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Curriculum, Teaching  & Learning
James Cummins

James Cummins
Professor Emeritus

phone: (416) 978-0269

Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Centre for Educational Research on Languages and Literacies

Research Overview

Dr. James Cummins is a Professor with the department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at OISE. Dr. Cummins holds a Canada Resarch Chair (Tier 1) and has been a recipient of the International Reading Association's Albert J. Harris award (1979). He also received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from the Bank Street College of Education in New York City (1997).

In recent years, he has been a co-investigator on a large-scale SSHRC-funded project entitled "From Literacy to Multiliteracies: Designing Learning Environments for Knowledge Generation within the New Economy." He is currently involved in a project to validate the Ontario Ministry of Education's Steps to English Proficiency assessment tool. He is also conducting a research review on English Language Learners' academic trajectories.

Dr. Cummins has co-authored several books on literacies in education, and has seen his work translated into Japanese and Spanish.

Curriculum Vitae

Academic History

Ph.D. University of Alberta, Educational Psychology, 1974.
Diploma Applied Psychology, The National University of Ireland, 1971.
B.A. Psychology, National University of Ireland (first class honours), 1970.

Teaching Overview

Dr. Cummins has taught the following courses at OISE:

• CTL3999 - Special Topics: Research Seminar in Multiliteracies Pedagogy (2009)
• CTL3000H - Foundations of Bilingual and Multicultural Education (2005 – 2009)
• CTL 3015 - Research Seminar on Second Language Literacy Education (2002-2005)
• CTL 3008 - Critical Pedagogy, Language and Cultural Diversity (2000-2010)
• CTL 3999 - Special Topics in Second Language Program: Computer-Supported Approaches to Academic Language Learning (2003-2004)

Representative Publications


Cummins, J., Brown, K., & Sayers, D. (2007). Literacy, technology, and diversity: Teaching for success in changing times. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Cummins, J., Danesi, M., Nakajima, K., Takagaki, T. (2005). Heritage languages. (In Japanese: Translation of J. Cummins and M. Danesi [1990] Heritage languages: The development and denial of Canada’s linguistic resources).

Cummins, J. (2003). Lenguaje, poder y pedagogia. Ninos y ninas bilingues entre dos fuegos. (Language, power, and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire.) Madrid: Ediciones Morata, S.L.y Ministerio de Educacion, Cultura y Deporte. (translated by Pablo Manzano).

Research Grants and Contracts

Dr. Cummins has been awarded the following grants and research contracts:

• 2009 – 2010 Evaluation of the Mandarin-English Transition Program. Contract awarded by the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, $69,000 (PIs Jim Cummins and Becky Chen Bumgardner).
• 2009 – 2010 Evaluation of the Arabic-English Transition Program. Contract awarded by the Greater Essex County District School Board, $25,000 (PIs Jim Cummins and Becky Chen Bumgardner).
• 2008 – 2009 Validation of Steps to English Proficiency (STEP). (Co-investigator Dr. E. Jang [OISE]). Ontario Ministry of Education, Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat. ($96,000).
• 2007 – 2008 Literacy Attainment among Newcomer Students. (Co-investigators Dr. Eunice Jang [OISE] and Dr. Margaret Early [UBC]). Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. ($30,770).
• 2006 – 2007 New Voices for New Times: The Changing Face of Literacy in Canadian Schools (Co-investigator: Professor Barbara Evans) SSHRC INE Outreach Grant ($29,161)
• 2006 – 2011 Canada Research Chair (CRC) (Tier 1) (Jim Cummins) in Language Learning and Literacy Development in Multilingual Contexts. ($1million+ including Canadian Foundation for Innovation [CFI] funds).

Honours and Awards

Dr. Cummins has won a number of international academic awards:

• 2008 Seamus Heaney Lecture: Diverse Futures: Immigration, Education, and Identity in Changing Times. St. Patrick’s College, Dublin Ireland. November 17, 2008.
• 2008 R.H. B. Jackson Lecture: Brave New Schools: Identity and Power in Canadian Education. Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. November 11, 2008.
• 2005 Joan Pedersen Memorial Distinguished Lecture: Diverse Futures: Rethinking the Image of the Child in Canadian Schools. Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario, April 26, 2005

Professional Activities

Dr. Cummins holds a number of editorial positons with various psychology journals:

• "Cultura & Educaciσn" ( (2009 - present)
• Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners (2008 - present)
• Education, Citizenship and Social Justice (2005 – present)
• Critical Inquiry in Language Studies (2004 - present)
• RELC Journal (2003 - present)
• The International Journal of Multilingualism (2003 - present)

He's also sat on a number of advisory committees:

• Member of the Advisory Board of the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages (2008 – 2010).
• Member of the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario Advisory Committee on the development of a Web Based Teaching Tool (WBTT), (2005 - 2007).
• Member of the National Advisory Committee for the Project to Develop an Online Self-assessment Tool Aligned to the Canadian Language Benchmarks 1-10. (2005-2006).
• Member of Inner City Schools Task Force Committee, Toronto District Board of Education. (2004-2005)