Subject Name

Foundations of Bilingual Education


Master in Bilingual Education
ECTS Credits
Year and four month period
First year, first four month period
Type of subject Compulsory


The main aim of this subject is to teach students the theoretical background of the different bilingual programs and its historical evolution up to the XXI century so they become fully aware of the tradition upholding the bilingual educational systems implemented in the national territory, Spain. In order to achieve these premises, one of the main focuses of the subject will be the maturation and transformation of the distinct methodologies and approaches to second and foreign language teaching.

The theoretical background encompasses the psychological and cognitive foundations together with the social basics that have contributed to the progress of bilingualism, moreover special emphasis will be made on the different linguistic policies that take place along the various autonomous regions that make up the country. The legislation concerning foreign language teaching and its role on the development of the curriculum will be analyzed as well.

As a consequence of all that, at the end of the course students will be able to distinguish the divergent teaching methods that originated the contemporary bilingual situation, as well as the bases of the European and national linguistic policies, their institutions, law and objectives. They will also be able to understand the differences that may emerge in teaching practice in regard to theory.


Basic Competences

  • BC6. Achieve and understand the knowledge that provides a base and an opportunity to be original in the development and implementation of the ideas, often in a research context.
  • BC7. That the students are able to apply the knowledge acquired and their ability to solve the problems in new or not very well known environments among wider contexts (or multidisciplinary) related to their field of study.
  • BC8. That the students are able to integrate knowledge and face the complexity of judging from an information, that being incomplete or limited, includes reflections about the social and ethic responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgements.
  • BC9. That the students know how to communicate their conclusions and knowledge and reasons that support them to specialized and non-specialized audiences in a clear and unequivocal way.
  • BC10. That the students have the abilities to learn that allow them to continue studying in such a way that will be self-directed or self-sufficient.

General Competences

  • GC1. Know the specific problems of teaching in a foreign language both linguistically and culturally, in an environment of bilingual education.
  • GC2. Develop skills to promote an atmosphere that ease learning and interaction among students.
  • GC4. Understand the legislation and regulations concerning the organization and management of bilingual centers.
  • GC8. Be competent users of L2 in all the skills necessary for teaching.

Specific Competences

  • SC7. Add new teaching strategies and new information technologies to bilingual education for the design of new learning environments in the classroom.
  • SC11. Develop and implement teaching methodologies adapted to the diversity of students in a bilingual environment.
  • SC12. Be able to foster the application of different techniques and procedures to develop the students’ abilities.
  • SC13. Know and apply the advantages of the communicative approach and task-based learning for linguistic interaction in two languages.
  • SC14. Integrate training in audiovisual and multimedia communication in the teaching and learning process.

Transversal competences

  • TC1. Analyze reflexively and criticize the most important issues of today's society for a coherent decision-making.
  • TC2. Identify new technologies as teaching tools for communication exchange in the development of processes of investigation and group learning.
  • TC3. Apply the knowledge and skills acquired by the studies to real cases and in an environment of workgroups in companies or organizations.
  • TC4. Acquire the ability to work independently, promoting the organization and encouraging independent learning.


Unit 1. Introduction to Bilingualism
Definitions and classifications of bilingualism
Second language learning and measurement
Common European Framework of Reference
Bibliographical references

Unit 2. Basics of Bilingualism Education
Introduction to bilingual education
Main dichotomies in bilingual education
Schmidt’s “Noticing Hypothesis”
Bibliographical references

Unit 3. The bilingual speaker
Bilingual competence
Bilingual speech
Similarities and differences between L1 and L2 learning

Unit 4. Psychological foundations of bilingualism
The role of brain
Nativist and connectionist theories
Chomsky’s Universal Grammar and L.A.D
C.P.H and the role of age in language learning
The threshold theory

Unit 5. Sociocultural aspects of bilingualism
Language as a social semiotic system
The role of context in SFL
Systemic Functional Linguistics and education

Unit 6. Methods and approaches to bilingual teaching: twentieth century
History of language teaching
Oral approach
Audiolingual method

Unit 7. Methods and approaches to bilingual teaching: alternative approaches
Total Physical Response
Silent way

Unit 8. Methods and approaches to bilingual teaching: current communicative methods
Content-based instruction
Task-based language teaching

Unit 9. Bilingualism in practice: the case of North America
Multilingual societies
Canada and the United States

Unit 10. Bilingualism in practice: the case of Latin America
Multilingualism and bilingual education in Latin America

Unit 11. Bilingualism in practice: the case of Europe
How to study this unit?
Eurydice reports
Case studies

Unit 12. Bilingualism in Spain
Monolingual communities
Bilingual communities
Current perspectives on bilingualism in Spain

Unit 13. Bilingual legislation in Spain and the bilingual department
Bilingual Spanish legislation
The bilingual department



The different tasks and activities programmed during the semester have been developed with the goal of adapting the learning process to the different capabilities, necessities and interests of the students.

