[TFLA-list] Do you think that the research for heritage languages in Texas has received the importance that it deserves?

kenny montgomery kennymontgomery at me.com
Mon Jan 5 09:14:34 EST 2015


Dear Colleagues,
 Imagine your children living, working, and excelling in two languages. Wouldn't it comfort you to know the best ways to teach Spanish in an English-language world? Wouldn't you want to know the best way to ensure your children’s success in a bilingual way of life?
 
Hi, my name is Mrs.  Kenny Montgomery and I have been a French and Spanish teacher for the last fifteen years. Also, I am completing my PhD in Spanish Sociolinguistics at the University of Houston.
 
I am a native Spanish speaker from Venezuela, and I love Spanish language and culture; I am conducting a survey study to find out what methods bilingual parents use at home, to teach the love of Spanish and to teach language fluency skills. I want to discover what motivates parents to share their rich cultural and language heritage with their children. Do parents teach Spanish to help their children to compete for better careers in the growing bilingual job market? 
 
The name of this study is:
 
"The Linguistic Vitality of Spanish as a Heritage Language: Motivations and Strategies of Bilingual Families in Texas"
 
The University of Houston (UofH) and the Office of Human Subjects have certified me to conduct this study. They reviewed and approved this research plan, and the personal responses of all participants will remain confidential.
 
If you match the following criteria for this volunteer study, I would like to interview you.
Here are the characteristics needed to match the survey group:
 
• One parent is Hispanic (of any nationality). The other parent does not need to be Hispanic, or speak Spanish
• One parent must be fluent in both English and Spanish
• One of the children who is learning Spanish is between the ages of 4 and 21
• One of the children who is learning Spanish does not study in a Spanish Immersion school
• The family must reside in one of the following Texas cities:
  - Austin
  - Corpus Christi
  - Dallas
  - Houston
  - San Antonio
 
If you, or someone you know, matches this set of characteristics, please keep reading.
 
WHY?
 
We know that children that learn two or more languages develop additional brain connections and superior creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Two-language fluency even improves children's arithmetic ability.
Source:
http://consumer.healthday.com/cognitive-and-neurological-health-information-26/brain-health-news-80/two-languages-better-than-one-for-kids-brains-study-667433.html?related=true&utm_expid=38353063-2.r5ETjFV6SrG5_xobVbsyDw.1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F
 
Other researchers show that two-language learners:
 
• Concentrate better
• Learn other languages with ease
• Adapt to new situations better
• Find more job opportunities
• Better connect to their Latino heritage
Source:
http://spanglishbaby.com/2013/10/5-fantastic-reasons-raise-bilingual-kids/
 
Learning two languages also builds children's ability to think like executives, and studies show that learning a language even keeps elderly people's minds sharp.
Source:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3647884/
 
Additionally, parents know more about teaching their own children than University Foreign Language professors.
Source:
http://carla.acad.umn.edu/resources/working-papers/samples/potowskipaper.pdf
 
Even colleges and universities are waking up to the fact that parents know a lot about teaching Spanish to their bilingual children.
Source:
http://www.depts.ttu.edu/classic_modern/spanishheritage/
 
Bilingual parents teach Spanish to their children because of pride in their culture and heritage, to keep traditions alive, to show this pride when their children can talk to out-of-country relatives and visitors. Children talking in Spanish to guests, makes any Spanish-speaking parent smile with pride! More people in the United States speak Spanish today than ever before who share our language and our culture.
 
We need parents like you to participate in this study because parents have practical, rather than theoretical knowledge, knowing by doing, and doing what works best: the things that researchers need to discover. Share what you know about teaching Spanish to your children. You are the expert about your children.
 
If you meet the characteristics that match the population of our study, we would like for you to volunteer. I will return the call, explain the benefits of this research study, and make sure volunteers remain comfortable in our interview. As I mentioned before, all participation in this study remains confidential.
 
You may also refer someone you know that could qualify for this study by sharing my phone number and e-mail address.
 
Contact: Mrs. Kenny Montgomery
Call: 956-212-6471
Or, E-mail: kmontgomery4 at uh.edu or kennymontgomery at me.com
 
Thank you in advance for your participation!
 
Kenny Montgomery, Researcher


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