About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 4785 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain

WHAT IF I DON’T SPEAK IT?: TEACHER CANDIDATES’ VIEWS AND POSSIBLE APPROACHES TOWARD HERITAGE LANGUAGE MAINTENANCE

T. Szecsi

Florida Gulf Coast University (UNITED STATES)
Perspectives toward heritage language (HL) maintenance range significantly. Is it an asset or a burden to be bilingual? Some perceive bilingualism as a fundamental human right, an asset to the individual, and a resource for society. Others have strongly-held beliefs that HL maintenance is a problem, a burden, and anti-American. Although the significance of bilingualism is understood by many people worldwide, immigrant families often struggle with the maintenance of their heritage language and culture. HL is conceptualized as a non-majority language that is spoken and used by individuals who are considered to be a linguistic minority (Valdes, 2005). Of course, parents play a pivotal role in the process of HL maintenance, but teachers’ recognition of the importance of the HL is critical to the empowerment of the child. Research supports this notion, showing that a lack of support from schools, communities, and society often jeopardizes parents’ intentions for maintaining the HL (Nesteruk, 2010). Research on teachers’ views about HL suggests that teachers who understand the benefits of bilingualism and the negative effects of HL loss tend to be more sensitive to the linguistic needs of bilingual learners. On the other hand, teachers without background in a second language strongly believe that HL maintenance is the responsibility of the parents only (Lee & Oxelson, 2006). Although research exists about teachers’ views about HL maintenance, there is no previous research that examines teacher candidates’ views on HL development and support.

This presentation reports on the findings of an investigation that explored teacher candidates’ (TCs) views about heritage language maintenance, and variables that may predict their perceptions. The participants were 270 TCs in south Florida who completed an on-line survey with Likert-type statements and open-ended questions. Quantitative data was analyzed using factor analysis followed by linear multiple regression analyses. The constructs of TCs’ attitudes toward HL maintenance were used as dependent variables for the latter. The level of preparation in multicultural and bilingual education was a statistically significant predictor of TCs’ views in regards to active teacher practices to maintain HL, benefits of HL at school, and the role of the schools. TCs’ ability to speak more than one language was found to predict their views about the benefits of HL at school. In addition, experiences with diverse cultures and languages outside of the USA influenced TCs’ attitudes toward bilingualism. The qualitative analysis of TCs’ responses to the open-ended questions showed increased awareness of HL maintenance for TCs at the end of the teacher educations program compared with those at the beginning. However, descriptions of teaching strategies in HL maintenance indicated TCs’ limited understanding of appropriate ways for supporting the HL. This gap between awareness and expected teacher behavior suggests the need for further preparation in the area of HL support.
@InProceedings{SZECSI2015WHA,
author = {Szecsi, T.},
title = {WHAT IF I DON’T SPEAK IT?: TEACHER CANDIDATES’ VIEWS AND POSSIBLE APPROACHES TOWARD HERITAGE LANGUAGE MAINTENANCE},
series = {8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-2657-6},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {4785}}
TY - CONF
AU - T. Szecsi
TI - WHAT IF I DON’T SPEAK IT?: TEACHER CANDIDATES’ VIEWS AND POSSIBLE APPROACHES TOWARD HERITAGE LANGUAGE MAINTENANCE
SN - 978-84-608-2657-6/2340-1095
PY - 2015
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2015
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2015 Proceedings
SP - 4785
EP - 4785
ER -
T. Szecsi (2015) WHAT IF I DON’T SPEAK IT?: TEACHER CANDIDATES’ VIEWS AND POSSIBLE APPROACHES TOWARD HERITAGE LANGUAGE MAINTENANCE, ICERI2015 Proceedings, p. 4785.
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