Manel Lacorte, University of Maryland; Evelyn Canabal, Madeira School
Heritage learners bring a wide range of HL abilities and varieties into the classroom. Below are a few general recommendations for you, the HL instructor, so that you can better understand your students and respond to their needs.
The type of class you will teach will establish the needs of your Heritage Language Learners (HLLs). Below are some suggestions on serving the needs of HLLs according to their class environment.
Heritage Language Pedagogy is an emerging field. Many faculty members in the UC system, faced with the challenge of teaching Heritage Language learners, have begun to examine the issue of HL instruction and have developed efficient practices to meet their students' needs.
The University of California features one of the highest ratios of HL speakers and learners due mainly to the large population of Hispanics and Asians, but also to groups of students from regions like Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Various heritage language questionnaires
Here are some suggestions for optimizing teaching and learning in a multilevel heritage language class.
A positive class climate plays an important role in successful HL teaching and learning. If students feel welcome and respected by teacher and classmates alike, they will be more willing to take risks in speaking, reading, and writing in front of the class, in asking questions for clarification, and in accepting correction of HL errors.
In order for genuine communication to take place within the HL classroom, students should feel a need to communicate.
Resource suggested by ACTFL (Table of contents available on ACTFL website: Development Oral Communication Skills, by Carol J. Orwig (has sections addressing each level, including distinguished).
Most of the approaches to foreign language instruction can be adapted to the needs of heritage language learners.
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