Teaching Heritage Languages On-line Workshop
National Heritage Language Resource Center
A telecollaboration between two groups of learners or two individual partners.
A telecollaboration project where each participant can use both the expert language as well as the FL being learned. (Thorne, 2006)
A bilingual, student-to-student model of exchange between two partners, who are native speakers of their partner’s target language. (O’Dowd, 2016)
Heritage Language Learner
A language student who is raised in a home where a non-English language is spoken, who speaks or at least understands the language, and who is to some degree bilingual in that language and in English. (Valdés, 2000)
An activity or set of activities that take place during the first stage of a telecollaboration project, and that aims for participants to get to know each other and to familiarize themselves with the project, learning environment, and tools to be used in the project. (Guth & Helm, 2010)
A complex set of abilities needed to perform effectively and appropriately when interacting with others who are linguistically and culturally different from oneself. (Fantini, 2006)
An ability and willingness [on the part of a language learner] to learn both independently and in cooperation with others as a responsible learner. (Toyoda, 2001)
A single exchange involving more than two groups. (Guth & Helm, 2010)
Multimodal learning environment
When a combination of synchronous and asynchronous tools are used for communication and collaboration. ( Dooly, 2011)
Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication (SCMC)
Computer-mediated communication that occurs in real time.
A goal-oriented activity in which learners use language to achieve a real outcome. (Willis, 1996)
The application of online communication tools to bring together classes of language learners in geographically distant locations to develop their foreign language skills and intercultural competence through collaborative tasks and project work. (O’Dowd, 2011)
YouTube Live & Google Hangouts Apps
Zoom is a free cloud-based video conferencing system.
In addition to videoconferencing, students can screen-share from desktop and mobile devices, exchange images, video clips, and documents using the central whiteboard, schedule sessions ahead of time, create group chats, and facilitate live interactions with voice recognition and a “raise-hand” feature. Students are invited by email, or they may enroll using a registration link.
NowComment is a free online tool for collaboratively discussing and annotating online documents and media.
Students can leave comments on selected content, add information, hyperlinks and multimedia, create collections of discussions and annotations, and start word or sentence-level conversations.
NowComment can be integrated with popular learning management systems.
YouTube Live is a free platform where students can collaboratively record and broadcast videos.
The platform allows multiple participants to schedule a session ahead of time, and to interact with an audience through a chat feature. The video is automatically saved on YouTube and can be archived as public or private and shared by URL. YouTube Live also allows students to screencast and to create highlight clips of the recording.
MadMagz is a web application that allows students to collaboratively create a digital magazine.
Images can be uploaded or inserted by URL. Text can be arranged according to different templates. Collaborators work on pages from a template and send them to the student designated as “editor”, for final editing and creation of the issue.
The free template and web magazine enable students to create and collaborate on multiple magazines and issues.
WeVideo is an online collaborative video editor. Students can upload and share photos and videos, or use the built-in recorder to record videos and screen-casts.
The video editor supports the addition of text over scenes, and images from the Creative Commons, and it provides predefined themes and backgrounds. Collaborators enroll by email or through a registration code, but editing is limited to one person at a time.
The trial version grants access to the software for 90 days, and allows students to create a video up to 5 minutes of length.
Aránzazu Borrachero, Valeria Belmonti, and Katherine Entigar
Students will work independently and with their peers from both institutions (C1 and C2) to:
The purpose of this activity is for students to learn about the broader economic, political, and social contexts surrounding the migration of their families to the United States through a documentary film and through individual research.
Show the first 15–20 minutes of Harvest of Empire in class and discuss it with students. What are some initial impressions, reactions, and questions that emerge for them in watching this first block of the documentary? What are some ideas that surprise them? What did they already know? Assign the rest of the movie for students to watch on their own in preparation for next steps in this module.
In class, divide students into small groups to discuss Harvest of Empire. Have each group choose 1–2 countries they are interested in and assign 1–3 additional countries to each group for discussion. (The goal is for all eight countries to be covered by the different student groups in the class.) See below a list of suggested questions for discussion of the countries included in the film. In addition to focusing on individual country histories, have students discuss the questions included in the Conclusions block below. When students have finished their small group discussions, debrief as a class, building upon student ideas and offering additional insights as needed.
(See additional teaching resources here.)
Depending on the students’ research skills and experience, instructors may have to review and practice how to search for appropriate sources both online and offline, how to cite sources within a text and in the References/Works Cited section, how to avoid plagiarism in its different forms, how to summarize information in support of an argument, and other relevant topics.
