Heritage language learners and Spanish for specific purposes: Bridging the gap through community service learning

Gregory L. Thompson, Alan V. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The growth in the number of Spanish heritage language learners in languages for specific purposes classes has been accompanied by an increase in the number and types of community service learning programs in which these students can participate to better prepare them for future employment opportunities. In spite of the increase in the number of Spanish heritage language learners in the languages for specific purposes classroom, few studies have looked at these students in this setting and even fewer have looked at the role that community service learning can play in developing these learners' domain-specific abilities. Through an analysis of research in the areas of heritage language learners, Spanish for specific purposes, and community service learning, this article discusses strategies to effectively teach Spanish heritage language learners in language for specific purposes classes and to develop their language and cultural knowledge through community service learning. In addition, we address many of the challenges that arise when connecting Spanish heritage language learners with community partners as well as the obstacles to the integration of community service learning into the Spanish for specific purposes curriculum. The article concludes providing suggestions on how community service can be used to help Spanish heritage language learners not only see the benefits of language for specific purposes courses but also transfer their skills to other fields of study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)908-930
Number of pages23
JournalRevista Signos
Volume52
Issue number101
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Knowledge Hub Publishing Company Limited (Hong Kong).

Keywords

  • Career preparation
  • Curriculum design
  • Experiential learning
  • Language for specific purposes
  • Spanish heritage learners

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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