Why ESL?

Why does he/she need ESL?.

You may have heard  parents or teachers say, “Why does he need ESL?  He speaks English very well.  He talks all the time.”  When asked how the student is functioning academically, the response is, “He’s below grade-level, and not doing well,  but the problem must be something other than language.”  This child has acquired the social language (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills-BICS), but not yet achieved the academic language (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency-CALP), or full proficiency in English.  He needs more time for focused academic language development.
Jose Diaz Network Websites
Mr. Diazís ELL Classroom Home Home Goals Goals Language proficiency Language proficiency FAQs FAQs Why ELL Why ELL About Me About Me

BICS are Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills

These are the language skills needed for everyday personal

and social communication. Second language learners must

have BICS in order to interact on the playground and in the

classroom. It usually takes students from 1-3 years to completely

develop this social language. BICS are not necessarily related to

academic success.

Time to master:  1 to 3 years  


-Basic “survival” English Context embedded-applies to real life

situations; can be pointed to or acted out

-Carry on intelligible conversations about cognitively undemanding

topics (TV, classroom activities, friends, family)

-Interact with English-speaking peers

-Use language needed to function in everyday interpersonal

contexts (pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary)

-Can mislead teachers

CALPS CALP is Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency This is the language associated with native language literacy and cognitive development. These are the language skills needed to undertake academic tasks in the mainstream classroom. It includes content- specific vocabulary. It may take students from 5 to 7 years to develop CALP skills. CALP developed in the first language contribute to the development of CALP in the second language. Time to master: 3 to 10 years   Characteristics: -Language needed to succeed in school -May be more abstract and less connected to real life -Language needed to accomplish academic tasks -Context reduced language, abstract -Literacy skills & content area knowledge -Opinions and feelings expressed -Skills needed to manipulate language outside of the immediate interpersonal context -Content-reduced, cognitively demanding language used in classroom activities, such as writing, spelling and test taking