The Heritage Learner and the Overseas Immersion ProgramsA Comparative Examination of Learning Outcomes, L-2 Utilization, and Acculturation in the Flagship Capstone Programs Dr. Dan E. Davidson and Dr. Maria D. Lekic American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS June 22, 2012
American Councils* American Councils for International Education advances scholarly research and cross-border learning through the design and implementation of educational programs that are well grounded in key world languages, cultures and regions. We contribute to the creation of new knowledge, broader professional perspectives, and personal and intellectual growth through international training, academic exchange, collaboration in educational development, and public diplomacy. With a presence in the U.S., Russia and Eurasia for nearly four decades, in addition to representation in over thirty countries across Africa, Asia, China, the Middle East and Southeastern Europe, American Councils strives to expand dialog among students, scholars, educators and professionals for the advancement of learning and mutual respect in the diverse communities and societies in which we work. *ACTR is a division of the American Councils.
Flagship as Stimulus for Rethinking the Role of Overseas Immersion & Level 3 • Goal of overseas study – language and content learning with multiple perspectives, “multi-voicedness” (Byrnes), or hetero-glossia, similar to Bakhtinian dialogism. • AC Programs encourage a self-reflective stance: self-assessments, regular goal setting, expressions of attitude and appreciation, as well as holistic and analytic assessments of L-2 linguistic and related competencies. • Learning with a critical perspective (Byram) on both native and target languages and cultures: ICC = attitudes, L-2 and C-2 interaction skills (linguistic and behavioral), knowledge of L-2 and C-2, and the skills for critical interpretation (reading, listening), literacy (not just talking).
Simon’s Law: time-on-task alone is insufficient. Activity must be “effortful.” • For that reason, learning outcomes are compared with time-on-task, a systematic program of • goal-setting, • self-evaluation, • external evaluation, and • self-reflection • which accompany the formal and informal training and L-2 utilization components that make up the Flagship Program. • This is accomplished through the use of the online Language Utilization Reporting System (LUR).
Intervention Components: AC Overseas Programs • Academic Components (age appropriate) • Intensive language training in small groups • All overseas centers are native schools or universities • Direct enrollment courses or classes. • Regular twice weekly or daily meetings with language tutor • Integrated cultural program (bi-weekly, tied to thematic units of the course) • Co-Curricular (age appropriate) • Integrated homestay or residential component • Internships • Volunteer opportunities • Optional discussion groups with native speakers (5-6 times per semester) • On-going evaluation (testing, site visits, teacher/tutor reports, portfolio development, self-evaluation) • Regular (Weekly or Bi-weekly Language Utilization Reports (time-place, function)
ROF Program Participants 2004-05 to 2011-12 • 85 US participants to date • Age • 65% of students are 22-23 years old • Range: 20-41 • Average: 23.77 • Gender • 42 male and 43 female students • Heritage status • 10 heritage and 75 non-heritage learners • Representatives of 43 U.S. universities and colleges, including 5 domestic RF’s
Direct Enrollments (Partial Listing) • Biochemistry and Viral Immunology • Advanced Probability Theory • Policy of the Russian Regions • Legal Regulations: Social and Political Conflicts • Orthodoxy and the Russian Philosophy of Culture • The Modern System of Defending Human Rights • The Technology of Election Campaigns • Philosophy in the XIX – XX Century • Economy of the Public Sector • The Institution of Conflicting Sanctions: History and Theory
Current Internship Placements: Russia • Department of Economic Geography (RGPU) • Likhachev International Humanitarian Fund • Center for NGO Development • Hermitage Museum- architectural archeology • Environmental Rights Center "Bellona" • Center "Strategiya" (SPB Think Tank) • St. Petersburg City Zoo and Large Animal Veterinary Center • Ernst & Young • The Civil Society Fund, Eu. Int. University • Leningrad Regional Press Service Center • Magazine "Art & Times" • City Hospital #2. Endocrinology Division.
