Rethinking the Education of Multilingual Learners: A Critical Analysis of Theoretical Concepts

Author: Jim Cummins

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Paperback, Ebook(PDF), Ebook(EPUB)
Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
234mm x 156mm
Price: £99.95
Price: $139.95
Price: €119.95

Over the past 40 years, Jim Cummins has originated theories including the interdependence hypothesis, the common underlying proficiency and the distinction between conversational and academic language proficiency, which have had a profound and long-lasting effect on the education of multilingual learners across the world. In this book he traces the development and impact of these theories, and addresses the critiques they have received and their subsequent implications for his thinking and the application of his theories in classrooms and in policy. In discussing his own theories, Jim Cummins develops a schema for evaluating theoretical concepts –  empirical adequacy, logical coherence, and consequential validity – and applies these to current translanguaging theories, evaluating which theory meets the criteria of theoretical legitimacy more adequately.

In this book, Jim Cummins not only presents his ideas and writings, giving insights into their origins and evolution, but importantly, he answers his critics. The volume provides an up-to-date analysis of translanguaging, considering its strengths and its criticisms, and offers practical translanguaging ideas for classrooms and curriculum activities. This book is Jim Cummins' finest contribution to the literature.

Colin Baker, Emeritus Professor, Bangor University, UK

Jim Cummins is Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto, Canada and has spent the past 40 years researching and working with multilingual learners across the world. His controversial theoretical distinction between conversational versus academic language proficiency is a key topic in pre-service and professional development related to the education of multilingual students who are learning the language of instruction.

Lily Wong Fillmore

Series Editor's Preface


Part I: Evolution of a Theoretical Framework: A Personal Account

Chapter 1. Core Ideas and Background Influences

Chapter 2. Resolving Contradictions: Cognitive Consequences of Bilingualism

Chapter 3. Linguistic Interdependence: Accounting for Patterns of Bilingual Academic Development

Chapter 4. Language Proficiency and Academic Achievement

Chapter 5. Power Relations in School: Constructing or Constricting Identities?

Chapter 6. Reversing Underachievement: An Integrated Framework

Part II: Critical Analysis of Competing Theoretical Claims

Chapter 7. How Do We Assess the Legitimacy of Theoretical Constructs and Claims?

Chapter 8. Is 'Academic Language' a Legitimate Theoretical Construct?

Chapter 9. Are 'Linguistic Interdependence' and the 'Common Underlying Proficiency' Legitimate Theoretical Constructs?

Chapter 10. Unitary Translanguaging Theory and Crosslinguistic Translanguaging Theory: A Comparative Analysis

Part III.  Instructional Practice in Dialogue with Theoretical Concepts

Chapter 11. Teachers as Knowledge Generators: Learning from Inspirational Pedagogy

Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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