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

Schumann's Acculturation Model

Variability Summary C

Some learners make rapid progress in learning a second language, while others with the same initial ability and language instruction make little progress in the same amount of time. Schumann hypothesized that this difference could be accounted for by characteristics of the social and psychological distance learners placed between themselves and the language they were learning. Schumann identified eight characteristics of social distance and four characteristics of psychological distance.

Characteristics of Social Distance:


Explanations of Characteristics

Social Dominance Patterns

The native language learners' reference group can be superior, inferior, or equal in terms of politics, culture, technology, or economics. If they view their group as superior, they may not learn the second language.

Integration Strategies

Assimilative learners give up native language values and lifestyles. Preservative learners keep native language values and lifestyles. Adaptive learners become bicultural and switch depending on the group.


When groups share social facilities, enclosure is low. This supports language learning.

Intended Length of Residency

Length of time a learner plans to stay in the country and the permanency of residency in the country impact motivation to learn a new language.


Strong intragroup contact in the native language community with few contacts outside the community impacts second language learning.


The size of the native language community may impact L2 learning.

Cultural Congruence

The similarity and harmony between the cultures impact second language learning.


The feelings of the reference groups toward each other impact learning.

Characteristics of Psychological Distance:


Explanations of Characteristics

Language Shock

Feeling silly about trying to learn the language equates to less likely to learn.

Culture Shock

Being anxious or disoriented in the culture equates to less likely to learn.


Level of motivation affects learning.


The extent to which second language learners view their first language as fixed and rigid will impact their learning of the second language.

Adapted with permission from:                                                                                             

Teemant, A. & Pinnegar, S. (2007). Understanding Langauge Acquisition Instructional Guide. Brigham Young University-Public School Partnership. 

Suggested Citation

& (2019). Schumann's Acculturation Model: Variability Summary C. In (Ed.), Principles of Language Acquisition. EdTech Books.

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