Download the full-sized PDF of Understanding Heritage Language Schools in AlbertaDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

Understanding Heritage Language Schools in Alberta Open Access


Other title
Heritage Language Education
school leaders
Ethnic Schools
Southern Alberta Heritage Languages Association (SAHLA)
Saturday Schools
Weekend Schools
International and Heritage Languages Association (IHLA)
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Aberdeen, Gertrude Catherine
Supervisor and department
Dr. Jacqueline Leighton (Educational Psychology)
Dr. Olenka Bilash (Secondary Education)
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Martin Guardado (Faculty of Extension- Academic Director of the English Language School)
Dr. Joe Wu (Elementary Education)
Dr. Yan Guo (Education- Teaching English as a Second Language)
Dr. Alla Nedashkivska (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Department of Educational Psychology
Studies in Teaching and Learning English as a Second Language
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This work provides an in-depth analysis of the views of leaders of heritage language schools in Alberta. Over 25 hours of transcribed interviews and focus-group data from community heritage language (HL) school leaders and elders in the HL learning community, along with research notes were analyzed and coded for themes.14 language groups are represented. Chapter I describes my personal experience working in a HL school in Alberta. Through this experience I share how I came to the research questions that shape this dissertation. In Chapter II I review recent literature about community HL schools in North America. The theoretical lens used to interpret the data is explored in Chapter III. I have used both Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory and Hornberger’s Language Policy and Planning as guides so that I might understand the ecology of heritage language schools, teaching, learning and use in the province of Alberta. How the HL field in Alberta from other places is not yet documented fully. To understand and appreciate the context of HL education in the province, I have provided vignettes of the participants in my study. In Chapter IV I describe the school leaders. I classified the 11 participating school leaders into one of two groups, emerging and emerged communities, based on the length of residency of the majority of the community members and the length of the history of the school. In Chapter V I provide similar vignettes from elders in the field of HL education in Alberta. Each of the Chapters VI, VII, and VIII correspond to one of the research questions and one of the systems in Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory. In Chapter VI, the Microsystem, I discuss the HL leaders and HL elders thoughts of the students and teachers found in HL schools in the province. In Chapter VII, the Mesosystem, I show how leaders and elders give to their communities and to Albertan society in general through their schools. In Chapter VIII, the Exosystem, I list the multiple agencies and governmental departments that work with HL schools in the province and identify ways in which the agencies and governmental departments support or deny these schools. In Chapter IX I provide the reader with a list of recommendations which if followed would strengthen HL education, continue to support HL communities, and would further advance the Canadian concept of multiculturalism.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication
Aberdeen, T. (2015). Keeping refugee families connected through heritage language schools. WRRECA 2015 Reanimating adult education: Conflict, violence, and learning, 2-7 Edmonton, AB: University of Alberta.Bilash, O., Aberdeen, T., Vo, T., & Wiltse, L. (2016, March). Minority language use in majority contexts. Panel presentation to be presented at The Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), Vancouver, Canada.Aberdeen, T. (2015, November). Keeping refugee families connected through heritage language schools. Paper presented at The 11th Annual Low-educated and Second Language and Literacy Acquisition (LESLLA) Annual Symposium, St. Augustine, Florida.Aberdeen, T. (2015, October). Keeping refugee families connected through heritage language schools. Paper presented at WRRECA 2015 Reanimating adult education: Conflict, violence, and learning, Edmonton, AB.

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (PDF/A)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 6084523
Last modified: 2016:06:16 17:16:06-06:00
Filename: Aberdeen, Gertrude Catherine 2016 03 PhD.pdf
Original checksum: 8ae2635245949ca36bd3bf841e43cd80
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date