Konstantinos Kalemis: Literacy across the curriculum for the bilingual students in primary education today

Intercultural bilingual education (IBE) or bilingual intercultural education (BIE) is an intercultural and bilingual model of education designed for contexts with two (or more) cultures and languages in contact, in the typical case a dominant and an underprivileged culture. The IBE could be applied in almost any country in the world; however, it is discussed and also applied above all in Latin America, where it has been offered to indigenous people as an alternative to monolingual Hispanic education due to the efforts of indigenous movements. In recent years, it has become an important, more or less successful instrument of governmental language planning in several Latin American countries, as has been described for the case of Quechua in Peru. Will the early learning of a second language delay a child’s language development? Research has shown that bilingual children do, indeed, lag behind their monolingual peers in acquiring language, and that bilingual children display language patterns similar to monolingual language-impaired children. In particular, research that compared monolingual children with language impairment and typical second-language learners demonstrated that these two groups made similar kinds of errors in their expressive language and grammatical morphology.
Over time, bilingual children learn the differing rules governing each language. When bilingual children use cues such as word order to process and produce both languages, they come to learn how cues work within and between two languages, thereby creating a system of cues that differ from monolinguals. In short, bilingual children follow a different course of language development than monolingual children.