grade 4 Chinese learners of English (N = 224) participated in this study and were assessed for their tone and stress sensitivity, English oral vocabulary, English word reading, and English word spelling. Mediated multivariate analyses with moderation were used to explore: (1) whether the influence of lexical tone perception on L2 word reading and spelling was mediated by English stress as posited in the prosodic transfer hypothesis; (2) whether the effects of tone on English word reading and spelling performance varied as a function of oral vocabulary levels. The findings revealed a direct positive relationship between Chinese tone and English word reading and spelling, and the relationship was mediated by English stress awareness. Furthermore, the direct pathway from tone to English word-level literacy skills were moderated by oral vocabulary and the relationship between tone and English word-level skills became stronger as oral vocabulary levels increased; however, such strength reached a plateau among children without adequate oral vocabulary skills. These findings suggest the necessity to incorporate word spelling as an outcome in the cross-suprasegmental phonological transfer models of early literacy development. Additionally, the current study endorses the complexity of cross-language prosodic transfer. It points to a precise threshold for sufficient L2 oral vocabulary skills to enable tone transfer in English word-level literacy attainment.
... Néanmoins, les caractéristiques des langues semblent également intervenir. En tenant compte de ce qui précède et afin d'expliquer les résultats divergents quant à l'incidence du bilinguisme sur la conscience phonologique, ainsi que sur la conscience morphologique, deux hypothèses interprétatives sont à prendre en considération, la théorie de l'interdépendance linguistique (Cummins, 1978(Cummins, , 1981 et la théorie de la « sensibilité structurale » (Kuo & Anderson, 2010. ...
... La théorie de l'interdépendance linguistique (Cummins, 1979(Cummins, , 1981 Grâce à ces processus, une partie des compétences de L1 peut être transférée aux contextes d'apprentissage d'une autre langue, de même qu'une partie des compétences de L2 peut également être transférée à la L1. Figure 9. Métaphore de l'iceberg issue de la théorie de l'interdépendance linguistique (Cummins, 1979(Cummins, , 1981 La première version de cette théorie (Cummins, 1979) suggérait que, si l'environnement de l'apprenant fournissait suffisamment de stimuli pour que la L1 soit maintenue, l'exposition intensive à la L2 dans des contextes académiques produirait un développement rapide de la L2, sans causer d'effets néfastes à la L1. Cependant, si la L1 n'est pas suffisamment développée en dehors des contextes d'enseignement formel, une exposition prolongée à la L2 entravera le développement de la L1 et, à son tour, entravera le développement bilingue. ...
... La théorie de l'interdépendance linguistique (Cummins, 1979(Cummins, , 1981 Grâce à ces processus, une partie des compétences de L1 peut être transférée aux contextes d'apprentissage d'une autre langue, de même qu'une partie des compétences de L2 peut également être transférée à la L1. Figure 9. Métaphore de l'iceberg issue de la théorie de l'interdépendance linguistique (Cummins, 1979(Cummins, , 1981 La première version de cette théorie (Cummins, 1979) suggérait que, si l'environnement de l'apprenant fournissait suffisamment de stimuli pour que la L1 soit maintenue, l'exposition intensive à la L2 dans des contextes académiques produirait un développement rapide de la L2, sans causer d'effets néfastes à la L1. Cependant, si la L1 n'est pas suffisamment développée en dehors des contextes d'enseignement formel, une exposition prolongée à la L2 entravera le développement de la L1 et, à son tour, entravera le développement bilingue. ...
Cette thèse vise comparer la conscience morphologique (CM) et la lecture de bilingues français-portugais et monolingues francophones, déterminer la contribution de la CM à la lecture et préciser si cette contribution est modérée par le bilinguisme et/ou médiatise l’impact du bilinguisme sur la lecture. L’étude longitudinale a montré une supériorité bilingue en conscience morpho-dérivationnelle en GSM et en 1ère année, ainsi qu’une contribution de cette dernière à la lecture de pseudo-mots et de texte chez les monolingues et les bilingues. L’impact du bilinguisme sur la lecture de pseudo-mots serait médiatisé par la CM. L’étude transversale a montré une supériorité bilingue en CM à tous les niveaux scolaires (1ère, 3ème et 5ème année de l’école élémentaire) et une contribution de cette dernière à la lecture de mots et de texte en 1ère année et à la lecture de texte en 3ème année chez les monolingues et à la lecture de texte, chez les bilingues et les monolingues, ainsi qu’à la compréhension de phrases chez les bilingues en 5ème année. L’impact du bilinguisme sur la lecture de mots irréguliers serait également médiatisé par la CM en 1ère année, mais pas ultérieurement.
