CoverAcknowledgements1. Language and Identity1.1. What Is a Speech Community?1.2. Coercive vs. Collaborative Relations1.3. Language Minority Stories2. Who Are English Learners?2.1. Reflection Model2.2. Inclusive Pedagogy2.2. Makoto Critical Incident2.3. Assumptions to Rethink about English Learners2.4. Critical Learning Domains3. Understanding Theory3.1. Communication, Pattern, and Variability 3.2. Five Curriculum Guidelines3.3. Indicators of Instructional Conversation (IC)3.4. Indicators of the Standards for Effective Pedagogy3.5. Standards for Effective Pedagogy3.6. Examining Current Realities4. Input4.1. Input and Native Language Acquisition4.2. Input and Second Language Acquisition4.3. The Interdependence Hypothesis4.4. The Threshold Hypothesis4.5. Vocabulary Development and Language Transfer4.6. Text Modification5. Interaction5.1. Code Switching and Interaction5.2. Characteristics of Modifications for Interaction5.3. How Can Teachers Help Second Language Learners Begin to Communicate?5.4. Classroom Routines and Participation Structures5.5. We Can Talk: Cooperative Learning in the Elementary ESL Classroom6. Stages of Development6.1. Proficiency Levels Defined7. Errors and Feedback7.1. Points to Remember About Errors7.2. Effective and Appropriate Feedback for English Learners8. Types of Proficiencies8.1. Fostering Second Language Development in Young Children8.2. Instructional Conversation in Native American Classroom 8.3. Student Motivation to Learn8.4. Language Learning Strategies: An Update8.5. Three Misconceptions about Age and L2 Learning9. Types of Performances9.1. Understanding BICS and CALP9.2. The Order of Acquisition and The Order of Use9.3. Schumann's Acculturation Model9.4. Implications From the Threshold and Interdependence Hypotheses9.5. Lily Wong Fillmore’s Cognitive and Social Strategies for Second Language Learners10. Classroom Practices and Language AcquisitionIndex

Makoto Critical Incident


Makoto came to the United States from Japan in 1995 with her mother, an older brother, and two older sisters. As she began third grade, her mother entered an American university to pursue a master’s degree. When her mother finished her master’s degree, she made the decision to work on a doctorate degree as well. 

Makoto is now a seventh-grader, which means this is her 5th year in the public school system. Throughout elementary school, Makoto had excellent grades in every subject. She won an award for her science project and even won the school’s Spelling Bee. Despite her academic success, Makoto doesn’t really like school very much. Makoto has always been shy and reserved in her interactions with peers. Her only and best friend in elementary school was a Navajo girl. When she went to junior high school, her Navajo friend went to the middle school across town. The summer before seventh grade, Makoto’s parents divorced and her brother graduated from high school and moved back to Japan. 

Just as Makoto imagined, her first week in 7th grade was quite intimidating. In her English class, there were only three girls in a class of 25 students. She never speaks with the boys in her class. Even in group work, she only speaks if the task requires it. Actually, Makoto is quiet in all her classes. One of her teachers didn’t even know English was her second language for the first two months of the school year. 

As the youngest child, Makoto relies on her two older sisters in many ways. Her sisters enjoy speaking a fun mixture of English and Japanese with Makoto at home. According to her sisters, Makoto sounds American, acts American, and needs lots of help with her Japanese. If you were to ask Makoto is she feels American or Japanese, she would tell you without hesitation, “I’m Japanese. I’m not American.” 

When Makoto isn’t hanging out with her sisters after school or doing homework, she is logged onto the internet emailing the Japanese friends she left behind years ago. She doesn’t really write with Japanese characters well, but she does her best, and her friends figure things out. With these Japanese friends, she shares that she loves basketball, misses Japanese music, and begs to be kept up-to-date on Japanese pop culture. She imagines going back to Japan to live one day with her brother and father, but her mother confides that Makoto could never reenter the Japanese schooling system. In Japan, she has lost the chance to attend a Japanese college. 

Her English teacher surprised her the other day. He gave the class a homework assignment to write a paper on things you like to do with friends. She sat down to write, but her mother soon found her in tears. She cried, “I don’t have any friends! What am I going to write about?” With much coaching and consoling from her mother, she finally wrote a few paragraphs about the email friends she corresponds with in Japan. The paper was much shorter than the teacher required. 



BYU-Public School Partnership Inclusive Pedagogy Summer Institute (Teemant & Pinnegar, August 2000). 


Suggested Citation

& (2019). Makoto Critical Incident. In , Principles of Language Acquisition. EdTech Books. Retrieved from

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