1. Introduction: The Challenge of Cultural and Linguist Diversity 

Cultural and Linguistic diversity is not new. The need to move to environments that provide better living conditions has been present since the origins of human existence (Harari, 2011, 2016). Since ancient times, there have been people fluent in more than one language and communities in which more than one language is spoken. Today, monolingualism and monoculturalism are not the norm, as Remillard and Williams (2016) affirm. Either officially or de facto, almost all countries are multilingual and contain different cultural groups. Cultural and Linguistic diversity are realities of contemporary human life.

School is becoming more and more diverse (Gollnick & Chinn, 2009; Yao et al., 2009). According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2018), in 2015, 9.5% of public-school students —4.8 million— were English-language-learners, and the number was projected to keep growing (Lucas et al., 2008). In Latin America, Albó et al. (2009) identified 29 million native descendant inhabitants, 522 peoples, and 420 languages. Countries like Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, and Brazil have schools that teach in Western and Native languages. 

The adequate management of intergroup relations is key to guarantee equitable access to opportunities, preserve the free development of personality, and balance power dynamics. In this regard, school is a tremendously important institution due to its potential of either promoting inclusion and equity or propitiating segregation and domination. It supposes a space to devise alternative educational models, capable of transforming our realities. Thus, it is pertinent and necessary to explore the efforts that have been made around diversity and education.  

This article examines two educational paradigms that emerged from the discussion about cultural and linguistic diversity in the United States and Latin America: Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) and Intercultural Bilingual Education (IBE). The objective of this work is to compare CRT and IBE. Specifically, the comparison investigates three areas: goals, historical background, and language teaching methods concerning the Second Language Acquisition field. To attain the objective, this work uses the Comparative Method. First, this article gives a conceptualization of both paradigms. Then, it exposes their goals, historical background, and language teaching aspects concerning SLA field. Afterward, it makes a contrast by establishing differences in each area. Last, it offers conclusions and suggestions. 

2. Culturally Responsive Teaching and Intercultural Bilingual Education: A Conceptualization 

This works studies CRT and IBE paradigms. CRT is a pedagogical paradigm that proposes the utilization of minority and low-income students’ cultural and familiar resources to propitiate a more effective, fairer, and pertinent educational experience (Gay, 2002, 2010; Vavrus, 2008). CRT is based on the Cultural Difference Theory (Ladson-Billings, 1994; Ramirez & Castañeda, 1974) which establishes there is a difference between the cultures of schools and minority-families-communities’, creating a conflict for students from these groups. 

CRT is a reaction against traditional curricula based in a hegemonic culture that favors upper-middle-class, and Anglo-Saxon students, to the detriment of students from other realities. It arose in the nineteen-eighties to address African-Unitedstatian populations —Unitedstatian is used instead of American to confront the appropriation of the term America referring exclusively to the United States (Galeano, 1971) and as an attempt to resignify the concept (Segato, 2002) from a decolonial perspective (Quijano, 1992, 2014)—. Afterward, CRT gained interest in other marginalized groups besides Afro-descendant people such as low-income and immigrant students. 

IBE [Educación Intercultural Bilingüe] is the name given to an educational perspective that permeates different educational models in Latin America, in which education is delivered simultaneously in more than one language and framed in different cultures (Sortorello, n.d.; Cariman, 2015). IBE is not a unique concept, rather it is a heterogeneous complex of ideas, models, and systems that varies largely from country to country (Sartorello, n.d.; Terreros, 2015). This paradigm is centered in indigenous —and Afro-descendant— populations but also extends to Euro-descendant groups.

IBE is the application of Interculturality to school. Interculturality is a socio-cultural, political, and epistemological project that seeks more democratic and fairer forms of relations between different cultural groups (Schmelkes, 2006). It is a decolonizing concept that revendicates the indigenous and Afro-descendant people’s presence and resistances over colonial and Eurocentric power in the formations of Latin American identity. 

3. Methodology 

This research uses the Difference Comparative Method (Colino, 2009; Caballero et al. 2016). It is an analytic description of similar objects and their comparison by establishing differences. The data was collected under the bibliographical revision modality (Tonon, 2011). The procedure consisted of CRT and IBE’s analytical separation, following the three aspects —goals, historical background, and teaching methods concerning SLA—. Then, these aspects were systematically described (Bostingorry, 2006) and compared to their homolog in the other paradigm. Later, differences were highlighted by contrasting. Last, the paradigms are synthesized, and conclusions offered. 

