Heritage Language Programs in the United States: A Brief Survey

A community-based heritage language program or school teaches the language that the students speak at home or in their community. These schools operate outside the public and private school system (although they may be held in a school) and are often run by members of the community that speaks the language.

Dear colleagues,

During the Community-Based Heritage Language Schools Conference at American University in Washington, D.C., September 18-19, 2015, participants agreed that community-based heritage language (HL) schools need to be recognized more widely and represented in official statistics on language teaching in the United States. Statistics about language programs exist by state and on a national basis, but they usually do not include the teaching of heritage languages in programs outside the public/private school system. Where they are available, statistics about heritage language speakers and programs are collected only for certain languages, and even those are often difficult to find and use.

This is the first survey that attempts to reach and document all heritage languages taught in community-based schools in the United States. The result of this and subsequent surveys will provide important data about HL programs and will benefit the field of HL education. In addition, it will give us the opportunity to showcase these programs for mainstream educators and the wider public interested in teaching world languages and cultures. The findings of this survey will complement current educational statistics and enhance our knowledge about HL schools. The emerging field of HL education will benefit markedly from this first attempt at systematic data collection about these programs.

The survey will take you only a few minutes to complete. In the spring or summer, 2016, we will send you the survey results, and we will welcome your input regarding the results and our next steps.

In the near future we will also send you information about the newly formed National Coalition of Community-Based Language Schools, our web site at the National Heritage Language Resource Center (NHLRC) at UCLA, which is well underway (http://nhlrc.ucla.edu/nhlrc/resources/article/143931), and ways that you can get involved with the coalition. If you have any questions, please write to us at the email below.

Thank you very much for participating with us in this effort! We look forward to learning about your program(s) and to collaborating with you in the future.

Data Collection Team
National Coalition of Community-Based Language Schools
Heritage Language (heritagelanguage@peytons.us)

* 1. Name and address of your school/program (street and city)

* 3. Name and title of a contact person

* 4. E-mail of contact person

* 5. Language/s taught in your program

* 6. Where do you hold your classes?

* 7. Do you own the facility?

* 8. Do you rent the facility?

* 9. How many years has your program been in operation?

* 10. How many classes does your program offer?

* 11. On what day(s) do your classes meet?

* 12. What is the average instructional time? (How many hours per week per class?)

* 13. How many teachers work in your program?

* 14. How many teachers have academic training (degree) in language education, teacher education, or any other closely related field?

  academic training (degree) in language education (do not include non-US government credential) teacher education, or any other closely related field? (includes professional development training) Neither
More than 90%
More than 70%
More than half
Less than half
Less than 25%

* 15. How many students are enrolled in the program this school year?

* 16. Rank the student age groups by size:
(1=age category with the most students, 5=age category with the least students)

* 17. By approximate percentage, how many of the students in the program are heritage speakers of the language taught? (They and their family members speak the language at home.)

* 18. Do you train your students to take official tests?

  Prepare students for the test(s) Administer the test(s)
One of the AAT’s (if available)
OPI, etc.
Standard tests of your country
Tests of your government created for students abroad
We do not prepare students for any official tests

* 19. Do you charge tuition?

* 20. If Yes, how much per year?

* 21. Do you receive funding other than from tuition fees?

* 22. If Yes, please check all that funding sources that apply

* 23. Does your program also offer activities, classes, or lectures for parents of the students in the program?

* 24. If Yes, what programs do you offer? Mark all that applies

* 25. If you answer Yes for question 23, how often does this take place?

* 26. Please indicate if you are willing to be included in further data collection efforts about HL schools.

* 27. If you would like to receive the results of the survey, please put your name and email address here.

* 28.  Please suggest additional questions that should be asked.