What kind of language proficiency is necessary for academic success?
According to Professor Cummins, there are two kinds of language competence: basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS) and cognitive-academic language proficiency (CALP). The differences are shown below:
|Definition:||the language of everyday social interaction||the language of the subjects, science, maths, humanities, etc.|
|Typical settings:||the playground, cafeteria, schoolbus||the classroom, library|
|Main characteristics:||listening, speaking, context-embedded, concrete, cognitively undemanding||reading, writing, context-reduced, abstract, cognitively demanding|
|Linguistic features:||short, simple sentences; high-frequency words||long, complex sentences; subject-specific vocabulary; semi-technical vocabulary|
|Learning time frame:||6 months - 2 years||5 - 10 years|
Clearly, a good standard of cognitive-academic language proficiency (CALP) in English is a necessary condition for academic success at Frankfurt International School.
More from the ESL website on BICS and CALP.