... esim. Cummins, 1981;Mohan, 1986), mutta ylirajaisen liikkuvuuden lisääntyminen on kasvattanut kiinnostusta aihetta kohtaan yhä enenevässä määrin. Uuden kotimaan koulun opetuskielen oppiminen on välttämätöntä paitsi oppiainesisältöjen omaksumisen (ks. ...
... Jätän tässä tutkimuksessa katsomusaineet tarkastelun ulkopuolelle. Tutkimuksissa on osoitettu, että opinnoissa etenemiseen edellytetyn kielitaidon haltuunottoon menee useita vuosia (Collier, 1987;1989;Cummins, 1981;Demie, 2013;Heppt ym., 2015). Edellä olevassa perustetekstisitaatissa kursivoimani kohdat, jotka käsittelevät perusopetukseen valmistavan opetuksen aikana tapahtuvaa luku-ja kirjoitustaidon kehittymistä, ovat ristiriitaisia tutkimuksissa osoitetun kielenoppimiseen tarvittavan ajan suhteen. ...
... Lisäksi myös väliaikaiset tukitoimenpiteet, samoin kuin kokonaisvaltainen oppimaan oppimisen tukeminen, ovat tärkeä osa kielellisesti vastuullisen pedagogiikan viitekehystä (Alisaari & Heikkola, 2020;Lucas & Villegas, 2011;2013). Uuden kielen oppimisprosessin ajallisen keston (Collier, 1989;Cummins, 1981;Demie, 2013;Heppt ym., 2015) kokonaisvaltainen huomioiminen pedagogisesti mielekkäin tukitoimin on koulukontekstissa välttämätöntä (Arnot ym., 2014; Cummins & Early, 2015;Schleppegrell, 2012;. Kuvaan seuraavassa luvussa kielellisesti tuetun opetuksen toimintamallin osana 50 tämän tutkimuksen toteuttamista. ...
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Väitöskirja tarkastelee vastasaapuneille maahanmuuttajaoppilaille suunnattua kielipe-dagogista tukea perusopetuksen vuosiluokilla 7–9. Tutkimuksen tehtävänä oli selvittää kielellisen tuen toteuttamista ja kehittämistarpeita asian parissa työskentelevien asian-tuntijoiden (artikkeli I), perusopetuksen vuosiluokilla 7–9 työskentelevien opettajien (artikkeli II) ja kietu-opetukseen osallistuneiden oppilaiden (artikkeli III) näkökulmista. Erityisenä tarkastelun kohteena on kielellisesti tuetun opetuksen toimintamalli (kietu), jolla tarkoitetaan kielipedagogista tukea, joka kohdennetaan koulun opetuskielen op-pimiseen oppiainesisältöjen opetuksen yhteydessä. Kietu-opetusta tarjotaan sekä samanaikaisopetuksena että erillisopetuksena. Sen tavoitteena on tukea koulun ope-tuskielen oppimista ja maahanmuuttajaoppilaiden osallisuutta sekä kouluyhteisössä että yhteiskunnassa. Tutkimus nojaa sosiokulttuuriseen kielenoppimisen teoriaan, erityisesti ekologiseen lähestymistapaan sekä kielellisesti vastuullisen pedagogiikan viitekehykseen. Tutkimus tukeutuu hermeneuttis-fenomenologiseen tutkimusottee-seen. Laadullinen tutkimusaineisto on analysoitu aineisto- ja teorialähtöisillä sisäl-lönanalyysin menetelmillä. Tutkimuksen mukaan kielellisesti ja kulttuurisesti moninaista perusopetusta luon-nehtii pedagogisten opetusjärjestelyiden kirjo. Tavat, joilla perusopetukseen valmista-vaa opetusta, suomi toisena kielenä ja kirjallisuus oppimäärän (S2) -opetusta, oman äidinkielen opetusta sekä kaikilta opettajilta edellytettyä kielitietoista pedagogiikkaa toteutetaan, vaihtelevat. Tutkimuksen tulosten mukaan asiantuntijat ja opettajat tiedos-tivat yläkouluikäisten maahanmuuttajaoppilaiden tuen tarpeet, mutta haasteita aiheutti-vat liian lyhyeksi koettu perusopetukseen valmistava opetus, S2-opetuksen vaihtelevat opetusjärjestelyt sekä yläkoulun aineenopettajajärjestelmä, joka vaikeuttaa yksittäisiin