Although there are no articles dealing with community service learning in the latest issue of Foreign Language Annals, three articles did strike me as important for what we do.
- Carreira, Maria and Olga Kagan. "The Results of the National Heritage Language Survey: Implications for Teaching, Curriculum Design, and Professional Development." In addition to the very important facts and general profile that emerges within the article, the abstract states: "We argue that a community-based curriculum represents an effective way to harness the wealth of knowledge and experiences that [heritage language learners] bring to the classroom and to responde to their goals for their [heritage language]," 40. While a community-based curriculum could be interpreted in many different ways, community service learning (CSL) is obviously an important part of that curricular response. In the "Implications for Teaching" section, the authors make the following suggestions for administrators and instructors interested in improving heritage language programs:
- "Know the community," (59). You can gather information about the community in many ways, but a good CSL program will give you deeper, richer insights into the community from community members themselves. Furthermore, your students will have that same knowledge based on their own interactions in the community and the information you provide to them in class.
- "Know the learner," (60). A group of my "Spanish & Entrepreneurship" students spoke last week at the Scholarship of Engagement Seminar. Two of the students were heritage speakers and the other two weren't. Listening to the heritage speakers talk about their learning experiences with CSL was enlightening. A lot of their learning had to do with issues of identity, reclaiming their language and culture in an academic setting, and helping younger students go through the same experiences they had as kids. There is a lot of research waiting to happen on the connections between CSL and heritage learners.
- "Connect the learner and the community," (60). The authors mention community-based oral history projects that are available through the NHLRC. That can also be embedded within a CSL course, and I have a lesson on oral histories in Comunidades.