Explanation:

  • Students who are in the initial stages of acquiring a second language will first develop basic interpersonal skills (BICs) which can be seen as playground language because it is what they pick up in their everyday interactions (Cummins, 1980).
  • The students at BICs level are helped by contextual support.
  • The next stage is Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP), and it is more sophisticated.
  • The CALP stage requires teaching at a more cognitively demanding level and takes longer to acquire. (5-7 years: Cummins, 1981).
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BICS & CALP (Cummins, 1981)

Justification:
  • Understanding the two different stages, although simplistic, does offer a means of understanding the support needed for students to make progress in their learning.
  • Students may ‘catch’ on to some of the skills and concepts they need through BICs but will need specific teaching and scaffolded tasks to be ‘taught’ the the academic proficient skills they need.
  • Students can develop content knowledge at the same time as they develop language skills (Genesee,1987).

Implications:
  • Assessments need to be cognisant of the different time variables associated with how long it takes a student to move through the BICs and CALP stages, in order to be a valid indicator of the student’s ability.
  • There also needs to be a range of assessments that 'fit the purpose' (Gipps, & Cumming, 2005).
  • Scaffolding needed to assist students in acquiring CALP as well as recognising the significant role of the students first language in the development of the second language.
  • Interactive tasks that employ several modes of language would facilitate the second language acquisition and the gaining of literacy.
  • This principle highlights the importance of communicative and speaking activities to support reading and writing. “Reading and writing flow on a sea of talk” (Britton, 1970).
  • It is important to move students onto the CALP stage as it is at this level that the cognitive demanding language for literacy is acquired and that a major portion of academic achievement rests.
  • Students proficient at the BICs level can give a false indication of their academic ability.


References:
Britton, J. (1970). Language and learning. Portsmouth, NH. Boyton/Cook.

Cummins, J. (1980). The cross-lingual dimensions of language proficiency: Implications of Bilingual Education and the Optimal Age issue. Tessol
Quarterly. 14(2) 175-187.

Cummins, J. (1981). The role of primary language development in promoting educational success for language minority students. In California State
Department of Education (Ed.), Schooling and Language Minority Students: A Theoretical Framework (pp. 3-49). Los Angeles: Evaluation, Dissemination and Assessment Center, California State University.

Genesee, F. (1987). Learning through two languages. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Gipps, C., & Cumming, J. J. (2005). Assessing literacies. In N. Bascia, A. Cumming, A. Datnow, K. Leithwood, & D. Livingstone (Eds.), International
handbook of educational policy (Vol. 2, pp. 695–713). Dordrecht, Netherlands.Springer.

· Understanding the two different stages, although simplistic, does offer a means of understanding the support needed for students to make progress in their learning.
· Students may ‘catch’ on to some of the skills and concepts they need through BICs but will need specific teaching and scaffolded tasks to be ‘taught’ the the academic proficient skills they need.