Episode 24 – Supporting Heritage Languages and Cultures: A Conversation with Joy Peyton

Side-by-side pictures of Norah Jones and Joy Peyton, with text introducing It's About Language

“Community-based heritage language schools and Native American schools are all part of the national language-learning landscape. When we talk about languages, about language learning, and about opportunities to develop proficiency, we need to include these schools and groups. So far, that rarely happens.”

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What is YOUR linguistic and cultural heritage? Joy Peyton has some insights for you to consider in this podcast.

My husband’s ancestors arrived in North America from the British Isles in the 17th century. Though he is white and speaks our majority tongue, English, his language heritage attracts attention because of his accent (redolent of Wales) and “antique” vocabulary words. I, his partner, am the daughter of a World War II refugee from what was Yugoslavia. My father arrived as a teen, by himself, and his accented language and cultural tastes in music, food, drink, and dancing were a clear contrast to those sounds and practices with which I was surrounded in my neighborhood. Yet experiencing his native language and culture as a young child was not available to me.

I was fortunate: when I begged my father as a young teen to take me to meet his family in his natal town, we had the means to do so, and there was still a town and still a family to be seen. My personal story of embracing language and culture has a happy ending both as a person of Croatian heritage and – because I now knew it was possible – as a person of German heritage from my mother’s side. But for many (most?) people in this nation there is not fulfillment of the hunger for a full understanding of our identity as it is tied to our heritage, unfortunately. Be it the heritage identity of recent or historical immigrants or refugees, or the restoration and strengthening of Native American heritages, such languages are outside of the mainstream offerings in our educational system.

Community-based heritage language schools exist. If you work in such a school, study there, support it, share about it with others: thank you. If you don’t know about such heritage language schools in your community (I didn’t!), here’s a chance to find out: Joy Peyton shares specific information about such schools in both the podcast and in her biography and resource page. She also shares how you can help identify and connect such schools so that their service, impact, and quality can all be enhanced.

When we combine forces of our educational systems — public, private, community-based — to provide the language-learning opportunities that open our brains, hearts, and spirits to our own identities and that of others, that brings positive power and impact into all our lives.

Enjoy the podcast.


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It’s About Language – Episode 24 – Supporting Heritage Languages and Cultures: A Conversation with Joy Peyton

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Transcript

Norah Jones:        It’s my great pleasure today to welcome my guest and friend Joy Peyton. Hi, Joy.

Joy Peyton:          Hi, Norah. Lovely to be with you.

Norah Jones:        It is a great pleasure. I’m very excited about this conversation today because you bring so much background to what we’ll be discussing today. We focused a lot on working with heritage languages, mother tongue education. Which is something that you’ve been working on issues for, as you say in your biography, for over 30 years. You’re also a senior fellow at the Center for Applied Linguistics.

We’ll call that CAL for short hereafter. And you also participate on the advisory board for the national lobbying organization in Washington DC that I also serve on, the Joint National Committee on Languages, National Council of Languages and International Studies, which we’ll call JNCL for short during this podcast. Joy, Why? How did you get engaged with heritage language?

Joy Peyton:        Yeah, thank you for asking. When I was at CAL, I was vice president and the President was Donna Christian. And we started connecting with Dick Brecht at the National Foreign Language Center and with other people, Maria Carriera, at Cal State Long Beach, and saying, “Heritage languages need a bigger visibility.” We weren’t talking about them. This was 1990. We weren’t talking much about them. And so we said, “Okay, let’s hold a conference.” So we collaborated. It was CAL and FLC. And Cal State Long Beach collaborated and held a conference at Cal State Long Beach, focused on heritage languages.

And it was a huge success. Joshua Fishman spoke, Guadalupe Valdez spoke. Many other really notable people spoke and were there. It was very exciting. And also there was an earthquake that weekend in Joshua Tree, which was close to level seven. And at the end of the conference, Dick Brecht said, “We held our first heritage language conference and the earth moved.”

Norah Jones:        Well said, Dick!

Joy Peyton:        And that was true. So then two years later, we held our second one in Washington, DC. And after that, Dick Brecht said, “I like holding conferences. Yes, it’s important, but we need to move forward somehow together.” And so we joined together and formed The Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages. And the Alliance went on for maybe 15 years. We developed so many materials, which are still on the coalition web page. We call them digest papers about issues in heritage language education. We were documenting heritage language programs.

