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Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 4:00pm to 5:00pmVirtual Event
"The Effects of Instruction on Heritage Language Learners"
Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and Multilingualism, University of California, Irvine
Heritage language learners are individuals who enroll in classes to (re)learn their family language in an instructed setting. Their family or heritage language is a minoritized language in the society at large. As such, they are (multi-)bilingual speakers of the heritage language(s) along with the majority language(s) of the society. The collaborative efforts from scholars and practitioners from different disciplines (e.g., sociolinguistics, applied linguistics) have been essential to better understand and serve the needs of these learners. This has led to the field of heritage language education. Within this broad field, however, I will focus on research that has investigated the effects of instruction on heritage language learners’ language development and performance. The first part of the talk will consist in broadly framing the key issues at stake with regard to heritage language learning outcomes, which includes the results of a recent exploratory meta-analysis. During the second part of the talk, I will share quantitative and qualitative data from three empirical studies under a task-based language learning framework that shed light into how heritage language learners respond to instruction. I will conclude the talk with a few take-away messages based on task-based research with heritage language learners that have implications for optimizing pedagogical decisions.
Bio: Dr. Torres is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and Multilingualism in the Departments of Spanish and Portuguese and Language Science (courtesy) at the University of California, Irvine. He also is the Director of the Spanish Language Program and Minor in Spanish/English Bilingual Education. In addition, he serves on the advisory board for the National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA. His research interests include heritage and second language acquisition, multilingualism, cognition and task-based language learning. His research has appeared in Studies in Second Language Acquisition, The Modern Language Journal, The Canadian Modern Language Review, and Foreign Language Annals among others. He is a co-editor of the upcoming edited volume, El español como lengua de herencia with Routledge Press.
Co-sponsored by the Language Resource Center and Latin American Studies Program.