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“We Build Up This Community Together”: Examining Multi-Agency Partnership of a Khmer Heritage Language Program in California. Ravy S. Lao University of California, Santa Barbara

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Ravy S. Lao University of California, Santa Barbara


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    1. “We Build Up This Community Together”: Examining Multi-Agency Partnership of a Khmer Heritage Language Program in California Ravy S. LaoUniversity of California, Santa Barbara Challenges and Achievements in Community Language Schools UCLA National Heritage Language Resource Center April 13, 2013

    2. Contextualizing the Khmer Speech Community The “Khmer” Term An emic word referring to both the language and people within the Cambodian community Immigration History to the U.S. First Wave (1960s – 1970s) Consisted of university students and (in the early 1970s) people with military and political ties (Needham & Quintilliani, 2008; Wright, 2010). Second Wave(1980s – 1990s) Comprised of individuals (“survivors of the killing fields”) fleeing the country after the overthrown of the Communist Khmer Rouge regime headed by Pol Pot. Entered the U.S. under the status of political refugees (Needham & Quintilliani, 2008; Wright, 2010).

    3. Contextualizing the Khmer Speech Community Cont’d Census 2000 Areas of High Population Concentration, Census 2000

    4. The Literature on Community-Based Language Schools The majority of the schools are usually established and independently run by the ethnic community members (Fishman & Nahirny, 1964; Shibata, 2000; Zhou & Li, 2003). The existence of these schools are not well known to the wider community in which they are situated (Peyton, 2013).

    5. The Literature on Community-Based Language Schools Cont’d . . . Prior studies on heritage language/community schools tend to focus on the roles of HL in relationship to and within the ethnic community (Chik, 2010; Needham, 1996; Shibata, 2000; Zhou & Li, 2003). This paper offers a different framework by seeking to make visible ways in which heritage language/community schools can play beyond the ethnic community.

    6. Orienting Framework The multi-agency partnership framework: Grounding heritage language/community school establishment through the lens of urban community development (Lynch, 2008), this paper, focusing on a Khmer language program in California as an exemplar, makes visible how city’s institutions can engage with immigrant/refugee community development.

    7. Methodology & Methods • An ethnographic case study Began in May 2008 – Sept. 2010 • Research site _ Khmer Saturday language program _ Bayview*, a city in California with high concentration of Khmer people • Participants _ 2 directors of the different agencies _ 3 volunteered teachers _ 24 parents _ 26 students • Data collection _ Semi-structured interviews _ Participant observations _ Archival city’s documents _ 2-hour weekly classroom observations (2008-2010) * Names of individuals and places are pseudonyms.

    8. Analysis Approach Discourse analysis Texts consisted of interview transcripts, city’s archival documents, and fieldnotes. • Engaged in a process of backward and forward mapping across time and events and examined the links among the texts (Tuyay et al., 1995). • Traced intertextual(Bloome et al., 2005; Fairclough, 1993; Kristeva, 1986)and intercontextual relationships (Floriani, 1993)among events and people in the texts. Intertextualityexamines the links among text produced by members of the community being studied. Intercontextuality refers to the links among cultural practices that members develop and use to shape the text being constructed.

    9. The Bayview Khmer Language Program The program, free of charge, was founded in spring 2008  Khmer and non-Khmer speakers are welcome. • Consists of 2 classes children class (6-12 years) adult class (13+ years) • Meets every Saturday 10:00 A.M. – 11:30 A.M. • Locates in the Community Room of Bayview Public Library

    10. The Curriculum • Language of instruction is English • Classes predominately focus on Khmer literacy development including: - learning the consonants, vowels, and numbers; - combining consonants with vowels; - recognizing phrases & sentence structures and learning to produce them. • Khmer culture is incorporated into the lessons as needed. • There are no formal textbooks in both classes; instructors teach the way they want.

    11. The Community-City Partnership Formation

    12. An Interview with One of the Partners Who Said: “The other City’s departments are committed to working with my department so as to improve this area. This way we build up this community together. ” (Sam, Bayview Neighborhood Community Police Center)

    13. Resources Provided by Each Partner

    14. Stacks of Khmer Books At Bayview Public Library Since 2008, staff at Bayview Public Library has made two trips to Cambodia to purchase Khmer books. Today, the library owns the largest collection of Khmer books in the nation according to the library’s website.

    15. Conclusion The Bayview Khmer Language Program makes visible how a partnership between an ethnic community and city’s institutions is rendered possible. In this case, the partners joined forces in order to meet the needs of its members and, together, improve their community. Specifically, the program has shown to: • mutually benefit all stakeholders involved, • provide multi-layered resources in sustaining the program, and • bring more awareness and visibility of the program to the larger community in which it is situated.

    16. References Bloome, D., Carter, S. P., Christian, B. M., Otto, S., & Shuart-Faris, N. (2005). Discourse analysis and the study of classroom language and literacy events: A microethnographic perspective. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Chik, C. A. (2010). Looking both ways: Structure, agency, and language ideology at a Chinese Saturday school. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation).University of California, Los Angeles. Fairclough, N. (1993). Discourse and text: Linguistic and intertextual analysis within discourse analysis. Discourse and Society, 3(2), 193-218. Fishman, J.A., & Nahirny, V.C. (1966). The ethnic group school and mother tongue maintenance. In J.A. Fishman (Ed.), Language loyalty in the United States: The maintenance and perpetuation of non-English mother tongues by American ethnic and religious groups (pp. 92-126). The Hague, Netherlands: Mouton. Floriani, A. (1993). Negotiating what counts: Roles and relationships, content and meaning, texts and contexts. Linguistics and Education, 5(3&4), 241-274) Kristeva, J. (1986). Word, dialogue, and novel. In T. Moi (Ed.), The Kristeva reader (pp. 34-61). Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Lynch, B. K. (2008). Locating and utilizing heritage language resources in the community: An asset-based approach to program design and evaluation. In D.M. Brinton, O. Kagan, and S. Bauckus (Eds.), Heritage language education: A new field emerging (pp. 321-333). New York, NY: Routledge.

    17. References Cont’d . . . Needham, S. A. (1996). Literacy, learning and language ideology: Intracommunity variation in Khmer literacy instruction. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of California, Los Angeles. Needham, S., & Quintiliani, K. (2008). Cambodians in Long Beach. Mount Pleasant, SC:Arcadia Publishing. Peyton, J. K. (2013, April 13). Community-based language schools in the national educational landscape. Keynote address at the National Heritage Language Resource Center Conference: “Challenges and Achievements in Community Language Schools”, University of California, Los Angeles. Reeves, T.J., & Bennett, C.E. (2004). We the people: Asians in the United States, census 2000 special reports: Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau. Shibata, S. (2000). Opening a Japanese Saturday school in a small town in the United States: Community collaboration to teach Japanese as a heritage language. Bilingual Research Journal, 24(4), 333-342. Tuyay, S., Floriani, A., Yeager, B., Dixon, C., & Green, J. (1995). Constructing an integrated, inquiry-oriented approach in classrooms: A cross-case analysis of social, literate, and academic practice. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 30(2), 1-15. Wright, W. E. (2010). Khmer as a heritage language in the United States: Historical sketches, current realities, and future prospective. Heritage Language Journal, 7(1), 117-147. Zhou, M., & Li, X. (2003). Ethnic language schools and the development of supplementary education in the immigrant Chinese community in the United States. New Directions for Youth Development, 100, 57-73