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Meeting the needs and supporting bilingual children is an essential role for a primary teacher. When a bilingual child first comes into a teacher’s classroom, it is important for you to find them a ‘buddy’ that they can talk to, or if they are not comfortable talking, just listen to. This not only benefits the bilingual child, but there are also cognitive benefits for monolingual learners who work with bilingual learners and good practice for bilingual learners is good practice for all learners. In my role as a primary teacher, I need to ensure that I am supporting bilingual learners at all times as well as supporting all other children in my classroom. It is important to ensure that everyone in the classroom knows what is happening throughout[A7] every lesson.Cummins (1976) refers to ‘The Threshold Theory’ which describes the relationship between cognition and the level of bilingualism. The theory is represented as a house which has three floors and two ‘linguistic’ ladders, representing L1 and L2, on each side. The further up they are on the ladders and floors, the greater chance the children have of being bilingual and obtaining cognitive advantages. As well as this, Cummins (1980, 1981) uses an ‘Iceberg Analogy’ and describes a common underlying proficiency between the first language (L1) and the second language (L2). Cummins explains that when using two or more languages, there is a common source where ideas come from meaning that individuals can use two or more language with ease. Listening, reading, speaking and writing in the L1 or L2 helps to develop the cognitive system however the language that the learner uses must be well developed in order to be able to process the cognitive challenges of the classroom.


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