How Far Is It From Home To Second Base Math Cognitive-Academic Language Proficiency

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Cognitive-Academic Language Proficiency

Separating achievement and language as distinct psychological constructs allows us to contrast the learning situation of majority language (US children who already know English) and language minority children in school. While majority-language children have the sole goal of mastering academic content (math, social studies, science, reading, etc.) in school, minority-language children have two goals that they must meet in order to succeed academic

Like majority-language children, they must master academic content; but unlike most children, they also have to learn the language of instruction at school. Bilingual education allows these children and youth to keep up academically while taking the time necessary to become proficient in English.

Also, in the course of developing children’s knowledge of school subjects, bilingual education provides background knowledge that serves as a context for children to better understand the presentation of new academic subjects in the second language and also helps them to make inferences about the meaning of the new subjects. words and grammatical structures they find in the new language.

Kellie Rolstad and Jeff MacSwan introduced an alternative to the BICS/CALP (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills/Cognitive-Academic Language Proficiency) distinction in an effort to avoid some of these pitfalls. They argued that once children have learned English well enough to understand content through all-English instruction, they have developed Second Language Instruction Competency (SLIC). Unlike CALP, SLIC does not apply to the development of the mother tongue and does not attribute any special status to the language of the school.

Furthermore, while CALP appears to equate cognitive and academic development, SLIC simply denotes the stage of second language development at which the learner is able to understand instruction and perform grade-level school activities using only the second language, in the local educational environment. Children who have not yet developed SLIC are not considered less cognitively developed; they simply have not yet learned enough of the second language to learn effectively through it.

Thus, the SLIC concept avoids the implication that a child is deficient and still allows us to emphasize the need for children to continue to receive interesting and cognitively challenging instruction that they can understand during the time necessary to achieve proficiency in a second language. There is no doubt that James Cummins’ BICS/CALP theory has been a useful tool for practitioners to assess where their students are in their language development. At its core, however, the construct remains a theory with little empirical evidence of its existence.

This does not invalidate the contribution; several other important theories have remained untested while serving as important foundations on which to build further research. However, while critics have applauded the original intent of the BICS/CALP distinction, they have argued that certain refinements are needed to avoid some unintended negative consequences. If we distinguish between academic performance and language ability and between first and second language development in school-age children, we could better characterize the linguistic situation of linguistic minorities and their school performance.

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