Culture Transmission in Heritage Language Teaching: A Case Study of Chinese Heritage Language Schools

Conference: The European Conference on Language Learning (ECLL2020)
Title: Culture Transmission in Heritage Language Teaching: A Case Study of Chinese Heritage Language Schools
Stream: Culture and Language
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Authors:
Xiangyun Li, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Rik Vosters, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Jianwei Xu, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

Abstract:

It has been widely accepted that culture is an integral part of language teaching. Heritage language schools, as one of the important strongholds of heritage language and culture maintenance in diaspora communities, have naturally undertaken the mission of developing not only heritage language learners’ language skills but also their cultural awareness. With the focus upon the transmission of Chinese culture in Chinese heritage language (CHL) teaching, this presentation will examine the interpretation of Chinese heritage culture, the attitudes towards as well as the strategies of transmission from the perspectives of both educational practitioners and students in two CHL schools in Brussels. We employ an ethnographic approach to study the schools run by, respectively, Taiwanese immigrants teaching traditional Chinese characters, and immigrants from mainland China teaching simplified characters. Specifically, we will draw on the data from the interviews with principals, teachers and students to report on their perceptions of Chinese culture and its transmission. Our observations of classroom interactions will help us gain an insight into the ways in which Chinese culture is taught, learned, interpreted and negotiated. As such, our findings will provide a deeper understanding of the efforts made by different stakeholders to maintain the heritage language and culture, and illuminate the characteristics of heritage culture teaching and learning in the diasporic context more generally.