The effect of acculturation model in second language acquisition

2018 Goals for APCC Internship


Projects (Creative engagements with the community and the students):

  • Develop social media platform (and also maintenance after internship is over)
  • Crafting a newsletter and data entry
  • Field trip downtown for the students


Learning about the field:

  • Reflection through journaling about adult learning
  • More community service with adult learners
  • Advocating for adult learners


Facilitate Learning:

  • Creating a student-centered curriculum (when the student requires it)
  • Transitions from classroom to computer lab smoothly
  • Coming up with new ways to help the students learn the material (need to run it by tutor coordinator)
  • Helping teachers in the classroom


Some background on Acculturation model by Schumann

Acculturation Model is a theory proposed by John Schumann to describe the acquisition process of a second language (L2) by members of ethnic minorities[1] that typically include immigrants, migrant workers, or the children of such groups.[2] This acquisition process takes place in natural contexts of majority language setting. The main suggestion of the theory is that the acquisition of a second language is directly linked to the acculturation process, and learners’ success is determined by the extent to which they can orient themselves to the target language culture.[3]


The acculturation model came into light with Schumann’s study of six non-English learners where one learner named Alberto, unlike the other five, had little progress in the acquisition process of English.[4]


The process of acculturation was defined by Brown as “the process of being adapted to a new culture” which involves a new orientation of thinking and feeling on the part of an L2 learner.[5] According to Brown, as culture is an integral part of a human being, the process of acculturation takes a deeper turn when the issue of language is brought on the scene. Schumann based his Acculturation Model on two sets of factors: social and psychological. Schumann asserts that the degree to which the second-language learners acculturate themselves towards the culture of target-language (TL) group generally depends on social and psychological factors; and these two sorts of factors will determine respectively the level of social distance and psychological distance an L2 learner is having in course of his learning the target-language.[6] Social distance, as Ellis notes, concerns the extent to which individual learners can identify themselves with members of TL group and, thereby, can achieve contact with them. Psychological distance is the extent to which individual learners are at ease with their target-language learning task.[7] Schumann identifies eight factors that influence social distance: social dominance, integration pattern, enclosure, cohesiveness, size factor, cultural congruence, attitude factor, and intended length of residence. He also identifies three factors that influence psychological distance: motivation, attitude, and culture shock.[8] Schumann later sought to extend the acculturation model by assessing contemporary cognitive models for second language acquisition, including McLaughlin’s cognitive theory, Hatch and Hawkins’ experiential approach, Bialystok and Ryan’s model of knowledge and control dimensions, Anderson’s active control of thought framework, and Gasser’s connectionist lexical memory framework[9] .

Schumann’s Acculturation Model

John Schumann’s Acculturation Model describes the process by which immigrants pick up a new language while being completely immersed in that language.

This theory doesn’t deal with the process of language learning as we normally think of it (such as how we acquire grammar or listening skills), but rather focuses on social and psychological aspects that influence our success.

For instance, an immigrant is more likely to acquire their new target language if their language and the target language are socially equal, if the group of immigrants is small and not cohesive and if there is a higher degree of similarity between the immigrant’s culture and that of their new area of residence.

The obvious takeaway is that language learning is not an abstract subject like physics that can be learned out of a book regardless of the world around you. There are sociological factors at play, and the more we do to connect with the culture on the other end of our second


Last Updated on May 10, 2020 by Essay Pro