Introduction to the Special Issue "On Communicative Skills in Foreign Language Teaching and Academic Language Instruction: Tools, Resources and Methods in the Digital Era"
Keywords:digital era, specialized languages, specialized language teaching
This volume, as hinted by the title, adds to the current debate between foreign and academic language instruction and digital resources (or methods). Such debate has been particularly present in the last two years during Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, in which teachers and instructors have been challenged to design fully digital resources to continue with their intended syllabuses. Regardless of the outcomes of the pandemic, one silver lining is that this new situation has had an impact on pedagogical approaches, particularly those that are most significant to language instruction and practice, thus “[showing] promise for assuring that [language learners] can develop academic language proficiency” (Ranney, 2012, p. 560). The need to find effective strategies and methods, conceived to enhance language learners’ fluency and communicative (and academic) achievement, conforms to, among others, the long-standing theories on interpersonal communicative skills and language academic proficiency (Cummins 1981; 2000). These theories, especially those revolving around the so-called Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP), demonstrate that linguistic resources should be necessarily adapted to the scopes of social interaction and interpersonal communication.
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