The activities included in the subject are:

  • Assignments.In your weekly program you will see the different kind of tasks designed for the course such as practice cases, research, critical thinking and, also, you will find information about how to complete them and when to send them to your teacher.
  • Participation in events. During the course you will be participating in different events. Some of those events are attendance to online classes, forums, self-evaluation tests.

In the weekly program you can find the specific tasks you need to complete in this subject.
Descarga el pdf de la programación

TThese activities are combined with the following aspects:

  • Personal Study
  • Tutoring. The tutoring class can be implemented through different tools and means. During the course of the subject, the teacher-tutor plans the individual tutoring on specific days for the resolution of academic-oriented doubts through “Consultation sessions”. Supplementing these sessions, students have also available the “Ask your teacher” forum through which they can formulate questions and check the corresponding answers on general aspects of the subject.  Due to the very nature of the media used, there are no fixed schedules for the students.
  • Mandatory on-site final exam

The hours dedicated to each activity are detailed as follows:

Attendance to virtual classes       15,0  
Master lessons
Basic material study       50,0  
Additional resources readings       25,0  
Task and practice cases and self-evaluation test       29,0  
Tutoring       16,0  
Collaborative work, forums, debates, etc.       7,0  
Attendance to the exam

You can personalize your study plan choosing the type of activity that best matches your profile. The tutor will advise you and help you elaborate your study plan. S/he will always be available to guide throughout the course.


Basic bibliography

The section Basic Bibliography is essential for the course. If any document (reading, article,…) is not available in the virtual classroom, you will have to find it by other means: UNIR bookshop, virtual library…

The necessary texts for the study of this subject had been elaborated by UNIR and are available in a digital format for consultation, download and print in the virtual classroom.

Unit 1

  • Hoffman. C. (1997). Individual Bilingualism. In Author, An Introduction to Bilingualism. London: Longman.

Available at the virtual campus with a CEDRO* license.

 Unit 2

  • Dörnvei, Z. (2009).Pshycological processes in language acquisition II: explicit vs. implicit learning. In Author, The psychology of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Available at the virtual campus with a CEDRO license.

  • Baker, C. (1997). Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Available at the virtual campus with a CEDRO* license.

Unit 3

  • Hoffman. C. (1997). Individual Bilingualism. In Author, An Introduction to Bilingualism. London: Longman.

Available at the virtual campus with a CEDRO* license.

 Unit 4

  • Dörnyei. Z. (2010). Psychological processes in language acquisition I: symbolic vs. connectionist accounts. In Author, The Psychology of Second Language Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Available at the virtual campus with a CEDRO* license.

 Unit 5

  • Painter, C. (2009). Language Development. In J. Webster & M.A.K. Halliday (Eds.), Continuum Companion to Systemic Functional Linguistics. Londres: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Available at the virtual campus with a CEDRO* license.

Unit 6

  • Richards, J.C. & Rodgers, T. S. (2014). A brief history of early development in language teaching. In Authors, Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Available at the virtual campus with a CEDRO* license

Unit 7

  • Richards, J.C. & Rodgers, T. S. (2014). Total Physical Response. In Authors, Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Available at the virtual campus with a CEDRO* license

 Unit 8

  • Ellis, R. (2009). Task-based language teaching: sorting out the misunderstanding. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 3 (19), 223-237.

Available at the virtual campus with a CEDRO* license

  • Arribas, M. (2010). Looking at CLIL: Teacher’s views, learners’ attitudes and vocabulary outcomes (Master’s thesis). Universidad de La Rioja.

 Unit 9

  • Mackey, W. F. (2006). Bilingualism in North America. In T. J. Bathia & W. C. Ritchie (Eds), The Handbook of Bilingualism. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Available at the virtual campus with a CEDRO* license

Unit 10

  • Tabouret-Keller, A. (2006). Bilingualism in Europe. In T. J. Bathia. & W. C. Ritchie, The Handbook of Bilingualism. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Available at the virtual campus with a CEDRO* license

 Unit 11

Unit 12

  • Cano, W. (2013). Manual CLIL para Centros Bilingües. Logroño: Universidad Internacional de La Rioja.        

* This work is protected by copyright and its reproduction and public communication, in the available modality, have been authorized by CEDRO. It is forbidden its subsequent reproduction, distribution and public communication in any form or by any means, except one printed reproduction by each authorized user.

