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You are here: Home / News & Events / Events / CLS Speaker Series_check_then_delete / 2016-2017 / CLS Speaker Series - Megan Zirnstein (Penn State University)

CLS Speaker Series - Megan Zirnstein (Penn State University)

When Feb 12, 2016
from 09:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Where 127 Moore Building
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For many Spanish foreign-language (SFL) courses in the United States, it is becoming the norm to find two combined populations: 1) traditional SFL learners and 2) Spanish heritage-language (SHL) learners, who have attained some level of proficiency in Spanish via home and/or community exposure (e.g., Valdés, 2001). These learners often are grouped together despite their different experiences with written Spanish. This presentation describes SHL and SFL learners’ writing behaviors in English and Spanish, including time allocation for planning, execution, and monitoring; revision; accuracy; and fluency. We compared writing behaviors across languages in each learner group (Elola and Mikulski, 2013; Elola and Mikulski, in press; Mikulski and Elola, 2011) and across learner groups (Elola and Mikulski, in press). Twelve SHL learners and six SFL learners in a third-year Spanish class responded to prompts in Spanish and English while screen-capture software recorded their behaviors. SHL learners spent significantly more time planning between sentences in their Spanish responses, but demonstrated more fluency and accuracy when writing in English. SFL learners wrote less fluently, performed more surface revisions, and demonstrated less accuracy when writing in Spanish than in English, but spent more time monitoring their writing in English. Compared to their SHL counterparts, SFL learners wrote less fluently and accurately and devoted less time to Spanish inter-sentential planning and English monitoring. The SFL learners performed more surface revisions in Spanish and fewer meaning revisions in English and Spanish than the SHL learners. Although some writing behaviors appear to transfer across languages, instructors of mixed SHL-SFL courses also should take into account each learner group’s needs.