Instruction, Affect, and the Linguistic Ego: A Comparison of Heritage and Foreign Language Learner Socialization in the Classroom

John Hedgcock, Ph.D., Professor of Applied Linguistics, Monterey Institute of International Studies


Research has recognized the unique learning profiles of heritage-language (HL) students, yet foreign language (FL) education has only begun to understand how the two populations differ. This investigation explores: (1) connections between instructor attitudes and HL students’ self-esteem, (2) evidence of developing sensitivity to HL students, and (3) prospects for enhancing FL/HL instructor expertise in serving HL students. This mixed-methods study analyzes the perceptions of 78 university-level HL students completing HL-designated courses, 109 FL students completing traditional courses, and eight instructors. Findings expose contradictory beliefs, highlighting the need to undertake curricular revision that capitalizes on HL students’ overlooked bilingual/bicultural skills.