Polinsky, M., & Kegan, O. (2007). Heritage languages: In the “wild” and in the classroom. Language and Linguistics Compass, 1/5, 368-395.
Ricento, T. (2005). Problems with the “language-as-a-resource” discourse in the promotion of heritage languages in the U.S.A. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 9(3), 348-368.
The article by Polinsky and Kegan provided a comprehensive definition of heritage languages by providing examples of its many variations and further discussing how heritage speakers are classified. The article also dissected the heritage speakers’ language knowledge into its linguistic structures for research purposes of which I found a bit too technical to completely grasp. What I found the must relevant to my teaching situation was the section on heritage learners in the classroom and how to accurately assess their heritage language ability in order to develop a heritage-specific curriculum.
The heritage language speakers focused on in the article were college students so it was difficult for me to relate some of the concepts to my students because they are middle school students. Difficult in the sense that I believe devising a heritage language curriculum for middle school students and finding faculty to teach it would be next to impossible in the Philadelphia public school district where I teach because there are numerous heritage languages represented. Although I do believe that it is of great importance for students to maintain their heritage language nonetheless public school institutions at this time are not equipped to meet the students’ needs.
In Ricento’s article he discusses his perspective of how ...
... middle of paper ...
...ey have access to bi-lingual counselors for their child’s educational needs and that they have access to legal services in their native language in case they feel that they are not being heard. I make sure that the parents receive communications from the school in their native language. In our school improvement plan for next year, I have established the foundation for a family literacy program specifically targeted for our ELLs and their parents. I also view my students’ heritage language as a resource and promote to them and their parents the marketability of being fully bilingual individual in the future job force. However I feel that I can only provide my students and their parents lip services because I am not bilingual in the heritage languages that my students possess and do not have the ability to improve my students heritage language proficiency.
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