4. The Review 

4.1. Goals

Every educational paradigm intends to contribute somehow to sociopolitical ordering (Dewey, 1916). However, the idea of order is not universal, but it is based on the cultural, economic, political, and ideological characteristics of every society (Flor Do Nascimento & Botelho, 2010). These visions conform the goals, the ultimate objectives of the paradigm and education’s role in this task.

4.2. Culturally Responsive Teaching

CRT’s vision is that schools should integrate into classrooms the cultural experiences of groups with less power. By doing so, it provides an educational model capable of fulfilling their needs (Vavrus, 2008) and reach a better academic performance. To achieve this, it invites teachers to reflect on these students’ cultural and linguistic capital, racial heritage, and family background and use them in the teaching process (Gay, 2002, 2000; Aceves & Orosco, 2014) to make school interesting, relevant, and useful for them. 

Aceves & Orosco (2014) identified six areas of concern in CRT. First, Instructional Engagement encourages teachers to connect students’ knowledge to the teaching process (August & Shanahan, 2010), positively affecting their performance by delivering familiar and relevant content. Second, Culture, Language and Racial Identity invites educators to use teaching to bring students’ learning closer to their cultural, linguistic and racial heritage, growing in them a sense of belonging (Irvine & Armento, 2001) and shaping a healthier personal identity (Aceves & Orosco, 2014). Third, Multicultural Awareness demands that teachers critically analyze their values, beliefs, and perceptions (Gay, 2002), to challenge stereotypes and prejudices. Fourth, High Expectations require teachers to believe in students’ learning capabilities (Scheurich, 1998) and to communicate learning expectations (Cahnmann, 2005), resulting in standard-driven, challenging, and engaging exercises. Fifth, Critical Thinking asks teachers to educate students in critical and independent thinking (Aceves & Orosco, 2014), causing students to apply reasoning and logic to new ideas, critically filter them, and increase problem-solving, inference, and inquiring skills (Diaz-Rico & Weed, 2006). Sixth, Social Justice encourages teachers to acknowledge and act upon social inequalities and structural privileges and oppressions certain individuals and groups face (Cochran-Smith, 2004; Gay, 2002) and to foster a sense of agency in students by giving them tools to act independently (Ladson-Billings, 1994). 

This would result in CRT’s aim, the closing of academic, social, and economic achievement gaps based on race, ethnicity, culture, class, and English language proficiency disparities (Gay, 2010, 2018; Ladson-Billings, 1994; Vavrus, 2008). 

4.3. Intercultural Bilingual Education

IBE conceives the school as an institution which has the role to create a new epistemic vision that involves indigenous and Afro-descendant linguistic, ethnic, and rational background and identities (Williamson, 2004; Chiodi, 2000; UNESCO, 2018). At the time, it brings dominant students’ groups closer to such populations by the cherishing and diffusion of their culture.  

IBE is an understanding of education based on Critical Interculturality. Critical Interculturality is a decolonizing reaction against the Unitedstatian and European Multiculturalism and functional and relation interculturality. Rincon (2018) and Walsh (2012, 2012b) consider those perspectives are obstacles in the construction of egalitarian relationships among cultures since they are aligned with the ruling class’ interest and the system’s dynamics. By just acknowledging cultural differences, multiculturalism does not tackle the structural causes disparity. Critical Interculturality critiques the structural bases of inequality such as economical exploitation, racial differentiation, racism, and colonial domination (Walsh, 2012; Rincon, 2018). 

IBE’s final objective is to disassemble oppressive configuration, socially unequal structures, and balance asymmetric power relations. It aims to build national identities that nurture from diverse groups (Cariman, 2015) and uses Interculturality as an instrument to reconcile cultural differences and mitigate conflicts (Valdez Castro, 2019). 

5. Historical Background 

Education is a historically situated process (Vygotsky, 1978). The configuration of a certain type of education responds to specific historical contexts and groups involved in the construction of education’s ideals. The epistemological production and cultural techniques of these groups built the educational paradigms in which schools are based (Gomes, 2011). Thus, the Historical Background includes the origin, actors, trajectory, and epistemic bases of the paradigm. 

