HERITAGE VIETNAMESE IN FIRST AND SECOND YEARS TWO CASE STUDIES TRI C. TRAN UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE THE VIETNAMESE PROGRAM AT UC IRVINE BACKGROUND INFORMATION Pre-establishment: Summer courses were offered. Program official started in Fall 2000, as part of the East Asian Languages and Literatures Department (together with Chinese, Japanese and Korean), with two years of language offered and one full-time lecturer. The third year was added the following year and one more full-time lecturer was hired. Starting Fall 2004, upper-division courses were gradually added over the next seven years: Introduction to Vietnamese Literature, Introduction to Vietnamese Linguistics; Vietnamese Literature in Translation, Vietnamese Writers’ Works in English. One part-time lecturer was hired. In Fall 2010, the Vietnamese Program became part of the Humanities Language Learning Program (together with Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Russian). The third year was cut (2011). Two full-time lecturers were left. Some upper-division courses were still offered. The following year, more cuts were implemented. The lecturers each had their teaching loads cut down, one to 75% and the other to 50%. By the end of the 2011-2012 school year, one lecturer was laid off. In Fall 2012, the Humanities Language Learning Program was incorporated into the Classics Department (where Greek and Latin are taught). Russian left the program to join the newly-formed Department of European Languages & Studies. Currently, only the first and the second years of language are offered, with a total of six courses per year. CURRENT VIETNAMESE COURSES BACKGROUND INFORMATION First-year courses: 1A, 1B and 1C, offered in sequence, one per each quarter. Second-year courses: 2A, 2B and 2C, same offering format. No separate language tracks: Non-native and heritage students take the same courses. Placement tests (for first and second years) are offered by the Testing Center. Oral interviews are conducted after placement tests to ensure proper enrollment. All interested students must fill out an online language background survey. Those who claim to have no background are exempted from taking a placement test, but still have to be interviewed before being authorized to register for a course. Students taking courses are generally categorized into (i) heritage students, (ii) Chinese-Vietnamese students and (iii) non-Vietnamese students. Classes met five days a week in the past. Starting this Fall, classes will meet 3 days a week (5 units—first year) and 2 days a week (4 units—second year). VIETNAMESE CLASSES SPRING 2013 VIETNAMESE 1C & VIETNAMESE 2C Vietnamese 1C Total enrollment: 28 Non-Vietnamese: 1 (3.5%) Chinese-Vietnamese: 4 (14%) Vietnamese: 23 (82%) Vietnamese 2C Total enrollment: 18 Non-Vietnamese: 0 Chinese-Vietnamese: 1 (5.5%) Vietnamese: 17 (94.5%) WHO ARE OUR HERITAGE STUDENTS? Group I: Students who have (almost) zero knowledge of Vietnamese. Group II: Students who can speak some Vietnamese, but cannot read or write. Group III: Students who can speak, read and write Vietnamese to some extent. Group IV: Students who are fluent in Vietnamese and can read and write rather well. Group V: Students who finished high school or universities in Vietnam. TEACHING HERITAGE STUDENTS IN NON-HERITAGE CLASSES Vietnamese 1C Textbook: Designed for non-heritage students. Language: Vietnamese mixed with English. Teaching Methods: Treating the whole class as nonheritage students; flexible with advanced questions but not going too far. Class work: pairing up students in such a way that one student is more advanced than his or her partner. Classroom situations: More advanced students get bored. Non-advanced students feel intimidated and/or pressured. Test grade discrepancies are considerable. Demographic change: More and more “beginners”, thanks to the filtering process of placement tests and interviews. Some strategies: Making tests challenging for advanced students (especially in grammar), but at the same time, still doable for non-advanced students. Emphasizing group work rather than individual work. Testing oral skill in pairs. Using some English to stay connected with non-advanced students. Using a pilot textbook manuscript. Vietnamese 2C Textbook: Designed for non-heritage students. Language: Predominantly Vietnamese. Students: Ranging from students promoted from the first year (some still struggling with fluency) to the ones placed in the second year through a test (including students fluent in varying degrees and the completely fluent ones, who have finished high school or universities in Vietnam). Teaching methods: Getting closer to a heritage approach, teaching language through culture, less technical than the first year. Class work: Class discussion; class presentation (in pair); pair work Classroom situations There is no way to filter out very advanced students. If they pass the second-year placement test, they can legitimately take the second-year courses. Students sitting territorially: the “fluent side” vs. the “non-fluent side”. Students range from non-fluent, relatively fluent to extremely fluent. Test grade discrepancies are considerable. Some solutions: Making tests challenging for advanced students (especially in grammar), but at the same time, still doable for non-advanced students. In oral presentations, pairing up one fluent student with one non-fluent student so they can help each other. Pair up one fluent student with one non-fluent student in pair work. Using Vietnamese predominantly in lecturing and discussion, but with easy structures and simple vocabulary. Using a pilot textbook manuscript. THE TEXTBOOK SOLUTION Old textbooks: Long (chapters (15/20), dialogues, readings) Difficult, overwhelming (grammar) Unorganized (vocabulary) New textbooks: Adequate in length (12 chapters, shorter dialogues and readings) Simpler, fundamental grammar Organized, focused vocabulary Enhanced cultural components No separate workbook OLD TEXTBOOKS FIRST YEAR SECOND YEAR TEXTBOOKS FOR FALL 2013 CURRENT AND FUTURE PLANNING Enforcing proper enrollment through (i) Online language background survey, (ii) Placement tests and (iii) Oral interviews. Boosting enrollments with (i) advertisement in campus newspaper, (ii) posting fliers and (iii) promotional video of the whole program. Planning to replace two separate placement tests (paper and pencil) with one test for both first and second years (online). Piloting new textbooks. Continuing the hybrid teaching styles with predominant heritage students in non-heritage classes!