Understanding Heritage Language Schools in Alberta

  • Author / Creator
    Aberdeen, Gertrude Catherine
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. 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.