5.1. Culturally Responsive Teaching 

CRT has been very close to academia. It nurtures mainly from theoretical sources like John Dewey’s ideas of education and democracy, and James Bank’s work on Multicultural Education. Moreover, it is influenced by the Civil Rights Movement’s victories.

CRT takes Dewey’s ideas of education’s function for social reproduction. Dewey (1916) argues schools are places where citizens develop and validate skills that would help them to incorporate into the economic and social machinery and participate democratically in society. His thoughts justify the need of guaranteeing everyone’s participation in formal education since it is an opportunity for economic development and social integration. Education deprivation based on race and/or income level is in itself a discriminatory act but also an act that produces more discrimination as it maintains the inequalities. 

The influence of James Banks on CRT is his work on multicultural education. Banks (2015, p. 3) states that multicultural education seeks to “reform schools, colleges, and universities so that students from diverse racial, ethnic, and social-class groups will experience educational equality”. He suggests five dimensions that should be present in multicultural education. First, Content Integration refers to the usage of examples from a variety of groups. Second, Knowledge Construction Process attempts to help students investigate and understand how biases and cultural assumptions shape the way knowledge is constructed. Third, Prejudice Reduction uses teaching methods and materials as modifiers of students’ racial attitudes. Fourth, Equity Pedagogy, exists when teachers facilitate the academic achievement of students from diverse groups. Five, Empowering School Culture and Social Structure examines the way school dynamics and relationships are produced across race and ethnicity to achieve a school culture that empowers students from all backgrounds. 

CRT’s formation is close to the demands and conquests of the Civil Rights Movement.  Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 was key since it destroyed the separated but equal ideology that fed Jim Crow laws (Vavrus, 2018). This opened the doors to end racial segregation that established distinct schools for white and colored people. Lau v. Nichols in 1974 was important as well since it obligated schools to address the language needs of students with limited or no English proficiency. Thereby, the case established meaningful public education for non-English speaking children as a constitutional right (Biegel, 1994; Sugarman & Widess, 1974). 

It was within this context that educators started to publicly question the existing structures and institutions (Vavrus, 2008). These demands, recommendations, and theories articulate the basis for CRT as an expression of a multicultural education system in a democratic society, which became possible through legal victories. 

5.2. Intercultural Bilingual Education 

IBE has been developed mainly in the streets and communities, outside of academia or courts. Although Interculturality and Decoloniality have been key, IBE is a political achievement of indigenous people’s fight to receive quality education. In this sense, it is more pertinent to look into the historical evolution of indigenous people’s educational situation rather than the institutional influences. 

In Latin America, bilingual education has been present since the colonial era (Lopez & Kuper, 1999; Lopez, 2005, 2006). However, it was not until the 20th century when an indigenous centered education started. In 1930 and 1940 community leaders, anthropologists, linguists, and ethnolinguists —many of whom were Christian missionaries— created writing systems for Native languages which allowed the first bilingual teachers to write and read using them (UNESCO 2018). 

Until then, Native languages were mere bridges to Western language instruction (Cariman, 2015; Rodas, 1989). In the mid-1940s, indigenous leaders and teachers started to question the usage of hegemonic languages and worldviews. People like Maria Asunsión Galindo, Avelino Siñani, Elizardo Pérez, Dolores Cacuango, and Manuel Camacho started to create informal schools where education was delivered in both Western and Native languages (Arellano, 2008; Lopez, 1996; Lopez & Kuper, 1999; Terrero, 2015). 

They slowly started to receive support from universities that ran pilot programs of more structured bilingual models. In 1970s, Latin American states began to acknowledge their population’s diverse character and recognized indigenous people’s cultural and linguistic rights. This, added to indigenous peoples’ pressure, created organisms and plans to expand bilingual education, generating reforms of education systems. In this context, IBE sat as an alternative to include indigenous languages, values, and epistemes to school, and eventually, became one of the most important educational paradigms in Latin America. 

6. Language Teaching 

Language is capital to an education that is concerned about cultural diversity since, as Remillard and Williams (2016) state, language is the vehicle by which culture is delivered. Language Teaching refers to the approximation the paradigm has to language as an object and means of instruction. In this work, this area is examined concerning Second Language Acquisition theories and concepts. 

6.1. Culturally Responsive Teaching 

A huge concern of CRT relates to the linguistic barrier many migrant populations face. This propitiated th23e creation of Linguistically Responsive Teaching (LRT), a CRT’s branch that specializes in the students’ linguistic necessities. LRT has two main objectives: students’ acquisition of the target language and students’ academic advancement and success using that language. 

