TEACHERS’ CURRENT VIEWS AND ACCOMMODATIONS ABOUT HERITAGE LANGUAGE MAINTENANCE
The purpose of the present study is to explore which accommodations relate to positive and negative beliefs about heritage language maintenance. There is very little research on general education teachers’ views and accommodations about heritage language maintenance in today’s diverse classrooms; thus this study can be critical to the field of heritage language in a general education setting.
To delve into why teachers’ perceptions are so critical in terms of heritage language maintenance, one must understand that beliefs influence behavior (Pajares,1992). Most research underlies the notion that cognitive change translates into behavior change (Borg, 2006). What’s missing in research is the notion of how teachers’ behaviors in the classroom can impact teachers’ beliefs. This research will cover the interrelationship of beliefs and accommodations utilizing Dewey’s theory of experience. Through the notion of continuity, teachers who implement accommodations may learn from their teaching experience and thus change their beliefs.
The methodology of this study consists of surveys and classroom observations. Thirty surveys were collected to explore the language beliefs and backgrounds of general education teachers. Ninety in-class observations were conducted to determine if and how general education teachers were incorporating heritage language accommodations. A one shot case study with a convenience sample was carried out with 30 general education teachers who teach grades 1-3 and who have any number of students who speak a heritage language. The schools from which the sample is taken come from two Midwestern Metropolitan urban locations with a range of 104,215- 2,851,268 population as of July 2009 (Advameg, Inc., 2009).
Thirty teachers have voluntarily committed to 3 observations each and a survey. During the completion of the survey, the classroom observations took place, each lasting 30 minutes. Observations were assessed using an observation checklist of 26 accommodations divided into positive heritage language learning and positive heritage language teaching with a check mark column to mark present or not present. Principals and teachers were contacted on an individual and school basis. The duration of the data collection range from April 2011 to June 2011.
Since the goal is to examine relationships to teacher background characteristics and accommodations to positive and negative beliefs about heritage language maintenance, Multiple Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) was used to test whether groups differ along a combination of dimensions. Only data that met the MANOVA assumptions of independence of subjects, multivariate normality (QQ Plots), equality of group covariances (Box’s M Test), and the Discriminant Analysis assumptions of equality of group covariances (Box’s M Test) were reported. Among 15 background characteristics, teachers who specialize in early childhood tended to ascribe to negative beliefs about heritage language teaching F (9, 30) = 3.299, p<0.013, ω=0.5612, Early Childhood Education > ESL. Among 26 accommodations, teachers who recognized diverse learner needs F(4, 20)=0.591, p<0.045, ω=0.329, No > Yes, or invited native speakers in the classroom tended to ascribe to beliefs about positive heritage language beliefs F(4, 25)=0.577, p<0.019 ω=0.361, Yes > No. Teachers who used visuals for students who speak a HL tended to ascribe to negative heritage language beliefs, F(4, 25)=0.577, p<0.019 ω=0.361, Yes > No.