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Attending to the Needs of Heritage Language Learners in Mixed Classrooms

Attending to the Needs of Heritage Language Learners in Mixed Classrooms

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Attending to the Needs of Heritage Language Learners in Mixed Classrooms

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  1. Attending to the Needs of Heritage Language Learners in Mixed Classrooms Maria M. Carreira, Claire Chik Joan Chevalier, Alejandro Lee, Julio Torres, AlegríaRibadeneira National Heritage Language Resource Center, UCLA March 6, 2014

  2. Overview of this presentation:Five principles for teaching mixed classes • Know your learners; • Choose and use materials with a view towards making learning meaningful, engaging, and accessible to all learners; • Make students active and autonomous partners in what happens in the classroom; • Build pathways to learning for all learners; • Design courses and curricula that make linguistic and demographic sense.

  3. But first Why focus on mixed classes?

  4. Rationale: • Mixed classes are more common than HL classes (the NHLRC programs survey); • Thedisconnect: By and large, efforts in the area of HL teaching have focused largely on HL classes; • The principles outlined in this presentation also apply to HL classes.

  5. What we know about mixed classes(The NHLRC Programs survey) • There are three types of mixed classes: Type 1: Very few HL learners (one to three); Type 2: Small but significant numbers of HL learners; Type 3: HL-learner majority (some are the mirror image of type 1)

  6. Common challenge(s)/issue(s) Type 1: One or two HL learners; Type 2: HL learners are a significant minority of class; Type 3: HL learners are a (significant) majority of the class

  7. Specific challenge(s) for each Type 1: One or two HL learners; Type 2: HL learners are a significant minority of class; Type 3: HL learners are a (significant) majority of the class

  8. Findings of the NHLRC Programs Study Type 1 (very few HL learners) Needs of HL learners tend to be disregarded Types 2 and 3 (significant minority or majority HLL population); Apply L2 methodology, materials, etc.

  9. Quotes from the survey • Type 1: I did not give particular consideration to HL—they are usually a very small segment of the class. • Type 2: (Name of book) does not address the needs of HL but it does a good job at the beginning level where the majority of our students take the (name of language) as a general language requirement and where we have less HL (15%) than at more advanced levels.

  10. The background behind this state of affairs; • Limited resources (funding, instructors, materials); • Too few students (HL or L2) make it impossible to separate students; • Lack of institutional/departmental commitment; • Foreign language teaching methods are ill-suited to teaching HL learners in specialized and mixed classes.

  11. Overview of this presentation:Five principles for teaching mixed classes • Know your learners; • Choose and use materials with a view towards making learning meaningful, engaging, and accessible to all learners; • Make students active and autonomous partners in what happens in the classroom; • Build pathways to learning for all learners; • Design courses and curricula that make linguistic and demographic sense.

  12. Overview of this presentation:Five principles for teaching mixed classes • Know your learners; • Choose and use materials with a view towards making learning meaningful, engaging, and accessible to all learners; • Make students active and autonomous partners in what happens in the classroom; • Build pathways to learning for all learners; • Design courses and curricula that make linguistic and demographic sense.

  13. Sources of information on learners Definitions + linguistic studies

  14. Third source?

  15. Definitions:Who is a heritage language learner? • Narrow definitions – based on proficiency • Broad definitions – based on affiliation

  16. Example of a narrow definition “An individual who is raised in a home where a non-English language is spoken, who speaks or merely understands the heritage language, and who is to some degree bilingual in English and the heritage language” (Valdés, 2001, p. 38)

  17. Example of a broad definition Heritage language learners are individuals who “…have familial or ancestral ties to a particular language and who exert their agency in determining whether or not they are HLLs (heritage language learners) of that HL (heritage language) and HC (heritage culture) (Hornberger and Wang, 2008, p. 27)

  18. Learners who fit the narrow definition also fit the broad definition

  19. Broad + narrow definitions = two orientations to HL teaching Linguistic needs (narrow definition) Affective needs (broad definition)

  20. Broad + narrow definitions = two orientations to HL teaching Linguistic needs (narrow definition) Affective needs (broad definition)

  21. Needs stemming from broad definition?

  22. In high school I was one of very few Latinos. My friend and I were called the "Mexican kids". This was always funny to me because my Dad's family always told me I was American. In school I was labeled Mexican, but to the Mexicans, I am an American. I am part of each, but not fully accepted by either. In high school, I was considered Mexican because I spoke Spanish but I was considered "Pocho" by my Dad's family because my Spanish was not up to their standard. It's this weird duality in which you are stuck in the middle. Latinos are often told that they are not Americans but also that they are not connected to their heritage. You take pride in both cultures and learn to deal with the rejection. You may never be fully embraced by either side. That's why you seek out other people like yourself. Socializing with people who share a common experience helps you deal with this experience.

