Many teachers are misled when an ELL student sounds fluent, but still struggles academically. The reason for this is that there is a clear distinction between social/conversational (BICS) and academic (CALP) language as defined by Cummins. Read Chapter 7 of your text, paying particular attention to the section titled “Dimension of Language Proficiency” as well as watching the following video:
Then answer the following questions:
- What is the difference between conversational fluency, discrete language skills, and academic language proficiency as defined by Cummins.
- Why is it important as an educator to know the distinction among these dimensions of language proficiency? Name one to two negative implications for ELL students when teachers equate conversational language proficiency with academic language proficiency.
- Conduct an internet search to provide at least one learning activity for each dimension of language (conversational fluency, discrete language skills, and academic language proficiency) that a teacher could use in the classroom to support the development of each dimension. Provide the link to the activity, describe the activity, and then discuss how it supports the dimension of language.