Language Issues and Educational Change

Part of the Kluwer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 5)


With cultural diversity comes linguistic diversity. This diversity has been created by growing rates of migration since the 1960s and by greater inter-cultural contact among nations as they try to resolve ecological and diplomatic problems together. In this chapter, Jim Cummins looks at the implications of linguistic diversity for educational change

Cummins asks what it means to provide education in a growing number of contexts which are not merely bilingual, but which serve students from many different linguistic backgrounds in classrooms and their schools. Bilingualism, linguistic immersion, heritage languages, second language learning, and transformations in the entire organization of teaching and learning to accommodate classroom populations of great diversity are among the issues that Cummins addresses.

The importance of these issues is pressed home with reference to research findings which indicate that when students lag behind in first language proficiency, they also lag behind in academic achievement and intelligence test scores despite their abilities in their own language. Failing to address the issue of linguistic diversity effectively leads to failure to capitalize on children’s academic potential. Cummins concludes with policy recommendations to address language issues as a focus for educational change, including changes in curriculum, teaching and learning, and the climate of the school.


Language Policy Linguistic Diversity Educational Change Diverse Student Bilingual Education 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Beardsmore, H. B. (1993). European models of bilingual education. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  2. Buss, M. & Laurén, C. (1995). Language immersion: Teaching and second language acquisition. From Canada to Europe. Proceedings of the University of Vaasa Research Papers. Tutkimuksia No. 192. Vaasa: The University of Vaasa.Google Scholar
  3. Byram, M., & Leman, J. (1990). (Eds.). Bicultural and trilingual education. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  4. Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (1991). Education and cultural and linguistic pluralism: Synthesis of case studies. Effective strategies and approaches in schools. Paris: OECD/CERI.Google Scholar
  5. Chamot, A.U, & O’Malley, J. M. (1994). The CALLA handbook: Implementing the cognitive academic language learning approach. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  6. Collier, V. P. (1995). Promoting academic success for ESL students: Understanding second language acquisition for school. Elizabeth, NJ: New Jersey Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.Google Scholar
  7. Collier, V. P. (1996). Age and rate of acquisition of second language for academic purposes. TESOL Quarterly, 21, 617–641.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Corson, D. (1990). Language policy across the curriculum. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  9. Crawford, J. (Ed.). (1992a). Language loyalties: A source book on the Offical English controversy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Cummins, J. (1981). Age on arrival and immigrant second language learning in Canada: A reassessment. Applied Linguistics, 2, 132–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cummins J. (1984). Bilingualism and special education: Issues in assessment and pedagogy. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  12. Cummins, J. (1996). Negotiating identities: Education for empowerment in a diverse society. Ontario, CA: California Association for Bilingual Education.Google Scholar
  13. Cummins, J., & Danesi, M. (1990). Heritage languages: The development and denial of Canada s linguistic resources]. Toronto: Our Schools Ourselves/Garamond.Google Scholar
  14. Department of Education and Science. (1985). Education for all. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  15. Dolson, D., & Lindholm, K. (1995). World class education for children in California: A comparison of the two-way bilingual immersion and European Schools model. In T. Skutnabb-Kangas (Ed.), Multilingualism for all. (pp. 69–102). Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
  16. Edwards, V., & Redfern, A. (1992). The world in a classroom: Language in education in Britain and Canada. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  17. Extra, G., & Verhoeven, L. (1993). Immigrant languages in Europe. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  18. Fordham, S. (1990). Racelessness as a factor in Black students’ school success: Pragmatic strategy or pyrrhic victory? In N. M. Hidalgo, C. L. McDowell, & E. V. Siddle (Eds.), Facing racism in education. (pp. 232–262). Reprint series No. 21, Harvard Educational Review.Google Scholar
  19. Freire, P. (1983). Banking education. In H. Giroux & D. Purpel (Eds.), The hidden curriculum and moral education: Deception or discovery? Berkeley, CA: McCutcheon Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
  20. Garcia, E. (1991). Education of linguistically and culturally diverse students: Effective instructional practices. Educational Practice report 1. Santa Cruz: The National Center for research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning.Google Scholar