LRT draws heavily on the advancements in the SLA field. Three SLA points are critical for LRT: Cummins’s Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) notions, Krashen’s Comprehensible Input and Affective Filter hypotheses, and Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective.

BICS and CALP refer to sequences in language proficiency acquired during the development of language usage (Cummins, 1979, 1999). They consider the different stages in language proficiency according to the complexity of the stimulus people receive in informal and academic settings. If the learner is not familiar with L1 with the specific tasks of schooling academic discourse, more advanced proficiency would be more difficult to develop in L2. Street & Hornberger (2008, p.3) advise that ignoring this has contributed to the “inappropriate placement of bilingual students in special education programs.” Similarly, students who have developed BICS but not CALP in L2, important for academic success (Roessingh, 2005), may be considered proficient and, thus, denied additional language assistance, resulting in poor academic performance. LRT considers the learner’s development of basic and advanced competencies in both L1 and L2 and recognizes language use for different purposes in academics and familiar settings (Schleppegrell, 2001). LRT foster teachers to acknowledge the student’s familiar linguistic background to distinguish conversational and academic proficiencies and provide suitable support. 

The Input and Affective Filter hypotheses (Krashen, 1977,1982) have also influenced LRT. Input Hypothesis states that “acquisition occurs when one is exposed to a language that is comprehensible and that contains i+1 [a stimulus just above learners’ current level]” (Lightbown & Spada, 2006, p. 37). From an LTR perspective, Lucas et al. (2008, p. 363) affirm “second language learners must have access to comprehensible input that is just beyond their current level of competence.” LRT provides students the right amount of L2 input; if the input is too much or too difficult, it would not be comprehensible, and the student will not learn. Scaffolding-based-strategies (Ninio & Bruner, 1978) have been suggested to improve comprehensibility (Aceves & Orosco, 2014). Also, LRT reminds teachers that second language learners are learning a language and content in that language, so comprehensibility should be constant in language class and other subjects. 

The Affective Filter concept captures how emotional variables intervene in second language learning. Krashen (1982, p. 32) describes the Affective Filter as “affective variables acting to impede or facilitate the delivery of input to the language acquisition device.” Lightbown and Spada (2006, p. 37) see it as a “metaphorical [emotional] barrier that prevents learners from acquiring language even when appropriate input is available.” When learners suffer high levels of stress and lack confidence speaking L2, the filter activates, and the learner will not perform properly. The filter often appears when there is a perception that language fluency is more important than learning itself (Krashen, 1982). LRT emphasizes making the classroom emotionally safe with minimal anxiety (Lucas et al., 2008). Due to xenophobic and hostile attitudes, Olsen (1997) and Valdés (2001) have found some language learners in US schools feel marginalized, ignored, and unwelcomed, experiencing anxiety and nervousness. LRT aims to mitigate these behaviors and encourages teachers to embrace multicultural awareness (Aceves & Orosco, 2014) to constantly question biases and prejudices.

Vygotsky’s contribution is the importance LRT gives to socialization in the language learning process. Gass (1997) and Wong-Fillmore and Snow (2005) highlight socialization’s prominence when arguing language learners should interact frequently with people who are fluent in L2. Socialization presents an opportunity to receive feedback and negotiate meanings. Practicing with people who imbue language with cultural meaning is necessary to communicate effectively (Bialystok & Hakuta, 1994). LRT’s interest in socialization and anxiety is due to inappropriate management of these two elements that may activate an affective filter during classes of/in the L2 and interaction with native speakers. Pappamihiel (2002) discovered second language learners tend to feel more anxious about ESL classes than other classes and feel stressed about social aspects like interacting with other English-speaking students. Collaborative teaching methods are suggested since they have proven to positively impact motivation (Au, 2011; Genesee & Riches, 2006) and “enable participants to share and learn from their collective experiences and challenges” (Aceves & Orosco, 2014, p. 13). 

6.2. Intercultural Bilingual Education 

The implementation of bilingual education models in Latin American schools started a debate centered on how much L1 and L2 should be present in the education of language learners and if a monolingual or bilingual approach was better (Hamel et al., 2004; Lopez, 1996, 2009). The debate can be summarized in Lopez’s (2009) identification of bilingual education models used in Latin America: submersion, subtractive, maintenance, and enrichment. 

