Gardner Flores, Helen Lisa (2012-10). Promoting Positive Ethnolinguistic Identity in the Heritage Language Classroom through Dialect Awareness. Doctoral Dissertation.
This study examines Dialect Awareness as an instructional practice when used to teach Spanish Heritage Language (HL) learners at a university located on the U.S.-Mexico border. The author employs bidialectalism as a theoretical perspective, recognizing the important role that U.S. Border Spanish plays in constructing ethnolinguistic identity. A mixed-methods research framework was used that included a pre-post survey instrument, focus group interviews, and classroom observations to examine HL student confidence toward learning a prestige language variety and attitudes toward speaking U.S. Border Spanish. Discourse analysis was employed to examine the discursive practices of the DA classroom. Quantitative survey results showed that students developed a number of significant attitudinal changes after taking a course infused with Dialect Awareness. Triangulated qualitative findings confirmed that student attitudes had changed after one semester. The author proposes an agenda for future application of Dialect Awareness in Spanish Heritage Language classrooms.