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Teaching Heritage Speakers: Best practices

Teaching Heritage Speakers: Best practices

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Teaching Heritage Speakers: Best practices

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  1. Teaching Heritage Speakers: Best practices Maria M. Carreira STARTALK, UCLA July 18, 2011

  2. Workshop topicsThe ins and outs of HL teaching • 5 components of “Enduring knowledge”: Core curriculum of this workshop • A larger number of components “Important to know and do” • Many items “Worth knowing”

  3. Five Components of Enduring Knowledge • The general principles of good language teaching also apply to HL teaching. • HL teaching should be learner-centered, rather than curriculum centered • Curriculum and syllabus design should be grounded on issues of language and identity • Program design should make linguistic and demographic sense • HL teaching should be assessment intensive

  4. Today’s presentation AM: Two views of what language teachers do • Why HL teaching must be learner-centered • Curriculum, syllabus and program design within the learner-centered paradigm PM: Responding to Individual learner needs • Differentiation strategies • Assessment

  5. Project description • Each language group will develop a teaching unit to be used with HL learners. The development of the unit will follow a 3-step process, with each requirement being the primary focus of specific meetings. Teaching units will be presented to the class on the last day of the workshop.

  6. Unit requirements • Spans three to four class periods (3-5 instructional hours) • Exemplifies the 5 components of “Enduring understanding” • Incorporates components that are “Important to know and do”, as well as “worth knowing”; • Is anchored in the HL community • Is aligned with the Standards for foreign language learning and other best L2 practices

  7. Today’s assignment Using rubrics 8, 9, and 10 in the “Guide to HL Teaching”, the group will discuss HL learner characteristics and the dimension of learner variation in the classroom. This information will serve to identify general goals and pedagogical approaches and strategies for the unit. In addition, the group will describe the teaching context and the societal use of the HL in their area of residence as well as at a national level. On the basis of this discussion, participants will select an HL theme/topic for the instructional unit and identify resources in the HL community and elsewhere.


  9. View # 1: Teach Languages

  10. View #2: Teach language learners

  11. The “What-centered” view versusThe “Who-centered” view

  12. Traditionally, language teaching has been “what centered” “What centered” = “curriculum centered” Teachers start at the front of the curriculum

  13. The what-centered view with L2 learners

  14. The curriculum-centered classroom

  15. But what if…

  16. And...

  17. What happens when you apply a curriculum-centered approach to HL teaching?

  18. The what-centered view with HL learners

  19. The “who-centered” view “Who-centered” = “learner centered”

  20. The “learner-centered” classroom

  21. Why is the learner-centered view better? • HL learners differ from each other with regard to - linguistic abilities (in the HL and in English) - literacy skills - affective needs - goals for their HL • HL learners also differ from L2 learners

  22. Exploring the “WHO” What does the “learner-centered” view teach us?

  23. Exploring the “who” • Definitions; • Research on the “typical” HL learner; • Research on HL learner variation

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

  25. Definitions orient us to the what of HL teaching

  26. 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)

  27. 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)

  28. HL learners who fit the narrow definition also fit the broad definition 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.

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

  30. Filling in details • Definitions • Research on the “typical” HL learner • Research on HL learner variation

  31. Factors in heritage language development • Age of acquisition of English (ages 4, 8) • Order of acquisition of the languages (HL first, followed by Eng., both lags. at the same time); • Language use at home (only the HL, HL + Eng., English only); • Schooling in the HL; • General exposure to the HL e.g. time spent abroad, media use, demographic density of local HL speakers;

  32. Typical HL learner (from NHLRC Survey) • Used their HL exclusively until age 5, when they started school (+) • Has visited their country of origin once or twice; (+) • Listens to music, watches soap operas, and attends religious services in their HL (not much reading) (+/-); • Little to no schooling in the HL (-); • US born (?)

  33. Linguistic strengths and needs • Some facility in informal/spoken language • Low literacy (limited command of embedding – compound sentences, little to no command of the academic registers) • Grammar areas in need of attention: those learned after age 5 – Aspect, the subjunctive, perfect verb forms (Montrul, 2008, 2011);

  34. Curriculum • Particular language features acquired after age 5; e.g. Aspect, subjunctive, perfect subjunctive • Linguistic skills acquired through schooling (expansion of bilingual range, literacy, vocabulary and grammar);

  35. We also have the “why” (orientation)

  36. Typical learner profile (cont.) • Has positive associations with his HL, but also some insecurities; • Is a “hyphenated American” (e.g. Arab-American) • Wants to learn more about his roots; • Wants to connect with other members of his/her community; • Enjoys using his/her HL to help others; • Would like to take professional advantage of his/her HL skills (only Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese speakers)

  37. Reasons for studying the HL

  38. Socio-affective orientation of the curriculum • Responds to HL learners’ affective needs– i.e. the need to explore issues of identity, builds on learners’ positive associations, combats negative associations; • Responds to HL learners’ social needs – i.e. the desire to connect with other US speakers; • Responds to HL learners’ professional goals;

  39. Exploring the “how”

  40. Exploring the “how” • Definitions: Two orientations (identity + language) • Research on the “typical” HL learner: Details on identity and socio-affective issues, and linguistic needs) • Research on HL learner variation

  41. Research on HL Learner variation Individual learner variation Variation in the class

  42. Research on HL Learner variation Individual learner variation Variation in the class

  43. Review: Critical factors in proficiency • Home language (the HL + English, only the HL, English only); • Age of acquisition of English (before 5, after 10); • Order of acquisition of English (simultaneous, sequential) • Schooling in the HL; • Overall exposure to the HL: travel abroad, media use, density of local HL speakers;

  44. Variation as a function of life experiences

  45. Variation in the classroom contextThe NHLRC Survey One-track program: L2 and HL learners together (L2-HL classes) Dual-track program: Separate classes for L2 and and HL learners (HL classes) Type 1: Only one HL course (most common); Type 2: Two levels of HL instruction;

  46. L2-HL class: Japanese 300 (Third year college course) • 16 students (12 HL learners + 4 L2 learners) • HL learners: All have intermediate-to-advanced aural skills 8 had three or more years of schooling; 4 had one to two years of schooling; • L2 learners: All had taken four semesters of Japanese

  47. Variation in Japanese 100 • Between HL learners • Between HL and L2 learners

  48. HL Class: Arabic 100 for HL learners Arabic: Diglossia • Modern Standard Arabic (High prestige, formal situations, written, known by educated speakers, lingua franca among Arabs from different countries); • Colloquial Arabic (Low prestige, home language, informal communications, not commonly written, mutually unintelligible regional dialects) (Maamouri 1998) Arabic 100: • 11 students from six Arab countries (Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt) and 1 student from Indonesia (Muslim). • 2 have four or more years of education abroad, 3 have three years of religious education in Arabic in the US; the rest have no literacy skills in Arabic;

  49. Variation in Arabic 100 • Between HL learners • Dialectal • Diglossic • Literacy