Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills and Cognitive Academic
Basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) denote language skills required to interact in social contexts (Baker, 2006). BICS denotes primarily to face-to-face and context-bound communication, for example when chatting with a friend via a telephone or mobile phone, when playing football or when talking at parties. This involves also the language learned first by young children and preschoolers that is utilized in everyday social communication.
Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) denotes the decontextualized, largely abstract communication that occurs in the classroom, mostly in the upper elementary grades (Baker, 2006). CALP is the language of learning that enables the learners to, imagine, hypothesize, problem-solve and engage in activities that they lack personal skills. CALP is requirement before a child learn how to read and write and for ultimate academic success (Cummins, 1984). For example, looking the meaning of a certain vocabulary, reading for an exam or test and during career training
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Teachers should never assume that non-native students who have acquired a high level of proficiency and accuracy in commonly spoken language possess equal academic language proficiency. This will probably assist teachers to avoid labeling pupils or students who show this disparity as requiring special education programs or needs, while what they require is more time (Baker, 2006). Most of the non-native students that may have completed the ESL system are still, probably behind the native students.
Baker, C. (2006). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism (4th Edition).
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