DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU


Module Specifications

Archived Version 2020 - 2021

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module will introduce students to current research and theoretical frameworks in relation to linguistic and cultural diversity in early childhood settings. Students will develop a critical awareness of the influence of cultural and linguistic diversity on children’s early educational development. It will explore the acquisition of first (L1) and second (L2) languages from birth to six years, and will examine the various ways in which early childhood education programmes can respond to the learning needs and preferences of young children from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The themes of celebrating cultural and linguistic diversity and equality approaches in early childhood education will be explored, and will include pedagogical and interactional approaches to the promotion of language development in diverse settings. Students will develop an emerging understanding of how to use a range of strategies within the context of Aistear, including play, storytelling, formulaic expressions, rhymes and songs, drama, communicative games and dialogue, in order to foster rich language interactions and promote language learning opportunities for all children. A particular focus will be placed on language education within the Irish-medium immersion pre-school setting- naíonraí.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate an appreciation of cultural and linguistic diversity in early education settings and strategies to best promote language learning of children from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds.
2. Demonstrate an awareness of the differing needs of L1 and L2 language learners in early education settings and explicitly differentiate pedagogies to best promote language acquisition and language learning for L1 and L2 learners, including children with special educational needs and children in diverse learning contexts.
3. Identify, assess and evaluate the stages of language acquisition in first (L1) and second (L2) languages
4. Employ a range of strategies with particular emphasis on the integrated nature of language learning within a balanced framework for early childhood education
5. Develop an understanding of the key theoretical constructs and practices of Irish-medium immersion early childhood education/ the key theoretical constructs underpinning plurilingual language acquisition
6. Develop an understanding of the key theoretical constructs and practices of Irish-medium immersion early childhood education/ the key theoretical constructs underpinning plurilingual language acquisition

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Assessment Feedback36No Description
Independent Study65No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

1. The acquisition of first (L1) and second (L2) language L1
L1 (Mother tongue) a. 6-8 weeks: twittering (playing with sounds/ identifiable sounds up to 8 months) b. 6-12 months: babbling c. 12 -18 months: one word (Mama/ Dada/ hot/te) d. 18 months + two words (sock on, daddy car, daidí imi(the), ‘sé gaofar…) e. 24 - 36 months (Moving from telegraphic speech to full sentences) L2 (in immersion settings) a. Child continues to speak L1 b. Child begins to understand L2 but doesn’t speak it: The Silent Period c. Child begins to repeat L2 with the setting and uses L2 privately d. Child begins to use L2 through songs, rhymes, formulaic expressions e. Child begins to construct sentences in L2 f. Child begins to use L2 with practitioner

2. Theories of language learning
Chomsky, Skinner, Vygotsky, Bruner

3. Language methodology
Communicative Approach/ Immersion Education Settings

4. Strategies to promote language learning within the context of Aiste
a. Play b. Storytelling c. Formulaic expressions d. Rhymes and songs e. Drama f. Communicative games g. Dialogue

5. Bilingualism and Multilingualism
Cummins/ Hickey/ Ó Laoire/ Mhic Mhathúna

6. The development of literacy skills in immersion settings
a. Print-rich environment b. Big books c. Read alouds d. Shared, interactive literacy activities

7. Assessment
a. Observation b. Recording

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Colin Baker: 2006, Foundations of Bilingual Education And Bilingualism, 4th, 19, Multilingual Matters Limited, UK, 185359864X
  • Iram Siraj-Blatchford and Priscilla Clarke: 2000, Supporting identity, diversity, and language in the early years, 7, Open University Press, 2000., Buckingham, 0335204341
  • Lynne Cameron: 2001, Teaching languages to young learners, 1st, 11, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 0521774349
  • Jim Cummins: 2000, Language, power, and pedagogy, 1st, 10, Multilingual Matters, Clevedon [England], 1853594733
  • edited by David K. Dickinson and Patton O. Tabors; [forward by Sue Bredekamp]: 2001, Beginning literacy with language, 1st, 13, P.H. Brookes Pub. Co., Baltimore, Md., 155766479X
  • Patsy M. Lightbown and Nina Spada: 2006, How languages are learned, 3rd, 7, Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 0194422240
  • Annamaria Pinter: 2006, Teaching young language learners, 3rd, 11, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 0194422070
  • Olivia N. Saracho (Editor), Bernard Spodek (Editor): 2010, Contemporary Perspectives on Language and Cultural Diversity in Early Childhood Education, 1st, Information Age Publishing, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1607524163
  • Patton O. Tabors: 2008, One Child, Two Languages, 2nd, 11, Paul H Brookes Publishing, Baltimore, USA, 155766921X
  • Marian Whitehead: 2009, Supporting Language and Literacy Development in the Early Years, 2nd, 7, Open University Press, 0335234275
Other Resources

0, Website, 0, Aistear, 1. http://www.ncca.ie/en/Curriculum_and_Assessment/Early_Childhood_and_Primary_Education/Early_Childhood_Education/Aistear_Toolkit/Aistear_Toolkit.html, 0, Website, 0, Naíonraí, 2. https://www.naionrai.ie/, 0, Website, 0, Early Childhood Ireland, 3. http://www.earlychildhoodireland.ie/, 0, Website, 0, Naíonraí, 4. http://www.gaelport.com/nanaionraigaelachaeng, 0, Website, 0, Gaelscoileanna, 5. http://www.gaelscoileanna.ie/, 0, Website, 0, Irish-medium Early Years Projects, 6. http://www.altram.org/, 0, Website, 0, Welsh-medium Early Years Provision, 7. http://www.meithrin.co.uk/home/,
Programme or List of Programmes