                                                We went to UCLA every year for the heritage language conference. And then some of us got together and these were community-based schools people. Renate Ludanyi, Ana Lucia Lico, Tommy Lu, got together and said, “Yes, this is great. The field has shifted. There’s an interest in heritage languages now. Heritage language learners, heritage language speakers, heritage language programs. But what about community-based schools?” It was mostly as you know, because you go to conferences, it was mostly university people at the conferences talking about their university heritage language programs. Which were very new and very exciting.But what about community-based schools? And so and then we realized that with the Alliance, we were focusing on heritage languages, yes. But not necessarily community-based schools. So we said, “You know what? Let’s let the National Heritage Language Research Center, NHLRC, focus on heritage languages generally. And they were happy to and that’s why we’ve come into a very strong partnership with them. And we will focus on community-based schools. So we formed the coalition in 2012. The Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools. And that’s where my focus is now. Although I partner with the broader heritage language community.

Norah Jones:           Thank you for that history. That’s extremely clear. And I can see why the growth of this neighborhood have been so central to what you were discovering. So, talk a little bit about the Community-Based Heritage Language Schools, that coalition.

Joy Peyton:             Okay. Yes. Well, these are schools that operate primarily on Saturday, Sunday nights. Weekends and nights. So, they’re outside of the public, private and charter school system. Joshua Fishman actually documented community-based schools. In the 1960s, he documented over 1800. In the 1980s, he documented about 6500 of those schools, teaching hundreds of languages. And he was very much into that. Now, a survey of these schools has not been conducted since then. The 1980s. Because we haven’t had the funding to do it. We haven’t taken the initiative to do it.

But they are… As you can tell, there are many of them. And these are founded and run by speakers of the language who live in the community and want to give their own children and the children in the community the opportunity to develop proficiency in that language. To use that language, to love that language and to develop proficiency in it. And some of the schools, it’s their vision, that they will develop proficiency at very high levels.

I visited the German School in Connecticut, a few years ago. I interviewed a 10th grader. 10th grade in the Saturday school. And his proficiency was already high enough that he could pass the German test in Germany, so that he could go to school in Germany.

Norah Jones:        Wow.

Joy Peyton:           I asked him, “Have you studied German in your school?” He goes, “No, they don’t offer German.” I said, “Have you taken another language?” And he said, “Yes, I took Spanish for a while. But the rate we were going, I would never get anywhere with it. We were going so slowly.” So that’s another thing to say is the schools are often founded and run by community members who are highly dedicated to making these schools successful. And many of the students are developing very high levels of proficiency. And also engagement with the language, engagement with the culture.

Joy Peyton:          So far, we have documented in our survey of community-based schools, 400 schools, teaching 37 languages in 35 states. That’s good. And we’re connecting the schools and that is for sure. We are connecting them, we’re making them visible. But we have you can tell we have a very long way to go in documenting and connecting with these schools.

Norah Jones:      Why do you think that’s so? Do you feel it’s underrepresented then?

Joy Peyton:            Well, it’s not that easy to connect. I’ll tell you that we very soon… There are six of us who are part of the coalition core team. We very early on realized that there’s no way that we ourselves could make these connections, no way. And so when we meet a person who’s highly connected with these schools, we ask them to be a language representative for those schools and work with us. And so they connect their communities to our annual conference. And our next one is October 8th and 9th, this year [2021]. They help to document the schools.

But the people in the schools are very, very busy. They don’t have time to participate in our survey. They don’t necessarily have time to connect with us. We’re very happy for the ones who do but it’s difficult. It’s not… And I’ll say another thing. That these schools, I think you might know this, I’d love to hear your comment about this. These schools are pretty invisible. I just said there are thousands of them teaching hundreds of languages. Do you know, Norah, what community-based schools there are in your neighborhood? And if you say no, I’m not going to look down on you.

Norah Jones:        Well, I will say no. That’s for sure. Absolutely.

Joy Peyton:             Yeah. Well, my kids went to George Mason High School in Falls Church, Virginia. And I met a person who told me, “Oh, I have a Chinese school at George Mason High School on Saturday. Did you know that?” No, it’s one block away from me. The schools are pretty invisible. And so one of our goals… Can I tell you our goals?

Norah Jones:          Of course, please.

Joy Peyton:             Our goals, our vision are to connect these schools with each other so that we can all collaborate. Give visibility to the schools so that they are part of the national language learning landscape. When people think about language proficiency and language learning. They think in addition to public, private and charter schools and dual language schools, which are a hot topic right now. They also think about community-based schools. And then finally to advocate for the schools, so that the students can receive the awards that other students are receiving. The Seal of Biliteracy and the Global Seal and other credits and awards.

That they can receive that because of their work in that school. Now, I’m going to tell you another great idea which Amanda Seewald at JNCL-NCLIS, who you know very well, mentioned the other day.