oppilaisiin ja heidän taustoihinsa perehtymistä. Niissä kouluissa, joissa kielellisesti tuetun opetuksen opettajaresurssi oli käytössä, se koettiin hyödylliseksi, mutta toi-menkuva vaatii edelleen kehittämistä ja vahvistamista. Oppilaiden kokemukset kielellisesti tuetusta opetuksesta nostivat esiin koulun kes-keisen roolin uuden kotimaan kielen oppimisessa. Jotta oppilaat hyötyvät heille suunnatusta tuesta, sen täytyy olla pitkäjänteistä ja säännöllistä, aktiiviseen toimintaan kannustavaa sekä oppilaiden osaamia kieliä arvostavaa. Pedagogisen tuen dialogi on mahdollista vain riittävän pienissä oppilasryhmissä, joissa oppilaat kokevat olonsa turvalliseksi. Tutkimukseen osallistuneet oppilaat kokivat monikielisyytensä vahvuute-na, ja erityisesti suomen kielen osaamisen tärkeys korostui. Oppilaat pitivät myös englannin osaamista tärkeänä muun muassa siksi, että suomen kielellä ei tule toimeen Suomen ulkopuolella. Tutkimus vahvistaa käsitystä siitä, että ympäröivän yhteisön kielen osaaminen on avain osallisuuden syntymiseen, minkä vuoksi maahanmuuttajaoppilaille suunnattui-hin kielenoppimisen tukimuotoihin on perusopetuksessa kiinnitettävä aiempaa enemmän huomiota. Tutkimuksen tulosten perusteella näyttääkin siltä, että olisi tar-peen pienentää opetusryhmiä sekä lisätä kielellisesti tuettua opetusta ja opetusresurssia etenkin sellaisissa yläkouluissa, joissa maahanmuuttajaoppilaiden osuus on suuri. Asiasanat: kielellisesti tuettu opetus, kietu-opetus, perusopetus, maahanmuuttajaoppi-laat, kielitaito, kielikasvatus
... However, many principals and educators claim that English be the sole medium of instruction apart from Dzongkha subject taught in the class. Researchers have indicated that learners' native language promote language two acquisition (Cummins, 1981); fulfills pedagogical functions and has socio-psychological benefit (Atkinson, 1987); facilitates teaching and influences learners' behavior (Kharma & Hajjaj, 1989); and serves as a communicative strategy in English classroom (Scheweers, 1999). Thus, discouraging the use of native language in the context of English as second language instruction impedes the comprehension of meaningful insights of literary works resulting in poor academic performance. ...
... So, it is important that the teacher choose the most appropriate teaching method that fits the learners' choice and enjoy learning the subject(s) (Riding & Smith, 1997). According to Cummins (1981), teaching the subject content often in learners' native language promotes the second language (English) acquisition and result in better scholastic performance. Kharma and Hajjaj (1989) also stated that teachers' efficiency in using native languages in English classroom facilitates teaching and influences learner's behavior in active participation. ...
... Kharma and Hajjaj (1989) also stated that teachers' efficiency in using native languages in English classroom facilitates teaching and influences learner's behavior in active participation. Therefore, studies by Cummins (1981), Kharma and Hajjaj (1989) and Riding and Smith (1997) indicated code-switching as one of the most effective teaching and learning strategies that can be applied for active classroom learning. Over recent years much attention has been given to learner-learner interaction in the classroom to facilitate learning. ...
