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.