Heritage Language 2013


Invited talk by Prof. Masako Douglas

A Complex Profile of Heritage Language Learners, their Pedagogical Needs, and Suggested Pedagogical Approach (Note: The talk is delivered in English.)

Biography of Prof. Masako Douglas: Masako O. Douglas is Professor of Japanese at California State University, Long Beach. Her research interest is on Japanese heritage language (JHL) development and education. She has been working on constructing and applying a theoretical frame work to JHL curriculum design (K-8, and college courses), and developed curricula for community-based JHL schools, and JHL college courses. She has publications on JHL young learners' language background, JHL acquisition, JHL literacy, and JHL pedagogy. She is currently conducting research with her colleagues on young JHL learners’ language development in an immersion program and at a community-based JHL school. Douglas is one of the founders and Chair of JHL SIG of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese. She is also one of the founders of an online refereed journal JHL Journal: Working Papers of Japanese Heritage Language Education, and an editorial board member of Heritage Language Journal. Douglas earned her B.A. and M.A. from Kobe City University of Foreign Studies in Japan, another M.A. from Australian National University and a Ph.D. from University of Southern California. She is a recipient of American Association of Teachers of Japanese 2012 Teacher Award.

Panel Discussion

A panel discussion by Prof. Douglas and several other participants will discuss issues related to heritage speakers of Japanese and other languages


Description of the talk and panel discussion

Heritage language speakers are children who are raised in a home where a language other than English is spoken (Valdes, 2001; Montrul, 2009). Heritage language speakers in the U.S. often speak English as their primary language due to language attrition of their native/home language and the literacy instruction in English through K-12 schooling.

LaGuardia Community College, in which 18% of students identify themselves as heritage speakers of various languages, views heritage languages as untapped linguistic and cultural assets among our students. The College offers college-level courses tailored for heritage language speakers, in which we aim to develop students' literacy skills and ability to use their language in a formal register. In these courses students develop their bilingual skills to a 'marketable' level in professional settings.

To celebrate the new addition of Japanese to these heritage language courses at LaGuardia Community College, we invite Prof. Masako Douglas, a leading scholar in Japanese as heritage language, from California State University Long Beach. Dr. Douglas will discuss the unique pedagogical needs of heritage language speakers, school curricula and community schools for heritage language speakers, and differences between the linguistic profiles of heritage language speakers and traditional language learners. A panel discussion will follow Dr. Douglas’s talk.

During the talk and the panel discussion, we will address following issues:

This talk is free for everyone, and is of particular interest to language instructors and school administrators at K-12 and higher-education institutions, which are faced with the necessity to profile, research, and meet the unique educational needs of heritage language speakers.

This talk is sponsored by the Japan Foundation, New York and LaGuardia Community College, CUNY and is supported by Northeast Council of Teachers of Japanese (NECTJ).

Directions to LaGuardia

The College campus is located on Thomson Avenue, between Van Dam Street and Skillman Avenue (address: 31-10 Thomson Avenue, LIC, 11101). Click here for the Google Map or download the directions below for the map.

Registration (free)

This talk is sponsored by the Japan Foundation, New York and LaGuardia Community College, CUNY and was supported by Northeast Council of Teachers of Japanese (NECTJ).