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Heritage Language
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Heritage Language

Heritage Language
Heritage Language and Culture (HLC) courses support, reinforce, and expand students’ knowledge and understanding of their heritage language as well as maintain, further develop, and refine proficiency in all domains of language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). The goal is to develop students’ language skills as well as cultural competency for students to be successful in both academic and professional settings.

Heritage language learners are defined as "Someone who has some proficiency in or a cultural connection to that language through family, community, or country of origin. Heritage language learners have widely diverse levels of proficiency in the language (in terms of oral proficiency and literacy) and of connections to the language and culture. They are different in many ways from students studying the language as a foreign language." (From the Center for Applied Linguistics)
HLC courses are offered at the following schools:

Develop language and cultural connections: The program seeks to develop and refine students' communication skills in the home language by providing formal instruction on academic and social language. These language skills will in turn help students connect with community members who speak that same language.
Affirm importance of linguistic diversity: Through these programs, MPS seeks to affirm the importance of the communities who speak Hmong, Somali, and Spanish. We believe that these communities help make Minneapolis a vibrant, prosperous, and culturally-rich city.

Strengthened cultural connections: For students who grow up in the United States and attend US schools, teacher-supported study of home language and culture can provide the tools for communicating with family and community members. It can also aide in the development of positive self-identity.
Cognitive, academic, and professional benefits: Heritage language and culture classes promote bilingualism, which supports students in developing important cognitive, academic, and professional skills. Research shows that bilingualism improves certain executive functions, such as staying focused on a specific task as well as switching between tasks while still retaining information. Bilingualism also opens up a wide array of educational and job opportunities once students graduate.

Sample Curriculum Guides (PDFs):