Theorists Comparison Paper

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Theorist Comparison Paper Katie Torry Second Language Acquisition Theories Instructor: Julie Lucas December 5, 2013 Theorist Comparison Paper Understanding the different theories of second language acquisition is important in today’s multilingual classrooms across the United States. The more that the general education teacher is able to understand the needed language support the more growth these individual students will show. Two key theorists of second langue acquisition are Cummins and Krashen. Cummins makes two distinct groups of language proficiency. Students learn the basic skills of listening and speaking. This is easily done by most students as they integrate themselves into the new language by spending a lot of their time speaking with native speakers. This is called the BICS or Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills. (Cummins) The second level of language proficiency is the Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP). This level is the academic language needed to access various subjects. For students to acquire the Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS), Cummins believes that it takes 2-3 years. However for students to develop the academic language (CALP) it takes 5-7 years of “immersion in the target language.” Edelsky (1983) promotes that CALP focuses on preparing students for test taking sessions and this is truly an inappropriate way of which to measure language proficiency. “The notion of CALP promotes a “deficit theory” insofar as it attributes the academic failure of bilingual/minority students to low cognitive/academic proficiency rather than to inappropriate schooling; in this respect it is no different than notions such as “semilingualism”” (Edelsky, 1990; Edelsky et al., 1983). The two different theories of BICS and CALP should bring attention to the time needed to understand the language. Immigrant

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