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Code-switching is a phenomenon where there is an alternation between two or more languages or dialects within a sentence in a conversation. It can be used as one of the strategies of teaching short stories in the Bhutanese classrooms. However, in Bhutan, English being the medium of instruction, teachers and students are obliged to communicate only in English in the class. This impedes students reasoning, critical thinking skills and the overall learning process both within the classroom and outside the learning environment. Impacts and factors leading to code-switching in teaching literary texts has been widely explored in other countries. However, very little research has been carried out in Bhutan. Hence, this study explored the factors leading to code-switching in L2 classrooms to teach short stories to grade X students of one of the higher secondary schools in Trongsa dzongkhag. It also attempted at examining the perception and attitudes of English teachers and learners towards code-switching in the teaching and learning of short stories. The study was conducted using mixed methods: integrating structured survey questionnaires and semi-structured interview and the data were analyzed using descriptive analysis. Thus, the researcher found the significant factors such as, difficulty in comprehending the new concepts, new vocabularies and pronunciation and to encourage students’ participation in the class which leads to the use of L1. Further, it also found that both teachers and students have positive attitudes towards the use of code-switching as a technique to teach short stories to grade X students in English as a Second Language classroom but not to use as frequently as they wished to.
... The purpose of this study is to present this means for ESL college students in higher education to apply their academic knowledge and academic language (Cummins, 1979;1981a;2008) while increasing their local knowledge of K-12 school culture and their intercultural competence. Cummins' two terms such as social language called basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS) and academic language called cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) are crucial for students' academic success. ...
... Interpersonal Communication Skills, and then moved on to academic language, i.e., Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (Cummins, 1981a). ...
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The purpose of this research is to present a means for ESL students in higher education to apply their academic knowledge and language (Cummins, 1981) to increase their local knowledge of school culture and intercultural competence (Neuliep, 2017) by working with teachers and students in a local K-12 school community. This was accomplished through a co-teaching K-12 program sponsored by a large public university that provides international college students of any major an opportunity to have a cultural and language learning experience through student teaching in a public middle school. The researcher, an ESL graduate student, along with a fellow ESL graduate student teacher pursuing a degree in food science, was partnered with two middle school teachers, observed an ESL and a science classroom, co-designed new lesson plans, and co-taught a full day of lessons weekly over one semester. Throughout the practicum, the participant researcher wrote weekly journals and reflections and attended workshops. At the end of the semester, the middle school students (n=140) completed a short questionnaire regarding their experience working with the international student teachers. The survey results indicate that the middle school students, including 40 ESL students, valued the experience of working with culturally diverse teachers. In addition, the experience benefited local teachers, as the ESL college students were able to provide linguistic, sensory, cultural, and interactive supports for content matter (Gibbons, 2014), along with innovative ideas and resources funded by grants. In the meantime, the ESL graduate students had an immersive learning experience on communicating more effectively in a school setting, both academically and interculturally. In conclusion, this collaboration program benefits ESL college students by developing their language proficiency, broadening their cultural perspective, and achieving their educational goals.
... In contrast to the English-only instruction, proponents of bilingual education provide evidence-based arguments that strengthening students' native and second languages yields higher academic outcomes for EB students (Cummins, 1981). In addition to the academic benefits (Genesee et al., 2005), EB students can prosper economically (Gunnarsson, 2013), cognitively (Bialystok, 2011), and culturally (Feinauer & Howard, 2014). ...
... This conclusion supports Cummins (1979Cummins ( , 1981 findings that students who focus on L2 learning at the cost of L1 may perform well in earlier grades, but as the linguistic demand increases, competency in both L1 and L2 yields greater cognitive and academic advantages. ...
... (1995), Freed (1990), Lapkin et coll. (1995), Milton et Meara (1995) et Cummins (1981. ...
