Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills

BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills) and CALP (Cognitive-Academic Language Knowledge) are abbreviations that are often used in bilingual education to describe the types or levels of language skills of minority students. Although BICS / CALP discrimination has been widespread among practitioners, scientists have been controversial. This entry includes the definition and origin of BICS / CALP distinction and a summary of the offenses committed with this terminology.

Immigrant students often engage in American schools without full English language skills. At a certain point in the second language development of each student, a graduation decision is made on the status of a "limited English" student for the students of the "Fluent English Speaking Student". An important and controversial question is how to determine the proper status of the reclassification.

For bilingual educators, the lingering fear is that some children can display their full knowledge before they actually get to know the English language to get across the English language classroom and encourage teachers, administrators and test developers to recapture them Too early. One approach to this problem was the BICS / CALP distinction that was introduced by Canadian researcher James Cummins in the 1970s.

Cummins argued that language minority children who speak English in the playground or classmates demonstrate a kind of surface fluency that is termed basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS), though not necessarily cognitive-scientific language skills (CALP ). Cummins identified schooling and literacy as a means of achieving CALP. In a monolingual environment, Cummins explained, the distinction between BICS / CALP reflects in practice the difference between the language of the child's six-year-old acquired and the language skills developed during the education and the literacy.

In a later definition of CALP, also referred to as the academic language, the Canadian researcher described the ability to use spoken or written language without relying on non-lingual signals such as gestures and complex interpretations. It re-examined data on the knowledge of the language of the Cross, which was reported in the previous studies of the other schools; the primary argument was to separate the age of arrivals from the residence of immigrant children, both factors which could independently affect the level of language proficiency.

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