Inform students that they will conduct independent research about the political, social, and economic circumstances that existed in their families’ countries of origin leading up to and during the years in which their families migrated to the United States. Remind students to look for explanations, not simply descriptions or data. Suggested questions to guide students’ investigations include the following:
Set the political stage for your family’s country of origin at the time of their migration. Who were the country’s leaders? What political groups were in power? Were there other political actors, either inside or outside of the country, at the time?
Important: Remind students to take notes while they do their research, which they will then share with the rest of the class and with their peers at C2 by uploading them to the class website as a blog. In addition, have students create a Reference list for the sources they have consulted, which they will also include in their uploaded notes.
Inform students that they will be meeting with the students at C2 to discuss their research and collaborate on new understandings about family migration and the historical, economic, and political contexts in which it takes place. In preparation for the videoconference, ask students to read their C2 peers’ research notes (see “Pre-Videoconference Activities: background research”), write three questions they want to ask them, and publish them as a question bank in the project home site. Sample questions include the following:
Have students discuss the questions they have generated in small groups with the students at C2 via videochat. When students have completed their chat with their peers at C2, have them upload their notes on the conversation to the class website in blog format.
How might this new knowledge contribute to knowledge sharing and solidarity building?
The purpose of this activity is for students to learn about their families’ migration stories through interview-based research, and to compare these histories with those uncovered by their peers at C2.
Have students write short blog comments on the class website in which they discuss what they know about their families’ personal migration histories. Ask them to reflect on the following. How did your family get here, when, and why? Invite them to include anecdotes that they are comfortable with sharing. When students are finished, have them each comment substantively on another student’s blog, asking clarifying questions or drawing comparisons and contrasts with their own posts.
Prepare students to conduct research about family migration histories and experiences. They will accomplish this in the form of interviews conducted with a relative from their parents’ generation or from the previous one. In addition to the interview, students may include pictures of photographs, artifacts or other realia shared by their relatives, or create drawings of their own. It is important to inform students that interviews can bring up sensitive topics, memories and emotions, and that they must get permission from their interviewees to include any of the information collected, while also agreeing to omit anything that interviewees prefer to keep private. Interview questions can include some of the following:
Have students post to the project home site their completed interviews along with an image; for example, a photograph they took of a family artifact, an image they drew to document the experience, or something else. Ask them to include a short (3–5 sentence) description of this image, including an account of why they chose it to represent their family’s immigration story.
Ask students to read at least two interviews (one from a C1 peer and one from a C2 peer) and comment on them on the home site.
Ask students to form small groups (3–4 students). Inform them that they will work together to discuss with their C2 peers the artifacts they posted to the project home site and their interviews with their relatives. Instruct students to take notes on the ideas and themes that emerge during the telecollaboration, paying attention to similarities and differences between stories, perspectives, and experiences. Some ideas and questions to discuss with their C2 partners may include:
Have a class conversation addressing students’ observations about the experience of exchanging images and family migration histories with the students at C2. Some guiding questions may include:
Prepare your students to reflect on this experience in a written response. Invite them to draw upon their research and the activities they have completed in this module to write a 2–3 page essay summarizing what they have learned. They should write in narrative form, rather than responding to questions point by point, about the topics listed below. Prior to assigning the written reflection, discuss the rubric with the class. See a sample reflection at the end of the document. Remind them also to include the bibliography that they have used. These reflections will be posted on the project home site and shared with their peers at C2 for comments/feedback.
Have students post the reflection on the class website. Ask them to comment substantively on and/or ask questions about two other reflections either by their classmates at C1 and/or the students at C2. For example, they can state that they like/identify with the reflection, but they should also think critically about what was said, why the creator did what s/he did, etc., and comment on this. Have students respond to one comment that they received about their own reflection.
Please note: As an individual’s or family’s immigration story is both personal and powerful, instructors should be sensitive to issues of safety and privacy. Students’ decision to share – or decision not to – should be paramount and thus be respected without question. A related issue to be considered is the sharing of personal/family information on the project home site; given the current political environment, students may justifiably feel anxiety about issues of exposure related to their or their family members’ status. In such instances, we suggest that instructors consider employing alternative ways for students to share family stories that do not reveal any identifying information, e.g., writing a collective post for the class, anonymizing posting, etc.
