Who are heritage speakers, and how does one grow up to become a heritage speaker?

Who are heritage speakers, and how does one grow up to become a heritage speaker? What do different heritage speakers of Russian have in common? What pedagogical framework is most appropriate for teaching these learners, and what specific approaches can be used in the classroom?

These questions will be addressed in ACTR’s 3-part webinar series on heritage speakers and learners of Russian led by distinguished scholars and by language instructors experienced in teaching heritage students. Each of the three webinars will focus on some aspect of heritage language linguistics and pedagogy.

The webinars are free for all ACTR members. Non-members of ACTR pay $15 per webinar or $40 for all three. Click here to become a member.
All registered participants will receive the recording of the webinar. Certificate of participation will be emailed upon request. 

Register for all three webinars

Schedule
February 17, Friday, 5-6:30pm EST
Heritage Speakers of Russian: a Linguistic Portrait
by Maria Polinsky (University of Maryland)
Register now

February 28, Tuesday, 4-5:30pm EST
Heritage Language Curricular Development for Russian Heritage Speakers: Foundations and Rationale
by Olga Kagan (UCLA)
Register now

March 2, Thursday, 4-5:30pm EST
Approaches to Working with Heritage Learners: Learning Outcomes and Ways to Achieve Them 
by Irina Dubinina (Brandeis University) and Alla Smyslova (Columbia University)
Register now 

Webinar Descriptions and Information on the Presenters

February 17, Friday, 5-6:30pm EST
Heritage Speakers of Russian: a Linguistic Portrait
by Maria Polinsky (University of Maryland)

The first webinar will be led by Dr. Maria Polinsky and will serve as an introduction to Russian as a heritage language.  Dr. Polinsky will describe characteristic features of heritage Russian and outline the process of divergent linguistic development in early childhood bilinguals that makes them into heritage speakers by early adulthood.

Dr. Maria “Masha” Polinsky (University of Maryland) has pioneered the field of heritage language study and has played an active role in introducing heritage languages into modern linguistic theory. Her research has focused on how heritage speakers are different from other speakers and learners, and the consequences of these differences for scientific understanding of language learning. Dr. Polinsky has numerous publications on the subject of heritage language linguistics, and specifically on heritage speakers of Russian.
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February 28, Tuesday, 4-5:30pm EST
Heritage Language Curricular Development for Russian Heritage Speakers: Foundations and Rationale 
by Olga Kagan (UCLA)

Dr. Kagan will discuss curricular development for HL speakers of Russian addressing 1) the foundations of HL curriculum built on From-To principles (e.g., exploiting existing strengths as a point of departure); and 2) the rationale for an outcome/proficiency-based curriculum for HL learners. She will base some of her recommendations on data from the UCLA Russian HL placement test.

Dr. Olga Kagan is a professor in the UCLA Department of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures and the director of the Title VI National Heritage Language Resource Center (NHLRC). Dr. Kagan is in charge of the Russian Language Program and is the director of the Russian Flagship Center at UCLA. She has published textbooks of Russian both as a foreign language and as a heritage language.  Her textbook of Russian as a Heritage Language, Russian for Russians, received a book award from the American Association of Teachers of Russian and Eastern European Languages (AATSEEL). Her current main research interest is the teaching of heritage languages. In 2015 she received the MLA Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession.
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March 2, Thursday, 4-5:30pm EST
Approaches to Working with Heritage Learners: Learning Outcomes and Ways to Achieve Them 
by Irina Dubinina (Brandeis University) and Alla Smyslova (Columbia University)

In this webinar, participants will learn about two somewhat different approaches that are being used at Columbia and Brandeis Universities in teaching heritage Russian language classes. Presenters will share their experiences, including establishing learning outcomes, designing curriculum, and creating teaching and learning materials that specifically target lexical and grammatical lacunae of heritage learners.

Alla A. Smyslova is a Senior Lecturer of Russian, Director of the Russian Language Program at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Columbia University.  She has received her M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Indiana University, Bloomington, and Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition from Bryn Mawr College, PA.  Her research and teaching are focused on foreign and heritage language acquisition by adult learners, skill development and effects of instructional intervention. She regularly presents at National and International conferences and conventions as well as at university workshops. She co-authored with William Comer and Lynne deBenedette Introductory Text for First-Year Russian: Web-Based, Input Driven. Dr. Smyslova serves on the Board of Directors for American Council of Teachers of Russian.

Irina Dubinina is an assistant professor of Russian and the Director of the Russian language program at Brandeis University.  She has 19 years of experience teaching Russian as a second language, including 10 years of teaching specialized courses for heritage learners. Her research focuses on pragmatic competence of Russian heritage speakers. Dr. Dubinina has participated in the 2nd revision of “Live from Russia” and is currently working on a textbook for heritage learners with a co-author Olesya Kisselev, and on a collection of articles on teaching Russian with co-authors Evgeny Dengub and Jason Merrill. Dr. Dubinina also serves on the Board of Directros for American Council of Teachers of Russian.

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