  23. Broad + narrow definitions = two orientations to HL teaching Linguistic needs (narrow definition) Affective needs (broad definition)

  24. Activity time! Activity I, p. 2

  25. My work:Spanish names in the U.S. • Two last names or one? • Nicknames? • Two different first names? • Maiden name or husband’s last name? • What do you do with difficult to pronounce names? Keep them as they are? Modify them? Drop and substitute?

  26. What about L2 learners? • What can be done to make “My Name” meaningful and engaging for them?

  27. Strategies • Think in terms of comparing and contrasting elements of the target culture with American culture (Example: Little Red Riding Hood). • Think in terms of adding “insider” knowledge or perspectives to the information presented (Example: Almanac style presentation of a country)

  28. Let’s practice

  29. READY? Activity II, pp. 2 -3

  30. Back to:Five principles for teaching mixed classes • Know your learners; • Choose and use materials with a view towards making learning meaningful, engaging, and accessible to all learners; • Make students active and autonomous partners in what happens in the classroom; • Build pathways to learning for all learners; • Design courses and curricula that make linguistic and demographic sense.

  31. Back to the two orientations of HL teaching…

  32. Broad + narrow definitions = two orientations to HL teaching Linguistic needs (narrow definition) Affective needs (broad definition)

  33. HL learners’ linguistic needs are a function of • The context of learning • The timing of learning • The amount input • The type of input

  34. HL learner needs and strengths are a function of • The context of learning: primarily, home -> informal, home register, perhaps non-standard • The timing of learning: early years, diminished or discontinued upon starting school -> similar to the language of children •The amount input: limited, relative to natives -> incomplete knowledge of the HL (missing features acquired later in life) • The type of input: oral, informal, spontaneous, -> implicit knowledge of the HL

  35. Compare to L2 learners

  36. L2 learner needs and strengths • The context of learning: school -> formal, standard, academic, rehearsed, controlled • The timing of learning: adolescence, early adulthood -> adult-like with respect to certain features •The amount input: limited (relative to native speakers and HL learners) -> incomplete with respect to certain features (those acquired early in life) • The type of input: formal, focused on form -> explicit knowledge of rules

  37. HL and L2 learners tend to have complimentary skills and needs HL language L2 language • The context of learning: shool -> formal, standard, academic, rehearsed, controlled • The timing of learning: adolescence, early adulthood -> adult-like with respect to certain features •The amount input: limited (relative to native speakers and HL learners) -> incomplete with respect to certain features (early acquired features) • The type of input: formal, focused on form -> explicit knowledge of rules • The context of learning: primarily, home -> informal, home register, non-standard, spontaneous •The timing of learning: early years, diminished or discontinued upon starting school -> similar to the language of children •The amount input: limited, relative to natives -> incomplete knowledge of the HL (late-acquired items) • The type of input: oral, informal, spontaneous -> implicit knowledge of the HL

  38. Two perspectives of complimentary nature of HL and L2 learners’ knowledge

  39. Understanding heritage language learners Two studies bring these perspectives into focus

  40. Two studies of paired interactions between HL and L2 (Bowles 2011, 2012) • HL and L2 learners were matched for proficiency; • They worked together on an information gap activity; • In the first study learners benefited more from the activity than HL learners; • In the second study, both types of learners benefited equally from the activity.

  41. First study: L2 learners benefited more from the activity

  42. Second study: Both learners benefited from paired interactions

  43. What made the difference? • Material + task HL learners are better at tasks that tap into intuitive use of language, L2 learners, on the other hand, do better at tasks that require meta-linguistic knowledge (knowledge of rules); HL learners are more familiar with home vocabulary; L2 learners, on the other hand, are more familiar with academic vocabulary

  44. First study: Only L2 learners benefitted • Information gap activity with a picture of a kitchen (home vocabulary) All tasks were oral; HL learners already knew this, so they did not gain new knowledge. L2 learners benefitted from HL learners’ expertise.

  45. Second study • Information gap activity with a picture of an office; Oral and written tasks. Vocabulary was unknown to both learner types, so both benefitted. Oral task benefitted L2 learners. Written task benefitted HL learners.

  46. Take home lesson about HL + L2 pairings • Take advantage of complimentary strengths of HL and L2 learners • Mix tasks that require intuitive knowledge (hard for L2Ls), and tasks that require meta-linguistic knowledge (hard for HLLs); • Hold both students accountable for contributing to the task (assign the harder task to each type of learner); • Match HL-L2 learners for proficiency (????)

  47. A metaphor for HL + L2 pairings Seating arrangements at a fancy dinner party

  48. Sample strategies and activitiesfor HL + L2 pairings • Cloze activity • Long distance dictation • KWL chart • Vocabulary rubric

  49. Cloze activity: HL-L2 learner groupings My great-grandmother. I ______liked to have known her, a wild, horse of a woman, so wild she ________ marry. Until my great-grandfather _________ a sack over her head and ________ her off. Just like that, as if she ________a fancy chandelier. That's the way he did it. And the story goes she never forgave him. She _________ out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow. I wonder if she _______the best with what she got or was she sorry because she ________be all the things she wanted to be.