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Teaching Heritage Speakers Part I

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Teaching Heritage Speakers Part I

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  1. Teaching Heritage Speakers Part I STARTALK Workshop, 2013 NHLRC, UCLA Maria M. Carreira

  2. Core principles of HL teaching and curriculum design • Orient the curriculum around the “typical” HL learner (this presentation + others); • Build in pathways for individual learners • Build on learners’ knowledge of the HL and HC, using authentic, engaging, and accessible materials (Olga Kagan + others)

  3. In a nutshell: Keep your eye on the learner

  4. WHAT (WHO) IS A HERITAGE LANGUAGE LEARNER?

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

  6. 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)

  7. 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)

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

  9. 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.

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

  11. To fill in the details… • Research on the “typical” HL learner

  12. Typical HL learner (from NHLRC Survey, Carreira and Kagan, 2010) • 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

  13. These personal characteristics map onto linguistic characteristics

  14. A metaphor for thinking about HLLs’ linguistic proficiency • A house in different stages of “life”

  15. The foundations(Courtesy of Margot Mel)

  16. A metaphor for language learning in children • By age 3, the foundations of language are set; • Between ages 5-8 the structure is fortified and critical details are added • During adolescence the finishing touches are put in

  17. The complete structure(Courtesy of Margot Mel)

  18. A metaphor for language learning in children • By age 3, the foundations of language are set; • Between ages 5-8 the structure/framing is completed -> TYPICAL LEARNER • During adolescence the finishing touches are put in

  19. The finished house(Courtesy of Margot Mel)

  20. A metaphor for language learning in children • By age 3, the foundations of language are set; • Between ages 5-8 the structure/framing is completed -> TYPICAL LEARNER • During adolescence the finishing touches are put in

  21. What does this mean for us? • An HL learner who spoke his HL exclusively up to age 3 will likely have complete HL foundations (e.g. canonical gender, basic aspectual differences, word order); • An HL learner who spoke his HL exclusively or mostly spoke it between 5-8 will have pretty much the complete structure but will need the finishing touches (fine details);

  22. What does your learner look like? (1) The foundations are set; (2) The framing is complete; (3) The house is complete but in need of details

  23. A more complete picture…

  24. Factors in heritage language development • Order of acquisition of the languages (HL first, followed by Eng., both lags. at the same time); • Age of acquisition of English(ages 3-5, 6-10) • 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, peer interactions);

  25. Knowledge of the HL: It boils down to exposure • Order of acquisition: Simultaneous bilingual < sequential bilingual; • Age of acquisition of English: The later the better • Home use: Only HL < HL + English < Overwhelmingly English • Schooling: No schooling < schooling (a variety of types) • Other exposure (media, church, peers, family, travel abroad, social clubs, etc.)

  26. Also… • Language-learning aptitude • General academic aptitude • Motivation

  27. Putting these concepts into practice

  28. Order the following in terms of likely proficiency in the HL • Sequential bilingual, attends church services in the HL, speaks English and HL at home; • Simultaneous bilingual, speaks English and HL at home; • Sequential bilingual, three years of community school, lives in a neighborhood with many HL speakers, speaks mostly the HL at home.

  29. Order the following in terms of probable proficiency in the HL • Sequential bilingual, attends church services in the HL,, speaks English and HL at home, high language learning aptitude, is studying the HL to learn about his roots and connect with friends and family; • Simultaneous bilingual, speaks English and HL at home, hasvisited his HL country several times,wants to make professional use of the HL; • Sequential bilingual, three years of community school, lives in a neighborhood with many HL speakers, speaks mostly the HL at home, is taking HL to fulfill a language requirement

  30. Take away message • It’s not so easy to classify HL learners for purposes of teaching; • Greater proficiency does not always mean “better” from the point of view of teaching/learning; • Variation has many dimensions (background, aptitude, motivations, etc.);

  31. Take away message • It’s not so easy to classify HL learners for purposes of teaching; • Greater proficiency does not always mean “better” from the point of view of teaching/learning; • Variation has many dimensions; • Design the curriculum with the “typical HL learner” in mind (roughly), build in pathways for all learners;

  32. What about the elements of the broad definition?

  33. Recall 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)

  34. Typical learner(from the NHLRC survey) • 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)

  35. The typical learner benefits from his HL along the following dimensions • Peer relations; • Identity development; • Family connections; • Connection to the community; • Horizon expanding experiences; (Carreira and Kagan, 2010)

  36. The typical learner benefits from his HL along the following dimensions • Peer relations; • Identity development; • Family connections; • Connection to the community; • Horizon expanding experiences; (Carreira and Kagan, 2010)

  37. Peer relations, identity • All my life, I've been around people not of my native heritage. To be in a class with people of the same culture as I am feels inviting and accepting. I am now able to speak to my classmates in a different language whilst making myself feel integrated in my culture (Vietnamese) • During middle school and high school, I felt that my heritage language was not something that I would consider a valuable skill. I only spoke Tagalog when calling relatives back in the Philippines during holidays and special occasions. I only started to take pride in my knowledge of my heritage language after coming to UCSD and joining Filipino clubs as well as enrolling in classes such as Advanced Filipino.

  38. Parenthetically… • Yi (2008) examines how peer networks contributes to literacy. • The subjects of her study (2 Korean adolescents) were avid participants in instant messaging, online community posting, online diary writing, etc. to discuss topics of personal interest with their peers; • Yi argues that HL literacy should be tied to personal interests and peer relations.

  39. The typical learner benefits from his HL along the following dimensions • Peer relations; • Identity development; • Family connections; • Connection to the community; • Horizon expanding experiences; (Carreira and Kagan, 2010)

  40. Research on connections to HL culture, family • Immigrant children are generally best served by maintaining ties to their culture of origin. This is because immigrant cultures are the repositories of beliefs and attitudes that are conducive to success, such as respect of family and authority, deference for education, and optimism about the future. In addition, by holding on to their expressive culture immigrant children can retain a sense of identity and social connectedness, both of which are crucial to the psychological well-being of children (Suárez-Orozco and Suárez Orozco, 2001)

  41. Family and community(Carreira & Kagan, 2010) Knowledge of my heritage language has helped me outside of school in that I've been able to communicate and connect with my family and the greater Ethiopian community…Knowledge of my heritage language has also helped me at church in that I have been able to understand parts of and follow along in the sermons (which are partly held in Amharic). Perhaps the most important thing to note about knowing my heritage language is that it has allowed me to communicate with my family (especially because many older relatives, like my grandmothers, speak very little to no English at all).

  42. The typical learner benefits from his HL along the following dimensions • Peer relations; • Identity development; • Family connections; • Connection to the community; • Horizon expanding experiences; (Carreira and Kagan, 2010)

  43. Expanding horizons(Carreira & Kagan, 2010) • It has helped me understand people better, and understand the different levels of diversity we have in our university. It has allowed me to understand who I am and how I relate to my school environment. (Chinese) • It’s made me a more “global citizen”, “a more open-minded person”, “more curious of the other”

  44. Now we have a plan Linguistic needs (narrow definition) Socio-affective needs (broad definition)

  45. Core principles of HL teaching and curriculum design √ Orient the curriculum around the “typical” HL learner (this presentation); • Build in pathways for individual learners • Build on learners’ knowledge of the HL and HC, using authentic, engaging, and accessible materials (Olga Kagan, next)

  46. Are we done?

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

  48. The what-centered view with L2 learners

  49. The curriculum-centered classroom

  50. But what if…