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Service-Learning in the Latino Community: The Impact on Spanish Heritage Language Students and the Community

In: Heritage Language Journal
Authors:
Casilde A. Isabelli University of Nevada, Reno

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Stacey D. Muse University of Nevada, Reno

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This article presents findings on the effects of completing service-learning on Spanish heritage language students in an intermediate-high service-learning course, Practicum in Spanish in the Community. The results from this study indicate that the involvement of heritage speakers in their own heritage community can have a transformative impact on personal and social identity and therefore support strong in-group identification and reduce any negative impact of minority-language education. The authors also argue the importance of working with the local Latino community as a career pathway that allows students to come to recognize the role of languages and cultures in that community. Both of these conclusions point to the integral part of service-learning in a more globalized Spanish undergraduate curriculum. The results also indicate that the heritage language students perceived an improvement in speaking and listening, along with an awareness of their Spanish language deficiencies.

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