Submersion models prohibit using Aboriginal languages and use exclusively Western languages. In subtractive models, Native languages are used as an instrument to develop Western Languages which eventually replace them. Maintenance-development models intend to develop Western languages without damaging the Native languages by teaching students in both languages. Enriching models, parallel to the interculturality and decoloniality movements, teach in both languages but also increases Native languages’ value by giving them major pragmatic usefulness. Although enriching models are the most accepted today, they are not the only ones in use, and Lopez (2009) says the same program might use different models at different stages.

IBE academics, experts, and leaders, who support the usage of enriching models, use SLA theories to justify their positions. They are heavily influenced by Cummins’s BICS and CALP and submersion bilingual model findings, Chomsky’s ideas of a critical period, Comprehensive Input Hypothesis from Krashen, and Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective and ZDP. 

IBE learned from Cummins’s experiences with submersive bilingual schools in the 1990s (2000) which provided opportunities to examine linguistic power relations and the learning of inferiorized languages. IBE academics propose replacing submersion with enriching models, which Hamel et al. (2004) consider culturally exclusive. Cummins’s (1981) BICS and CALP were also helpful in constructing IBE models. Hamel et al. (2004) argue basic skills development in L1 is necessary for the acquisition of L2, and for CALP in both, so they suggest complementing didactic activities with quotidian contextualized exercises. Similarly, Lopez & Kuper (1999) state the maintenance of L1 is not detrimental to learning L2 but instead it improves its learning. Peru’s Ministry of Education even suggests students occasionally communicate in L1 (Ministerio de Educación, 2013)

The Critical Period Hypothesis (Chomsky, 1969; Lenneberg, 1967) has also been utilized to promote teaching in both languages continuously. It establishes there is a critical period for language acquisition in the development of biological structures that allows linguistic communication, so deprivation of stimulus could hinder maturing of linguistic skills’ (Chomsky, 1969). For Bailey et al. (2001), if language learners are not exposed to a language during this period, they risk not achieving native-level competence. Supporters of permanent L1 and L2 teaching in IBE models argue that students should be exposed to both languages from an early age to guarantee normal development and native proficiency. Criticizing subtractive and transitional models, Hamel (1988) says it is necessary to teach in L1 and L2 continuously, at least during the elementary level. 

Vygotsky’s contribution to IBE is the vision of language as a cultural and historical product. IBE conceives education as a process situated in a cultural and historical context (UNESCO, 2018). Since language is inherently linked to culture it should be learned through socialization with culturally experienced actors. IBE aims for cultural vindication of indigenous identities, so indigenous culture is very present in both means and content (Hamel et al., 2004). IBE stresses greatly the importance of family and community members in transmitting cultural and historic heritage (Alvarado 2016; Cariman, 2015; Lopez, 1996; Quidel 2011). Thus, the role of culture is capital to IBE as a capability to change the material reality of indigenous peoples and as a resource to contribute to society’s development. 

Krashen’s Comprehensive Input Hypothesis and Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) are also present when it comes to learning in/of L2. ZPD was introduced by Vygotsky (1978) and is defined as a “metaphorical location or ‘site’ in which learners co-construct knowledge in collaboration with an interlocutor” (Lightbown & Spada, 2006, p. 47). ZPD implies there is a specific level of difficulty students can endure with the help of a more experienced learner or adult. Learning would, therefore, be unsuccessful if students attempted to develop abilities beyond this level. Similarly, Krashen’s Theory claims learning happens when students are given an input which is just a level above their current knowledge (Krashen, 1977). If input is not comprehensible, it is not useful. Thus, the recommendation is to give students a large amount of comprehensible, natural, and familiar input (Ministerio de Educación, 2013). If students do not comprehend the input, teachers should not talk louder or translate, but make the input understandable by lowering vocabulary level, repeating slowly, using grammatical structure, modifying the discourse or negotiating meaning (Hamel et al., 2004). 

7. The Contrast 

CRT and IBE are both educational perspectives to manage cultural diversity in school and address marginalized populations. Although similar, there are strong differences. Highlighting those differences is the focus of this analysis.