  21. Gibson, M. A., & Ogbu, J. U. (Ed.). (1991). Minority status and schooling: A comparative study of immigrant and involuntary minorities. New York: Garland Publishing.Google Scholar
  22. Gonzalez, L. A. (1986). The effects of first language education on the second language and academic achievement of Mexican immigrant elementary school children in the United States. Doctoral dissertation submitted to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Google Scholar
  23. Goodlad, J. I. (1984). A place called school: Prospects for the future. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  24. Hajer, M. (1994). Learning through a second language: Insights from classroom research. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  25. Harley, B., Allen, P., Cummins, J., & Swain, M. (Eds.). (1990). The development of second language proficiency. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Hopkins, D. S. (1987). Improving the quality of schooling. Lewes, England: The Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  27. Jaspaert, K., & Kroon, S. (Eds.) (1991). Ethnic minority languages and education. Amsterdam/Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
  28. Klesmer, H. (1994). Assessment and teacher perceptions of ESL student achievement. English Quarterly, 26(3), 8–11.Google Scholar
  29. Krashen, S. (1996). Under attack: The case against bilingual education. Los Angeles: Language Education Associates.Google Scholar
  30. Lucas, T., Henze, R., & Donato, R. (1990). Promoting the success of Latino lanuage-minority students: An exploratory study of six high schools. Harvard Educational Review, 60, 315–340.Google Scholar
  31. Ogbu, J. U. (1978). Minority education and caste. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  32. Ogbu, J. U. (1992). Understanding cultural diversity and learning. Educational Researcher, 21(8), 5–14 & 24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Olsen, L., & Minnicucci, C. (1992, April). Educating limited English proficient students in secondary schools: Critical issues emerging from research in California schools. Paper presented at the American Education Research Association annual conference, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  34. Ortiz, A. A. & Yates, J. R. (1983). Incidence of exceptionality among Hispanics: Implications for manpower planning. NABE Journal, 7, 41–54.Google Scholar
  35. Ramirez, J. D. (1992). Executive summary. Bilingual Research Journal, 16, 1–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Reid, E., & Reich, H. (Eds.) (1992). Breaking the boundaries: Migrant workers’ children in the EC Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  37. Ruiz, R. (1988). Orientations in language planning. In S. L. McKay & S. C. Wong (Eds.), Language diversity: Problem or resource? (pp. 3–25). New York: Newbury House.Google Scholar
  38. Runfors, A., & Sjögren, A. (1994). Language, dominance, and resistance: An ethnological perspective on teaching and learning Swedish in an immigrant environment in Sweden. Migration, 23/24, 293–314.Google Scholar
  39. Schlesinger, A. Jr. (1991). The disuniting of America. New York: WW. Norton.Google Scholar
  40. Sirotnik, K. A. (1983). What you see is what you get — consistency, persistency, and mediocrity in classrooms. Harvard Educational Review, 53, 16–31.Google Scholar
  41. Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (Ed.) (1995). Multilingualism for all. Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
  42. Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (in press). Bilingual education for Finnish minority students in Sweden. In J. Cummins & D. Corson (Eds.), Bilingual education. New York: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  43. Skutnabb-Kangas, T., & Cummins, J. (Eds.). (1988). Minority education: From shame to struggle. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  44. Skutnabb-Kangas, T. & Phillipson, R. (Eds.) (1994). Linguistic human rights. Berlin: Mouton de Gru-yter.Google Scholar
  45. Snow, D. E. & Hoefnagel-Höhle, M. (1978). The critical period for language acquisition: Evidence from second language learning. Child Development, 49, 1114–1128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stedman, L. C. (1987). It’s time we changed the effective schools formula. Phi Delta Kappan, 69, 215–224.Google Scholar
  47. Swain, M., & Lapkin, S. (1982). Evaluating bilingual education. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  48. Teunissen, F (1992). Equality of educational opportunity for children from ethnic minority communities. In E. Reid & H. Reich (Eds.), Breaking the boundaries: Migrant workers’ children in the EC. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  49. Thomas, W P., & Collier, V. P. (1995). Language minority student achievement and program effectiveness. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education.Google Scholar
  50. Tower Hamlets Education, (no date). Tower Hamlets language policy. London: Borough of Tower Hamlets.Google Scholar
  51. Verhoeven, L. (1994). Transfer in bilingual development: The linguistic interdependence hypothesis revisited. Language Learning, 44, 381–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ontario Institute for Studies in EducationUniversity of TorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations