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Theoretical Framework

I. Principles Underlying Successful Bilingual Programs

 The bilingual program fits the demographic realities and resources of the school community, that is, it is contextually-appropriate,
 The bilingual program is based on a theoretical framework that makes explicit the value placed on bilingualism, biliteracy, and multiculturalism in developing children's humanpotential as well as in promoting second language acquisition and academic achievement,
 The goal is bilingualism versus monolingualism by the end of 5th grade (Texas TW BE Publicity Information), that is, the development of biliteracy (literacy in two languages), biculturalism (knowledge of two cultures) and acquisition of academic content via two languages,
 Program sets high expectations,equitable education, and equality power and status for all students alike and is accountable to the population to which it serves,
 Program equally values, validates and incorporates both languages in the curriculum with the goal to acquire bilingual and biliteracy skills, that is, it is composed of an additive bilingual environment,
 Program is articulated with the whole school curriculum,
Core academics are emphasized as well as instructional excellence (Thomas and Collier, 1997),
 Program provides academically challenging curriculum, and adapts programs to the needs of the students,
 Bilingual curriculum provides continuity in the program from grade to grade,
 The school’s curricular and instructional practices are designed so that students maintain their culture whilelearning English; all of the school’s resources are dedicated to supporting this goal,
 A separation of languages exists for instructional purposes (the two languages do not integrate during instructional time) (Thomas and Collier, 1997),
 Emphasis is on the minority language in the early grades (Thomas and Collier, 1997);
 Program has a stable core of bilingual teachers who believe in thechanges taking place and understand the process and its goals, who have consensus on language distribution to successfully implement the proposed program, who are well-prepared in bilingual education methodologies and use of instructional strategies, and who are updated in bilingual education policies and regulations,
 Program is embedded in a learning environment that values bilingualism and viewsthe community as a valuable resource,
 Parents have a positive relationship with the program and are actively involved in their child’s education due to the incorporation of their respective language and culture throughout the program.
Thus, the factors that trigger bilingual program failure may include among others:
 Early exit in bilingual education model,
 Lack of coherence and continuityin program design,
 Lack of administrative support,
 Lack of thorough administrative leadership,
 Lack of sufficient and appropriate resources,
 Inadequately trained and unqualified teachers,
 Lack of parental involvement,
 Low school morale and presence of differential power and status between and among the students,
 Conflicting interpretations of program goals and requirementsamong and between members of the school community.


II. Theories of Language Acquisition and Development

(1) The “developmental interdependence” hypothesis: the development of skills in a second language is facilitated by skills already developed in the first language. According to this theory, children must learn to read and write in their native tongue, and learn subject matter in theirnative tongue to facilitate L2 literacy and academic development (Cummins 1980a, 1980b);
(2) The “transfer” hypothesis: Literacy skills and development transfer across languages; when we learn to read in L1, we learn to read in general;
(3) The “climate of full cognitive development” is crucial in the development of a second language. Children may not reach full proficiency in the second...
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