University of Arizona
College of Humanities
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Heritage Languages

An Ethnographic Base for Assessment Tools
javierduran.jpgProject Director: Dr. Javier Duran (U Arizona) [In collaboration with the Center for Latin American Studies]

Description: Research indicates that the pedagogical needs of heritage language students are fundamentally different from those of second language learners. The primary goal of this project is to use ethnographic data in order to identify the cultural knowledge that separates heritage learners from second language learners, which then can be used to create an assessment instrument. Fieldwork in the Tucson area will involve ethnographic observations of classroom experiences, individual sociolinguistic interviews with students, and focus groups with teachers. Scheduled for completion in Summer 2010, this project will result in the development of a model for assessing heritage language users that incorporates a computer-based instrument tool and the use of ethnographic data as a basis for determining college placement. This model will then be applicable to other heritage language situations, including LCTLs. The model will be disseminated through local workshops for community college and university teachers and nation-wide through the CERCLL website.