Notre recherche analyse les rythmes d’appropriation d’adultes migrants (n=292) inscrits dans une formation à visée professionnelle qui répondait à un appel d’offre calé sur un référentiel institutionnel et montre les décalages entre le prescrit et l’acquis. Nous avons pu mettre en exergue qu’au regard des référentiels institutionnels, les rythmes d’appropriation ralentissaient pour les stagiaires qui avaient débuté avec des niveaux plus avancés. De plus, il apparait que la formation intensive a favorisé le développement des compétences de réception et de maitrise des structures linguistiques au détriment des compétences expressives. On note aussi un écart entre les attendus institutionnels et les acquis linguistiques qui se situent parfois très largement en dessous de la norme affichée. Summary Our research analyzes the rates of acquisition of adult migrants (n=292) enrolled in a French for Professional Purpose training with linguistic objectives set on institutional standards. We were able to highlight that, with regard to institutional benchmarks, the rates of appropriation slowed down for trainees who had started with higher proficiency. In addition, it appears that the intensive training favored the development of reception skills and mastery of linguistic structures but did not support substantially the development of expressive skills. A gap remains between institutional expectations and linguistic proficiency evaluated at the end of the training, which is sometimes very much below the stated standard.
... Cognitively speaking, they argue that the mastered L1 acts as a rich cognitive reservoir which individuals are bound to make use of to understand the world, the new concepts, and approach new languages (De la Campa, & Nassaji, 2009). Likewise, advocates of the employment of the mother tongue base their claim mainly on the Linguistic Interdependence Hypothesis .It presupposes that how proficient a learner is in the first language has its significant implications on their second language acquisition, especially with regard to the literacy skills (Cummins, 1981). The supposition of interdependence is supported by research on the transfer between the MT and the FL (e.g. ...
In recent years, numerous studies have been concerned with evaluating the effectiveness of using L1 in EFL contexts. Nevertheless, there is no consensus so far on the usefulness of the use of L1 in EFL contexts. More specifically, there is a wide disagreement between scholars and researchers regarding the use of Arabic as an L1 in EFL contexts given the significant linguistic differences between Arabic and English. In light of this argument, this study is concerned with evaluating the effectiveness and usefulness of the use of L1 in EFL classes in the Saudi universities of the instructors’ perspective. Semi- structured interviews were conducted with twelve EFL instructors in four Saudi universities. Results indicated that the majority of the participants indicated that the integration of L1 in EFL classes can be usefully used to achieve a proper classroom discipline and keep the structure of the classroom activities in a way that makes the realization of the target outcomes possible. They also stressed that L1 can be used to help EFL learners develop their English language skills. They also indicated that the use of Arabic in EFL classes helps establish a good relationship with the instructor and reduces students’ stress and anxiety. It can be finally concluded that the use of Arabic serves as a useful teaching and learning tool in EFL contexts.
This chapter details findings from a study on one teacher’s Missed Linguistic Opportunities (MLOs) to address figurative language with emergent bilingual learners in the social studies classroom. The study provides insights on teacher practice rooted in a Pedagogical Language Knowledge (PLK) framework that allows us to examine how the teacher (mis)managed the instruction of abstract concepts in his linguistically diverse fifth-grade classroom. A form-function analysis of two terms highlights alternative pedagogical pathways to elicit a deeper understanding of both content and language knowledge with learners. The findings endorse the development of a PLK-noticing apparatus that can bolster teacher PLK and the associated instructional moves to anchor student understandings of abstract concepts in the social studies classroom.
In today's classrooms, teachers face increasingly diverse students who simultaneously learn and develop language across grades and disciplines. In this chapter, authors share how one teacher education program prepares candidates to promote language and literacy development for all students, with emphasis culturally and linguistically diverse students. Through a field-based curriculum, candidates spanning licensure areas build expertise to support students' language development simultaneous to disciplinary learning. In line with policy initiatives at pre-service and in-service levels, this approach spirals learning across programs to develop and deepen understandings through field-based apprenticeship with faculty, cooperating teachers, and students. This chapter uses data-driven vignettes to highlight field experiences that build candidates' expertise for supporting language and literacy development. The chapter closes with discussion and implications for preparing teachers for language and literacy in today's inclusive classrooms, as well as directions for future research.
This chapter discusses the individual differences in second language acquisition. There is some difference of opinion concerning the role of individual differences in second language acquisition. One view is that individual variation is an all-important factor—one that differentiates the process of second language acquisition from that of first language acquisition. The chapter discusses the cognitive and social strategies in second language learning. The cognitive problem facing the second language learners is an immense one. The cognitive problems are much more complex: Before the structures of the new language can be learned, the learner needs first to comprehend them. To deal with the task of learning a language that they have been largely unconcerned about learning, the children had to have some rather special cognitive and social strategies. The chapter discusses the strategies that were revealed through the interactional and linguistic records of the children. These strategies are both social strategies and the cognitive strategies.
The article described the construction of a group vocabulary test derived from the Full-Range Picture Vocabulary Test for use in a major study of students in a large school system. The adaption resulted from the need for a vocabulary comprehension test which had a fixed number of items, could be administered by teachers, and had a non-oral mode of responding in order to minimize handicaps faced by students of non-English background. Data on a sample exceeding 5,000 (from Grades 5, 7 and 9) aided in describing and comparing student groups defined by numerous other variables. The usefulness and adaptability of the FRPV for specific study requirements are noted.
Spanish and English versions of a 38-item grammar test were administered to 40 Spanish-surnamed pupils equally divided by sex at grade levels K, one, three, and five (10 subjects per grade) in a bilingual education program. The test was a revision of part of an earlier test for oral proficiency in Spanish and English. The reliability of the new test, measured by Cronbach α, was .95 for the Spanish version and .96 for the English version, but many items failed to elicit the expected grammatical constructions. English scores increased significantly with grade level, while Spanish scores varied only slightly among grade levels. Balance between mean scores on the English and Spanish versions was reached at grade three. Test subjects were also questioned about language use and preference. The relationships between reported language use and test results appeared to indicate that Spanish proficiency was determined by use of the language in the home. English proficiency showed some relationship to use with the peer group. There were no significant correlations between the English and Spanish version scores and only very slight relationships among the factors influencing them. Achievement in English thus appeared to be unrelated to the maintenance of Spanish for bilingual children.
This longitudinal study investigates the effects of five different program models on both acquisition and maintenance of Spanish by native Spanish-speaking kindergarten children. The five program models are: 1) Traditional or regular kindergarten, taught in English, with no formal English as a second language (ESL) training; 2) Traditional, with daily ESL; 3A) Bilingual, using the concurrent translation approach, no ESL; 3B) Bilingual, using the alternate immersion approach, no ESL; and 4) Bilingual, using the concurrent translation approach, with daily ESL. Interaction analysis data gathered in the bilingual classrooms indicated that balanced language use (50% Spanish, 50% English) occurred only in the alternate immersion approach, while unbalanced language use (28% Spanish, 72% English) occurred in the groups using the concurrent translation approach. Criterion language measures were administered on a pre- and posttest basis in both Spanish and English by peer testers. An instrument to measure communicative competence, designed by the investigator, was also given. Children were equated for cognitive ability and Spanish dominance. Using planned comparisons on the multivariate analysis of gain scores, it appears that bilingual treatments ((3A, 3B and 4) produced significantly greater gains in English oral comprehension than did the traditional all English treatments (1 and 2). In addition, the bilingual balanced treatment (3B) produced the greatest gains in English oral comprehension and communicative competence in Spanish and English. Finally, ESL training (2 and 4) did not facilitate English communicative competence, but may facilitate English comprehension at initial stages. As expected, treatments without ESL (1, 3A, 3B) showed significantly higher gains in Spanish vocabulary. It appears that bilingual program models with balanced language input are most facilitative for both Spanish and English acquisition by children.
This paper presents evidence for three generalizations concerning the relationship between age, rate, and eventual attainment in second language acquisition: (1) Adults proceed through early stages of syntactic and morphological development faster than children (where time and exposure are held constant). (2) Older children acquire faster than younger children (again, in early stages of morphological and syntactic development where time and exposure are held constant). (3) Acquirers who begin natural exposure to second languages during childhood generally achieve higher second language proficiency than those beginning as adults. While recent research reports have claimed to be counter to the hypothesis that there is a critical period for language acquisition, the available literature is consistent with the three generalizations presented above.