Additional bibliography

You can also find useful information in these reference books.

Bloomfield, L. (1933). Language. New York: Holt.

Diebold, A.R. (1964). Incipient Bilingualism. In D. Hymes, et al. Language in Culture and Society. New York: Harper and Row.

Hansegard, N. E. (1975). Tvasprakighet eller halvsprakighet? Stockholm: Aldus.

Meara, P. (1983). Word Associations in a Foreign Language. Retrieved from:  

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (1981). Bilingualism or Not: The Education of Minorities. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Mackey, W. F. (1978). The importation of bilingual education models. In J. Alatis (ed.) Georgetown University Roundtable: International Dimensions of Education. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press.


Evaluation and assessment

The evaluation system is based on the following numerical chart:

0 - 4, 9



5,0 - 6,9



7,0 - 8,9



9,0 - 10



The grade is made up of two components:


On-site final exam (60%). At the end of the semester, you need to assist a mandatory on-site final exam. You need to pass the final exam so the grade obtained from the assignments (continuous assessment) is summed up to the final grade of the subject. 

Continuous assessment (40%): this type of assessment will be measured through the different assignments you need to complete during the course:

    • Active participation and involvement in forums, online classes.
    • Tasks. The completion of the different activities the students need to send through our virtual classroom such as research, critical thinking, practice cases.
    • Self-evaluation tests. At the end of each unit, students will find a short quiz which will help the students to check the knowledge acquired during the course.

Remember that you can check the points (value) of each assignment in the weekly program.

Take into account that the sum of the grades of the assignments included in the continuous assessment is 6 points. You can fulfil as many as you want to a maximun of 4 points (which is the max. grade that you could acomplish in the continuous assessment). In the weekly program, you can find the grade of each assignment.

Assessment method

Min. Score

Max. Score

Participation in forums, classes, etc.



Task, practice cases and activities



Self-evaluation test



On-site final exam




Bear in mind…
That if you decide to only take the final exam, you will need to have 5 points out of 6 to pass the subject. .


Eva Ampuero López

Education: BA in Education. MA in Teaching English as a Second Language.

Professional experience: Prof. Eva Ampuero combines teaching English, Arts & Crafts, Natural Science and Social Sciences at a the Nuestra Señora de Valvanera Primary School, and at the same time coordinates the teaching staff.

Lines of research: Teaching methodology. CLIL.


Orientación para el estudio

Studying online means you can organize your study as you wish, as long as you meet the due dates of the different assignments (activities, tasks and tests). In order to help you, we propose the following steps:

  1. From our online platform you will have access to each of the subjects you are enrolled. Apart from this, the virtual classroom of Lo que necesitas saber antes de empezar (All you need to know before starting). In this section, you have available all the documents on how to use the different tools included in the virtual classroom, how a subject is organized and you will also have the possibility to organize your study plan with the tutor.
  2. Do not forget to check the weekly program. You will see which part of the content of the course you have to work on every week.
  3. After knowing your work for the week, go to Temas in your virtual classroom. There, you will have access to the study material (theory and practice) from the unit you need to study throughout the week.
  4. Start by reading the Key ideas of each unit, there you will find the specific study material and it will help you understand the most important points of the unit. Afterwards, check out the sections Specially Recommended and More Information where you will find more resources in order to deepen on the topic of the unit. .
  5. Devote some time to the practical cases and tasks in the subject (assignments and test). Remember that in your weekly program you find all the information related to the schedule for each assignment and the maximum grade you can obtain in each of them.
  6. We strongly recommend you to participate in the Events of the course (online classes, forums….). To know the precise schedule of the events, you need to check the communications tools in the virtual platform. Your teacher and tutor will inform you on the updates of the course.
In the virtual classroom of Lo que necesitas saber antes de empezar (All you need to know before starting) you will always find available information on the structure of the units and information on their sections

Remember that in Lo que necesitas saber antes de empezar (All you need to know before starting) you can check how the different tools of the virtual classroom work: email, forum, online classes, sending the tasks, etc.

Please, take into account the following tips…

  • Whatever you study plan is, go often to the virtual classroom so that you are always up to date about the course and you are in contact with your teacher and your tutor.
  • Remember you are not alone: send an email to your tutor if you have any doubt. If you attend the online classes, you can also ask your teacher about the contents of the unit. Also, you can always write your doubts and questions about  the contents in the Forum of each subject (Ask the teacher).
  • Be active and participate!  Whenever it is possible, attend the online classes and take part in the forums. The exchange of information, opinions, ideas and resources enrich us and the course.
  • And, remember, you are studying online: your effort and perseverance are the key element to obtain good results. Don’t leave everything to the last minute!!!