Ninth Heritage Language Research Institute

From bilingual children to adult heritage speakers

professional development \ institutes \ 2016 institute

Workshop: Project-based learning and the teaching of heritage languages

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mary Gates Hall, Room 241, University of Washington. Printed schedule

The purpose of this day-long workshop is for participants to become familiar with a range of project-based experiences designed for the teaching of heritage languages at different educational levels.

Project-based learning aims to engage students in tasks that require them to explore, investigate, create and, sometimes, respond to complex questions, solve problems, or meet challenges. Such projects involve important cognitive, linguistic, critical thinking, and social skills. For these reasons, this teaching-learning method suits the needs of heritage language learners at all levels as it fosters: the use of the language (and its different registers); the development of written heritage language skills; language and cultural awareness; and potential connections and involvement with the heritage community.

Presenters will offer an overview of the guiding principles and strategies that comprise this model and illustrate them through sample projects from their own teaching. Adaptations of these projects for a range of languages, levels, and teaching contexts will be discussed, along with teaching practices and tools for managing PBL in HL-only and mixed classes. Participants will apply the proposed practices and tools in the design of mini-projects.


  1. Olga Kagan (UCLA)
  2. Irina Dubinina (Brandeis University)
  3. Helen Yung (Seattle Public Schools)
  4. María Carreira (Cal State University Long Beach)
8:30 - 9:15 Registration – Coffee
9:00 - 9:15 Opening remarks, Michelle Aoki, Maria Carreira
9:15 - 9:35 Designing PBL Lessons through Content-based Second-language Acquisition (CoBALTT) and Organizing Content-based Vocabulary Through Language Apps
Helen Yung, Seattle Public Schools
9:35 - 9:55 Experiential Learning in Heritage Language Classrooms. An Oral Histories Project.
Irina Dubinina, Brandeis University
9:55 - 10:15 Subtitling a Documentary: An approach to developing linguistic and cultural literacy
Olga Kagan, UCLA
10:15 - 10:30 Spanish in the Professions: A project-based class integrating content and HL learning
Maria Carreira, California State University, Long Beach
10:30 - 10:40 Break
10:40 - 11:40 Group discussion led by Maria Carreira
Participants will discuss the different principles and strategies of PBL exemplified in the projects presented and they will consider adaptations for different learners and levels of instruction. In preparation for the upcoming group work, participants will generate a list of other topics and tasks for PBL.
11:40 - 1:40 Lunch and Group work
Participants will create a mini-project or anchoring activity that incorporates some of the principles and strategies of PBL discussed in the morning.
In their presentations, each group will describe (a) the student population for which this project has been designed, including, the HL, educational level, proficiency level in the HL, (b) the topic, tasks, and products(s) comprising the mini-project or anchoring activity, (c) the instructional objectives guiding the design of this instructional activity, and (d) the elements of PBL that are being implemented and how they are being implemented (aim for three or four).
1:45 - 3:00 Presentations