Formal L-2 Training Courses : SPB ROF L-2 component taught by a senior lecturer, followed by small group work with a junior faculty member. Group work Hours per week • Readingbeyond the lines: Russian literature and press 2 • Analytical reading (section-level) 2 • Mass-media: current issues in Russian society (spring semester) 2 • Contemporary norms of spoken Russian (phonetics and discourse) 4 • Advanced composition and Russian structure 2 • Language through culture: lecture plus discussion/excursion 4 Individual: • Direct Enrollment seminar or lecture course (fall semester) 3 • Language tutorials 4 TOTAL 21
Formal L-2 Training Courses: Heritage Version of SPB ROF Language and Content Courses Hours per week Heritage students have direct enrollment courses and internships in both semesters. (One or two direct enrollments are permitted) Heritage students enroll in the same core lecture sessions, but work as a dedicated group at the section-level of each, where they pursue enhanced readings of general cultural as well as in their areas of specialization. Reading lists are enhanced, with much less time devoted to comprehension of texts, more emphasis on interpretation and discussion. Heritage “core” is conceived as a “bridge” curriculum between the non-heritage Level 3 core curriculum and the standard SPBSU student-level course work on the same topics. Heritage writing program is new in 2011-12, based, in part, on the rubrics and norms reflected in the Russian Federation writing standard reflected in the EGE.
I. Starting from the end (Начнем с конца!) Overview of Measured Learning Outcomes in the Context of the Russian Overseas Flagship for Heritage and Non-Heritage Students.
II. From Product to Process Relating target language utilization to ultimate attainment in the ROF context How different are the language behaviors of heritage and non-heritage students of Russian? Data from the LUR: 2004-2012
What is an LUR? Language Utilization Report (LUR) is an online reporting and database system, developed by AC, to provide overseas students with a standardized format for entering time-on-task data for their target language use (a calendar-diary) as well as for encouraging regular and systematic reflection about their target language growth and strategy selections. LUR is a required part of the Flagship overseas programs and is submitted by on-program students on a weekly or bi-weekly basis (depending on the program), exc. for vacations All LUR’s are read promptly by an onsite program coordinator and by a US-based senior language advisor. ROF database: - 1429 individual reports by 84 students -98,473 documented hours of L-2 use -Mean Total Hours Per Week Using Russian: 69.94
Average Weekly Number of Hours Spent on Activities: By Post-test OPIs (Academic Year)
Average Weekly Number of Hours Spent on Activities: By Heritage Status (Academic Year)
Average Weekly Number of Hours Spent on Activities: By Gender (Academic Year)
Percentage of Time Spent on Various Activities • Friends 15% • Host Family 13% (3+), 9.5(3), 8.6(2+) • Academic 40% • Reading 14% (3+), 11%(2+/3) • Cultural events 4%(3+), 3.1% (3), 1.7% (2+) • Internships 10% • Other 4% • Mean Total Hours Per Week Using Russian: 69.94
Table 3Mean Scores for Student Feedback on Overall Improvement Russian Program Participants AY2010-2011 5=Great improvement and 1=No improvement at all
Table 2Mean Scores for Student Feedback on Overall Improvement Russian Heritage Speakers 5=Great improvement and 1=No improvement at all
Table 8Mean Scores for Student Feedback on Impact of Co-Curricular Activities on Language Learning and Understanding Culture 5=Great improvement and 1=No improvement at all
III. From Process to an Ethnography of the Overseas Heritage Learner Experience • External factors distinguishing the HL experience at the Flagship level • Internal factors affecting the HL experience • Self-management strategies for dealing with external and internal challenges to the HL experience • The evolution of the HL experience from September to May. The emergence of Level-III functionality and socio-pragmatic competencies. • The HL, as viewed by their instructors, internship providers and homestay hosts – a 360-degree view of the subject.