Familia y emigración
Todos los estudiantes de C1 y C2 vienen de familias de inmigrantes, pero hasta ahora no nos habíamos interesado por saber un poco más de estas historias de inmigración: cómo es que estamos aquí o por qué nuestras familias- papás, abuelos o bisabuelos- emigraron. En este módulo de Familia y Emigración todos hemos tomado conciencia de dónde provenimos y de que, gracias a nuestra familia de inmigrantes, estamos donde estamos, con una mejor vida y con un buen porvenir, sin necesidad de pasar sufrimiento, de aguantar hambre por la pobreza o sin tener dónde vivir por culpa de decisiones políticas y económicas de los poderes que nos gobiernan.
Mi familia viene de Guatemala. Al investigar sobre Guatemala he sentido que descubría un nuevo país. Hay tantas cosas que desconocía. He sabido que, antes de que los españoles llegaran, Guatemala fue la cuna de una civilización muy desarrollada, con 2,000 años de antigüedad: los mayas. No me voy a extender sobre la historia maya porque quiero hablar sobre las razones que llevaron a mi familia a emigrar, pero me ha gustado mucho saber que en mis orígenes hay una cultura indígena muy avanzada que se mezcló con la cultura española durante la colonización.
Voy a saltar hasta los siglos XIX y XX para hablar de la presencia de los intereses comerciales de los Estados Unidos en Guatemala, que se reflejan muy bien en la historia de la United Fruit Company en mi país. La United no estuvo presente solo en Guatemala, sino que se enriqueció con los productos de la tierra de varios países de Centroamérica y Sudamérica. He encontrado un poema de Pablo Neruda titulado “La United Fruit Co.” que dice:
la Compañía Frutera Inc.
se reservó lo más jugoso,
la costa central de mi tierra,
la dulce cintura de América. (Canto general, 1950)
Y así fue. Con la complicidad de las oligarquías guatemaltecas y gobiernos como el de Justo Rufino Barrios (1873–1885), Manuel Estrada Cabrera (1898–1920) y Jorge Ubico (1931–1944) la United se convirtió en la fuerza económica más importante del país. Esta situación cambió con la llegada de Juan José Arévalo (1945–1951) y, sobre todo, Jacobo Arbenz (1951–1954). Arbenz intentó llevar a cabo una reforma agraria que iba en contra de los intereses norteamericanos. Por ejemplo, la United Fruit tendría que devolver tierras al Estado. Esto hizo que los Estados Unidos, a través de la CIA, apoyara un levantamiento militar contra Arbenz, a quien acusaron de comunista y loco.
A partir de entonces se desató una guerra civil en Guatemala que duró más de treinta años. La guerrilla campesina, el ejército y los grupos paramilitares de ultraderecha se enfrentaron y dejaron decenas de miles de víctimas. En 1982, otro golpe de estado militar puso en el poder al general Efraín Ríos Montt, responsable de un genocidio contra los indígenas. La violencia extrema continuó con otros presidentes hasta que se firmaron los acuerdos de paz en 1996.
En total, la guerra civil dejó más de cien mil muertos y cuarenta mil desaparecidos y obligó a más de cien mil personas a dejar el país. Mi familia sufrió en carne y hueso la violencia política de Ríos Montt. A mi papá lo obligaron a pelear con el ejército y después lo dejaron libre, pero un tío de mi papá, que se opuso a colaborar con el ejército, fue asesinado. Lo dejaron tirado en el monte, muerto. Enterarme de lo que mi familia pasó antes de llegar a Estados Unidos fue sorprendente.
Al leer las investigaciones e historias personales de los estudiantes de C1 y C2, he averiguado que muchos venimos de familias que buscaban un refugio para poder seguir viviendo, para salir adelante; que la mayoría de nuestros padres han venido a los Estados Unidos sin saber inglés y sin papeles, y superando grandes obstáculos; que nuestros países tienen problemas en común, como la desigualdad y la pobreza, que obligan a que las personas emigren. Aprendí que las políticas de Estados Unidos también son responsables de estos movimientos de migración. Estados Unidos es un país que, así como da, también quita y comete injusticias.
Aguilera, Gabriel. Realizar un imaginario: la paz en Guatemala, Guatemala, UNESCO/FLACSO, 2003.
Higonnet, Etelle (ed.). Quiet Genocide: Guatemala 1981–1983. Routledge, 2017.
Neruda, Pablo. “La United Fruit Co.”. Canto General. Spanish Poems. 2 mayo 2016 spanishpoems.blogspot.com/2005/04/pablo-neruda-la-united-fruit-co.html.
Sabino, Carlos. Guatemala, La Historia Silenciada: (1944–1989). Fondo de Cultura Económica de Guatemala, 2008.
Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. Dir. Eduardo Lopez y Peter Getzels. Independent Pictures, 2012.