Language proficiency can be explained as both conversational and academic. It is important to make a fundamental
distinction between the basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) and the cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP). The academic language proficiency is the ability to make complex meanings explicit by means of language itself rather than by means of contextual or paralinguistic cues such as gestures or intonation (Cummins2000). If pre-school teachers are going to achieve this on behalf of the children, they will have to meet the requirements of Rammeplanen, and focus on both the first and the second language of the children. It is important that they encourage the use of context reduced language in the first language, if the Norwegian language skill of the children is not efficient enough to do so.
I will also try to explore to what extent teacher education does prepare students for working with successive bilingual children and improving their language skills. To what extent do the program of study and syllabus focus on the challenges mentioned, and how do they convey to the students how to support bilingual children’s use of their mother tongue?
Ministry of Education and Research (2006): Kindergarten Act http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/KD/Vedlegg/Barnehager/engelsk/barnehageloven_engelsk.pdf
Ministry of Education and research (2006): National Curriculum http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/KD/Vedlegg/Barnehager/engelsk/FrameworkPlanfortheContentandTasksofKindergartens.pdf
Cummins, J. (2000): Language, Power and Pedagogy. Bilingual children in the Crossfire. Multilingual Matters Ltd.