English as a 2nd Language

1)         According to Echevarria, the four language skills of reading, speaking, listening and writing, are to be integrated into each lesson plan. This means that in every lesson, the students are impacted with the four language skills. The underlying rationale to this is that all the four skills are interconnected and thus cannot be taught independently. The integration of the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing will mostly determine their effectiveness. When the different skills are presented in isolation, it will render the overall skill acquisition ineffective. The integration of the skills on the other hand, ends up in fostering the natural interplay of these aspects of language.

A hypothetical lesson plan would involve an activity where the students analyze the rime of the ancient mariner. The first activity would involve having the students read the first three sections of the book. The students then engage in an informal discussion on the various aspects identified in the sections. The next activity would involve having the students write in their own versions on how the story would end. During this activity, students are encouraged to retain the meter and rhyme in the story. The third activity would involve having the students read aloud their different versions of their conclusions to the story.

2)         During teaching, it is advisable that the teacher clearly writes the objectives of the lesson on the black board. One such objective would be on personal description. A modified version of the objective would sound as “introducing yourself and others”. After teaching on this topic, it is relevant to ensure the objectives of the lesson have been met. One way of ensuring this is having them attempt a quiz, and share the results with them. The quiz would involve having the students summarize what they have learned in class. This alone is not enough. Other means entail having practical activities where the students stand in front of the class and explain to the class who they are. The students are also allowed to correct their fellow students whenever an error is noted.

3)         The PowerPoint enables one to have a better understanding of the BICS and CALP Theory as proposed by Jim Cummins. The language skills mostly used in social interactions are the basic interpersonal communication skills. The skills are mainly employed by English language learners when around the playground, lunchroom, school bus and other social functions. The PowerPoint further explains that the skills do not demand a lot of cognitive ability, as they are not specialized. On the part of cognitive academic language proficiency, the PowerPoint explains that this skill is mainly used for academic learning. The PowerPoint attempts to explain why it takes close to five years for English language learners for them to acquire the relevant skills to fair well in English tests. The PowerPoint continues to give plausible reasons on the theory. The main underlying reason to this is that the language comes in two kinds. These are taken as the social language and the academic language.
4)         The most striking aspect on the BICS/CALP encyclopedia is the entry on the cited deficit of the BICS/CALP theory by Jim Cummins. The critics argue that the theory purports to explain that certain students fail in English language because they exhibit inherent deficiencies related to their intellectual abilities. This gives the idea that persons with social disabilities would have a problem in the acquisition of English proficiency mainly because the BICS aspect of English language is mainly based on social interactions. This is not justified because there are numerous avenues to achieve English proficiency other than through social interactions. These include, class lectures, watching movies and reading novels among others.






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