FURTHER READING

  • Heritage Language Journal—This is a peer-reviewed online journal (http://www.heritagelanguages.org/) devoted to the issues underlying the teaching and learning of heritage languages.
  • • Peyton, J., Ranard, D. & McGinnis, S. eds. (2001). Heritage languages in America: Preserving a national resource. McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics and Delta Systems.—This edited volume provides an excellent introduction and overview of heritage languages in the United States.
  • • Brinton, D.M., Kagan, O., & Bauckus, S. eds. (2008). Heritage language education: A new field emerging. New York and London: Routledge.—This volume provides up-to-date research on policy and practice in heritage language education.

STUDY QUESTIONS AND ACTIVITIES

  • 1. How are heritage language learners different from first and second language learners? What strengths do they bring to the language classroom? What advantages do heritage learners have in learning the language over traditional foreign language students?
  • 2. What arguments can you make in support of promoting heritage language education? Other than to address the federal government’s need for people with highly developed foreign language skills, what other reasons can you provide for strengthening heritage language education?
  • 3. Interview a teacher or an administrator at a community-based heritage language school. Find out the linguistic backgrounds of the students and the kinds of language skills that are taught in the classes. What is the school’s mission? What challenges does the school face in meeting the needs of its students? What types of collaborations, if any, does the school have with the K-12 public school system?
  • 4. Interview several students who are currently attending a community-based heritage language school. How many hours of classroom instruction do they receive per week at the community language school? How many hours do they spend on homework outside of class per week? What do they like most about the school and what do they like least about it? What advantages and disadvantages do they see in learning the language?
  • 5. Interview a university foreign language instructor who teaches both heritage and non-heritage learners. Are the instructional needs of heritage learners different from those of non-heritage learners? If so, in what ways? How are heritage and non-heritage learners differentiated in instruction and what kind of materials, strategies, and assessment procedures are available?
  • 6. What actions can parents, teachers, school administrators, policymakers, and community and business leaders take to promote the teaching and learning of heritage languages?
 
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