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On Being a Language TeacherA Personal and Practical Guide to Success$
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Norma Lopez-Burton and Denise Minor

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300186895

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300186895.001.0001

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Heritage Language Learners

Heritage Language Learners

(p.202) 10 Heritage Language Learners
On Being a Language Teacher

Denise Minor

Yale University Press

Heritage speakers are people raised in a home where one language is spoken, but who subsequently switch to another dominant language. The heritage language has surrounded such people since birth as the medium of adult conversations. But during childhood or adolescence, most of these people went through a process in which English took over as the dominant code. This chapter presents some general guidelines for teaching a class that blends heritage speakers and heritage language learners. These include assessing the needs of the heritage speaker population in classes; respecting their variety of the language; having specific goals for the heritage speakers, such as learning written accent marks in Spanish, academic lexicon in Arabic, the tones in Chinese, and how to write the “unpronounced letters in French”; varying the level of input throughout the class; allowing heritage speakers to step into a leadership position in the classroom community; and using fun activities.

Keywords:   language teachers, teaching, pedagogical approach, heritage speakers, language instruction

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