Toward a framework for heritage learner service learning in languages for specific purposes
Building on previous research and the author's own experience, this article concerns service learning design for heritage learners in languages for specific purposes. Heritage learner prior knowledge of and identification with the culture and language of study distinguishes them from L2 learners. As a result, the distinct learning needs of heritage learners pose a challenge to language educators attempting to integrate service learning, whether in languages for specific purposes or otherwise. Yet despite the need to rethink service learning in languages for specific purposes to meet the needs of this growing student population, few studies on the subject exist. Through a survey of the relevant extant literature, the author identifies the known benefits of service learning for heritage learners and considers the implications of heritage learner needs in the design of languages for specific purposes service learning projects. Best practices identified in the literature and through the author's own experience are then used to develop a service learning framework specific to heritage learners in languages for specific purposes. Specifically, best practices observed in the literature include project and learning objectives that build on, strengthen, and expand five key areas: heritage learner previous knowledge of and identification with the culture and language; critical awareness of social and cultural issues relevant to heritage learner identity; cultural competence; heritage learner professional career goals; and heritage learner knowledge of specialized written and spoken language skills in formal and informal registers. The author concludes that an asset-based approach, evident in existing heritage learner service learning projects, is key to maximizing service learning benefits for heritage learners. Rethinking service learning in this way is significant in developing cultural and communicative competence among heritage learners in languages for specific purposes.
Ruggiero, D. (2019). Toward a framework for heritage learner service learning in languages for specific purposes. Revista Signos, 52 (101), 931-949. https://doi.org/10.4067/S0718-09342019000300931