8. Goals 

CRT’s chief concern is students’ scholarly development. Its goal is to diminish achievement gaps in the formal educational system and improve student’s performance. Thus, students would be integrated into society and have a more equitably social and economic life. Its interest in student’s performance fetishizes academic achievement and makes it a goal in itself. Also, CRT develops academic competencies in a framework where the skills that are more valued are the ones of the dominant groups. This is functional to the current system as it homogenizes identities and minimizes conflicts (Walsh, 2012, 2012b) and since the means-goals structure and cultural symbols keep the established system (Parsons, 1991). This imposition of the success model reproduces social inequalities and assimilates marginalized populations into the hegemonic cultural structure. 

IBE considers education not as a goal, but as a means. The purpose is to attain social transformation. It challenges Western-Modern episteme and rationality, including the school as an institution designed to formalize their reproduction. IBE aims to make the school a place co-created by and for native populations, which includes teaching indigenous populations’ mainstream languages but does the same with Euro-descendant students.

CRT’s focus on non-English-speaking students’ learning consolidates English as the dominant language and Anglo-Saxon as the dominant culture. CRT’s concern for developing students’ abilities to learn the target language produces a dominance over the mother tongue. The native language and cultural values are reduced to tools for learning the hegemonic culture and language, potentially causing its deterioration. IBE sees indigenous languages and cultures as endangered heritage that should be not only preserved but also celebrated and promoted. Therefore, indigenous cosmology, epistemes, culture, and values take an active role and are not only objects of instruction but fundaments in which education is framed. 

8.1. Historical Background 

CRT and IBE had very different historical evolutions. CRT, although influenced by the Civil Rights Movement, was developed alongside academy. This propitiated contributions from Pedagogy, Sociology, Law, and Philosophy. IBE is the result of people’s manifestation and it is a political achievement of indigenous movements. Educational institutions joined later. Although IBE was possible due to the work of ethnologists and linguists, their work was centered in written language building. It was social mobilization and communities’ desire of having an indigenous centered education what made IBE possible. 

Since its origins, CRT relies heavily on scientific reflection. Dewey’s postulates establish a clear path for CRT to follow in terms of what is expected from education. Banks’ principles give CRT an action framework on what should be done to attain its goal. Banks’ influences are noticeable in Aceves & Orosco’s (2014) concern areas and Gay’s (2010) descriptive characteristics. These, added to the extensive usage of SLA, have given CRT a strong scientific tradition and a teaching research profile (Vavrus) which have conducted to an effective, although in constant improvement, language teaching. Even the Civil Rights movement, that is an expression of social mobilization, sat important and early victories at an institutional level with the Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and Lau v. Nichols in 1974 cases.

IBE’s origins in the popular manifestation and attempts did not give it robust language teaching methods. The first efforts of community leaders used linguistic and anthropological knowledge in the beginning. Nevertheless, many of these people did not have advanced formal education and the teaching methods used were very rudimentary. It was after these first steps when academia intervened. Furthermore, the governments just started to get involved in the matter and support IBE after the recognition of these groups’ rights.

8.2. Language Teaching 

The historical contexts and the scientific contributions that shaped CRT and IBE led to a strong contrast in their teaching aspects and approaches to language management. CRT mainly uses transitional-subtractive programs. Non-English-speaking students enroll in courses designed to develop language abilities which allow them to enter English-taught classes. In general, English remains the dominant language while other languages are reduced to subjects in the curriculum. IBE has moved from transitional to enrichment programs in which minority languages have as means of instruction as well. Countries like Mexico and Bolivia have made efforts to deliver content to students in indigenous languages, and Paraguay represents a landmark in making Guaraní mandatory nationwide. 

CRT shows a very extensive and sophisticated usage of SLA advancements and has even developed a branch specialized in language teaching: Linguistically Responsive Teaching (LRT). LRT is influenced by the notions of BICS and CALP, Comprehensible Input and Affective Filter Krashen’s hypotheses, and Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Perspective. These were those analyzed in this work, but there are many others. IBE’s usage of SLA theories is more limited. However, there are influences of BICS and CALP, critiques to submersion models, Krashen Hypotheses, and Vygotskian Perspective and ZDP. 

