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2012 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III - Session IV

Spanish Heritage Learners: What Teachers Have to Say About Educating Them?

The population of Spanish heritage learners in public schools continues to increase presenting numerous challenges for language educators. These challenges include pedagogical implications, lack of knowledge of diverse students, lack of preparation to meet their needs, and materials and strategies to successfully educate Spanish heritage learners. According to Valdes, Fishman, Chavez, & Perez (2008), “instructors trained to teach Spanish as a foreign language also provide instruction to a category of students whom they have not been trained to teach and about whom they know little” (p.5). This research paper explores challenges teachers of Spanish heritage learners face, pre-service training, suggestions for pre-service training and strategies and materials currently employed. The information collected for this research paper is based on the experiences of language educators in two schools. They are volunteers of a focus group discussion. They share their experiences and opinions on the following guiding questions: What language courses do you teach that include Spanish heritage learners? What pre-service training do you have for meeting their needs? What pre-service training do you wish you had received? What strategies and materials do you use with your Spanish heritage learners? The results of this research paper have two implications. First, teacher certification programs can use these findings to enhance their course design in meeting the pre-service needs of the language and bilingual educators. Second, teachers would benefit from the educators’ combined knowledge regarding the Spanish heritage learner, strategies that they have developed and the use and modification of instructional materials.

Presenters: Hercilia Cassell (SUNY Brockport) --
Elizabeth Squairs (SUNY Brockport) --
Topic: Education - Panel
Location: 101 Edwards
Time: 10:50 am (Session II)