Featured Speaker: Jim Cummins, Ph.D.

Dr. Jim Cummins
Tenured Professor
Modern Language Centre in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

Dr. Cummins' ground-breaking research has focused on the nature of language proficiency and literacy development of learners of English as an additional or second language.

In recent years, he has been involved in a variety of research projects to develop multilingual and multicultural approaches to promoting ESL students' academic engagement and success. He particularly emphasizes the social and educational barriers that limit academic success for culturally diverse students.


1. Setting the Context for the Presentation and Purpose

"The contradictions California faces in regards to Bilingual education (policy, public perception, direct leadership by administrators and teachers, etc.)... Leadership starts with individual teachers... when [they] walk in the classroom door, [they] have choices."

2. What Do We Mean by "Empowerment"?

"Empowerment is a word that is being debased in many ways... it is important to define this term... if we know what it means... it opens up perspectives in terms of where we need to go."

3. Power Relations Framework: Macro-interactions

"[The framework discussed in Negotiating Identity] Frames where we are and highlights the fact that If we are going to talk about empowerment, it is important to talk about power relationships..."

4. The Pedagogical Divide

"One of the things that has always been there... working class kids, low-income kids, racial and/or minorities tend to experience forms of pedagogy that are different in many respects by those [that] affluent kids [do]. I've called this and others have called this the pedagogical divide."

5. Behaviorism in Action

"One of the things... teachers have talked about... teachers have been told to get any books they have in their class library... to get rid of them because they are interfering with the operation of the basal series."

6. Pedagogical Assumptions

"When we have curriculum that students can relate to, in terms of the topics, where their lives are reflected and can be taught about in relation to the topics that they are reading about, intelligence comes alive."

7. School-Based Choice Template for Planning Literacy Instruction

"The change process can happen at the school level. What we need to do is look at key elements of our practice, and ask ourselves, 'where are we now?' and 'where would we like to be?'"

8. Defining Our Identity as an Educational Community

"I am going to suggest that literacy engagement is a key variable to focus on; and the first question to ask, in terms of school change, is to what extent from the day the student walks into kindergarten are they engaged with literacy?"

9. Language and Learning: Scaffolding and Language

"These are the kinds of things that are important that are part and parcel of sheltered instruction... [and] all of the other programs that focus on making input comprehensible."

10. Identity Negotiation: Key to Empowerment

"The 'Blue Eyed, Brown Eyed' experiment by Jane Elliot is an interesting reflection and demonstration of just how powerful the way identities are negotiated can be in terms of student sense of self and how well they think that they can succeed and the effort they are going to put into learning."

11. Student Products

"You can use various kinds of technology tools to do this [such as] Google Language tools or Babelfish... to work with him or her to come up with an... English piece of writing that reflects his (or her) intelligence and allows him or her to create a book that has both languages represented here..."

12. Identity Texts

"One of the core elements in this are called identity texts... They refer to artifacts that students produce... the students take ownership of these artifacts as [they have] invested their identities in them."

13. School-based Choice Template for Planning Literacy Instruction<

"The change process can happen at the school level. What we need to do is to look at key elements of our key practice. And ask ourselves, Where are we now? And where would we like to be?”