Questions On Interpersonal Communication Skills

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BICS, or Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills, are the basis for socialization in any language and are necessary for day to day life and is referred to as social language. This type of interaction includes embedded content, which involves “comprehension aided by context clues, like facial expressions, body language, modeling or demonstrations, visual clues and cues, etc.” (Combs et al, n.d.). Because content is easy to understand and uses simple language structure, it is seen as cognitively undemanding.
Skills in this area typically take 3-5 years to develop, meaning that children have established strong BICS by the time they enter kindergarten. Social situations that help build BICS include daily interactions with family members at home, interactions on the playground and with friends outside of school. The more children engage in these types of interactions prior to beginning school, the better basis they will have for acquiring a second language and the more quickly they will approach grade level in that second language (BICS and CALP and CUPS, n.d.).
CALP, or Cognitive/Academic Language Proficiency, is the next step on the ladder, building on basic social language to help students develop the language needed to understand and discuss academic content. Interaction in this area is more abstract with fewer non-verbal cues, referred to as academic language. Due to its abstract nature and complex language structure, it is more cognitively demanding
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