In terms of methodology, cohesion, structure, and assessment, CRT is very solid and well developed. IBE in Latin American countries is very heterogeneous, sometimes causing confusion among authors. There are important theoretical and methodological disagreements that should be solved to attain consensus and implementation to a greater scale. Authors, such as Cañulef (1998), Matus and Loncón (2012), and Oñate (2005) claim that some IBE models lack a clear teaching methodology in both the teaching process and learning assessment. Others like Becerra et al. (2013), Loncón (2013), Quidel (2011), and Relmuan (2005) state the methodologies that have been used so far, which have been created for European languages, do not help teach indigenous languages because these languages need methods for their specific structure. Also, Alvarado (2016) identifies confrontations between Western educators and local leaders in the teaching methods.

Table 1. Main Differences Between Culturally Responsive Teaching and Intercultural Bilingual Education 


Culturally Responsive Teaching

Intercultural Bilingual Education


Equitable integration to society 

Society’s sociocultural reconfiguration

Dominant culture reproduction 

Cultural-political alternatives 

Hegemonic conception of success 

Critique to dominant means and goals 

Academic achievements as goals 

Education is a means to social transformation 

Focus on students’ performance 

Focus on students identity

A concern in student’s learning of the mainstream language

Diffusion of non-dominant languages among dominant groups

Historical Background

Civil Rights activists and intellectual figures

Popular mobilization and rural community leaders

Academia and formal institutions have been close since its beginnings 

Academia and state had a late involvement

Language Teaching and SLA theories

Transitional-subtractive models

Maintenance-bilingual models

The dominant language is imposed on minority students 

Both languages are developed in indigenous students. Indigenous languages are taught to dominant population’s students 

LRT emerged as a specialized branch for language teaching 

IBE is both a cultural and linguistic proposal itself

Very solid, cohesive, and clear teaching methods

Heterogeneous and disperse teaching methods 

Extensive and sophisticated usage of SLA theories 

Vague usage of SLA theories

Direct influence of BICS and CALP, Comprehensible Input and Affective Filter, and Sociocultural Perspective 

Scratches from BICS and CALP, Submersion models, Comprehensible Input, ZDP, and Sociocultural Perspective 

Note: Elaborated by the author.

9. Conclusions 

This work shows the profound relation between education and sociocultural, political, and institutional conditions. The actors involved in the origin and the historical evolution of these paradigms shaped their teleological interpretation of education and methodological aspects. Education proposals are powerful strategies to solve societal challenges. However, they are heavily influenced by sociohistorical characteristics, so a critical eye is needed not to reproduce what it wants to be changed. 

The nature of these actors intervenes in the development of the methods used to attain established goals. The analysis shows that proximity to the academia and official institutions produces a close contact to scientific knowledge. This leads to the production of scientific-standards-based teaching strategies and methodologies. Methods are important in the attainment of goals since they trace the lines to follow and direct the actions. Nevertheless, the presence in these power spaces and the integration into normative, convergent knowledge production centers produce alienation and interiorization of dominant worldviews. This creates an imposition of hegemonic means and goal systems, reproduction of dominant success conceptions, and subordination to mainstream culture. 

Closeness to communities and the participation of marginalized subjects, especially those whose realities want to be changed, give alternative views’ that confront the establishment rules’. This task, as it is proposed by IBE and the Critical Interculturality perspective, implies the examination of social structures and the construction of alternative realities. Instead of requiring minority populations to be assimilated, it is mandatory to revendicate their identities and values, bringing dominant groups closer to their culture. However, this possesses methodological challenges which might result in a lack of objective teaching and assessment methods. In this regard, strategies to attain those goals are diffuse and without a clear path and correct articulation, objectives achievement seems to be still far. 

Education should not be limited to school but take political actions beyond the classroom. Democratic management of cultural relations not only addresses minority students but also directs actions towards students from power groups to combat privileges and inequalities and promote inclusion. It recognizes languages and cultures’ practical utility as epistemological tools to face reality and not only as a means to achieve success. In addition to this, the development of accurate and clear scientific methodological procedures is needed. These should be contextual based, culturally respectful, and equative but also driven by scientific standards. Without solid and effective pedagogical strategies, educational goals would not be attained. This synthesis would contribute to the strengthening of educational practices.

The findings acknowledge there are strengths and improvement areas in both paradigms. This invites to a horizontal dialog between them. This should be a joint effort among different social actors, including teachers, researchers, and theorists from different sciences, as well as policymakers, community leaders, families, and students. Education for culturally and linguistically diverse populations should be where science meets tradition and culture to create an emancipatory knowledge capable of transforming realities and improving people’s living conditions.  


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