NFLRC is cooperating with the University of Hawaʻi Center for Second Language Research in supporting the development of heritage language curricula for Hawaiʻi public schools, co-sponsoring a conference on Cultural Diversity and Language Education, and hosting the annual conference of the Association for the Teaching of the Samoan Language.
In previous grant cycles, the NFLRC has carried out a number of successful projects (Foreign Language Partnership, Heritage Languages & Service Learning, Community Resources Handbook) with the goal of enabling language learners, particularly learners of less commonly taught languages, to break out of the isolation of the classroom and to access the rich resources that are offered by communities in the US that speak those languages. Those projects increasingly focused on both heritage language communities and heritage language learners and have now led to the development of more ambitious projects funded through other sources. These include a project to establish Ilokano and Samoan in Hawai‘i public schools (both as a heritage language and as a foreign language) under a Gear-UP/OBEMLA grant, as well as a Department of Education Career Ladder grant to establish career development programs for heritage students. In this one year project, the NFLRC will support these projects and disseminate the models developed to a national audience. During Year 2 of the grant cycle (2003-04), the NFLRC will provide lecturer release time for Professor Mayer to develop a curriculum guide for heritage language education, using the Samoan and Ilokano curriculum guides as models, and in summer 2004, the NFLRC will offer a summer institute on the theme of "Heritage Language Learners and National Language Needs" for language educators concerned with the particular strengths and needs of heritage language learners in programs across the US.