Target Language : Early Academic Challenges • It is difficult to listen, process the information, and write down what the professor said in Russian. • Answering questions in class: being put on the spot by professors in small classes: difficult and new, but a very good practice for clarifying concepts that I do not understand. (September)
Early challenges: Language in public • “I was scolded today at the theater box office, because the salesperson thought I was a native Russian and should know and understand what is written on the posters. But I am only a “heritage speaker” and it’s frustrating to explain each time that just because I don’t have an accent doesn’t mean I understand everything.” (September)
Managing expectations for heritage learners: being perceived as native • I was yelled at by one of the heads of the Department because I could not explain clearly what I wanted. I asked if there is a place where I could see the course schedule for the Department. But the woman thought I was a Russian student and should know where it is. After I explained to her I was an exchange student from the U.S., she finally believed me (after asking if my parents were Russian), she apologized and invited me into the office for tea.” (September)
Early HL experiences: external validation of HL roles “I tend to play the role of mediator when a fellow student (non-heritage) speaker becomes confused and I am able to explain what is going on to that person, or step in, and explain to the Russian person what exactly my non-native friend means, or is looking for.” (September)
HL mediating between two cultures: overseas relatives • I was pleased when I was able to explain certain aspects of life in America as compared to Russia while talking to my relatives (economic crisis, jobs, etc.) • October.
Dealing with native stereotypes: overseas relatives “When in Moscow I got into a lengthy discussion with my uncle about my participation in the Flagship Program. He, with a limited knowledge of my language proficiency, could not figure out why I was studying Russian, especially as a foreign language. I, meanwhile, was trying to explain that I have valid reasons for wanting to improve my Russian. Keeping us with this fast-paced discussion and trying to prove a point wasn’t always easy, and got a bit frustrating.” (Oct.)
Dealing with native stereotypes: overseas relatives “When communicating with my Russian family now with a lot more cultural understanding behind what I am saying. I complimented my grandmother the other day over the phone in Russian, and, in what I think was a very Russian way. And from her reaction, I realized that she no longer thought of me as her ‘American’ grand-daughter.” (9-28)
Self-assessing the language of negative affect: relatives in the US • I have been able to explain to my mother [in NY by phone] certain frustrations completely in Russian without adding any words in English. (11-30)
External validation of language progress: role of parents in the US I called my parents and read my essay (about the winter vacation) and they were very impressed with my essay, use of words, grammar, etc., saying that it has improved a lot since I moved to SPB: небо и земля! I felt very proud of myself. (January)
External validation of language progress: role of an outsider • I went to the doctor and he did not attempt to speak English with me the way he did last time. I guess I showed a better understanding and ability to speak Russian. • (January)
External validation of language progress: passing for native? I went to a Russian stand-up comedy show, KVN, with my friend last weekend. It was a challenge meeting a large and diverse group of Russian native speakers and trying to pass as a native. (I had been watching the show KVN since I was 7 years old and dreamed of seeing live all my life.) It was an amazing experience. I met great, interesting people, learned a lot about the Russian culture, jokes, aphorisms, history, politics. In the end, no one figured out that I was from the US and only when I told two people the truth, they were very shocked!” (February)
External validation of language progress: job performance metric • My interview at the boarding school was successful. I was able to interact with the schools principal and vice-principal, discuss my qualifications, interests, abilities, and ideas for the organization. It was my second job interview in Russian, although it wasn’t as formal as American interviews, I still think it was a good experience which helped me express myself in Russian in a professional setting… Both women offered me a position! (January)
B. From Process to Ethnography of HL Learning (cont.) • Internal Factors
Culture Shock: Heritage Experience • “For the first time, I felt like my Russian was getting worse, even worse than when I first came. I realize it is a part of culture shock, but I didn’t experience it when I studied in Ufa this summer, and neither did I think that I would, since I am a heritage speaker and my situation is different.” (9-30)
Early challenges for the heritage learner “Sometimes it is great to be a heritage speaker, because it is easier for me to speak in Russian than for the others. But other times, it is very frustrating, because people automatically expect you to know everything, like a true native Russian. Today’s [box office exchange] was the first of many more explanations that I had to give this week for my lack of knowledge, or for pauses when I can’t remember a certain word in Russian.” (September 10)
Self-reflection and early-stage challenges • “The more I am here, the more I feel at home. When I look back at the challenges, I realize how much they have actually helped me understand and adapt to the Russian culture, as well as greatly improving my language skills.” (September)
Self-assessment, self-management: early-stage HL • This week during our test in phonetics and speaking I found it difficult to use newly-learned vocabulary, and felt myself regressing back to my comfort zone. (November)