Norah Jones:        Yes.

Joy Peyton:           She said, “Wouldn’t it be fabulous if let’s say a student at a public school who’s highly proficient in Bulgarian. Right? Bulgarian is not offered at the high school. So where is that student going to develop their proficiency in Bulgarian over time? Well, if there’s a Bulgarian community-based school that they could connect with, that would add value to their lives.” So what value do the community-based schools bring to our language learning enterprise? That’s where we’re moving.

Norah Jones:           Absolutely fabulous. And I have to say that I’m just aching personally. Because my heritage background of Croatian was neglected completely, until I myself, begged my father to take me to meet my family. And to spend, as it turned out, then, thereafter my summers with my family in Croatia. Where I started out as a rank beginner in Croatian. To have been able to experience the heritage language and culture, while I was growing up, would have been transformational. It’s bound to touch the hearts and not only the skill sets of the young people that participate.

Joy Peyton:             Yes. The hearts, yes. Thank you for mentioning that. Absolutely.

Norah Jones:           What are some of the stories that come to mind that touch on the transformation for those who have participated in such heritage schools?

Joy Peyton:            You mean the students who are participating? Or the [crosstalk].

Norah Jones:          Primarily, I guess when I’m asking about the students. But you have come across life changing stories I’m quite confident. In not only students, but also in those that serve them or have then applied those wonderful people to jobs or other opportunities. Whatever it is that comes to your mind.

Joy Peyton:            Yeah. Well, one story is a number of years ago. I was at ACTFL. It used to be the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Now they just call themselves ACTFL. I was at their annual conference. And my colleague from CAL called me on my cell phone and said, “There’s somebody who I want you to… Somebody would be very good for you to meet.” And so I said, “Okay.” And so I texted that person. I said, “Meet me at the exhibit hall at such and such a time.” So we met. We sat down and had coffee. And I’m not going to tell you her name or her language, because I don’t have permission to tell. I didn’t ask her for permission to tell this story.

Norah Jones:          Okay.

Joy Peyton:            But we sat down to have coffee and she started crying. Seriously crying. And I said, “What?” And she said, “This is my first time at this conference. I have been walking around saying to people, Hi, I’m… And this is my language. And I teach in a Saturday school. Community-based school. And people just look at me and go, Wow, that’s interesting. And then they either walk away or keep talking.” So, going from… And another story. At our conference, I always take the language representatives out to dinner after the conference.

And again, I was sitting next to one of the language representatives from a different language. And he started crying. And he said, “This is the first time that people outside our language community have really wanted to talk to me.” So connections across language communities were not happening. And in some cases, they now are. The second and the other thing is that therefore these leaders in their own language community or maybe not their language community. Maybe in their school are now becoming leaders and advocates on a national scale.

So they are working to get the students in their programs to be able to earn the Seal of Biliteracy and the Global Seal. That’s a big effort of theirs. They are leading workshops at our conference. They are writing things for everyone’s benefit. Right now we’re working together on guidelines. There are guidelines for earning the Seal of Biliteracy. But we’re adapting them for community-based school leaders. And these are community… It has to be community-based school leaders who are writing the document.

So number one, making connections. Number two, gaining visibility. Number three, gaining a sense of identity, a sense of power, a sense of contribution to the field. And now with Dick Brecht, the project that Dick Brecht is working on, America’s Language Initiative, community-based schools and Native American schools. Which you and I haven’t even talked about yet. Native American schools are… That’s what the focus is. And now these schools will be… Those that are exemplary, will be documented on the America’s languages initiative website. And they’ll be recognized through a number of means.

So here’s another area moving toward exemplary. And what does that look like. And then, now I’ve been talking about leaders and schools. But for students, some of these leaders are working very hard to connect the students in the program with the wider community. They’re setting up community activities, summer camps where community people come in. Where they go out into the community. Tutoring programs, where older students tutor younger students. Interviews.

I was on an interview with a Hindi group. And it was high school students talking online with business leaders, business and other career leaders. Other professionals about how they use their language. So all kinds of outreach kinds of things into the community. Into the career field. How to engage parents. Now, how to engage students is a huge challenge. Huge challenge, which you can imagine. When your child is 3, 5, 7, you can take them to Saturday school. They’re just old enough to play soccer, to play piano. One too many, many things. And they’re going, “Wait, why am I doing this?”

And so engaging students throughout their school career is a huge challenge that many of the schools and are working on and succeeding.

Norah Jones:         And succeeding. What are some of the reasons why they are succeeding? By approach? By goal? What are those reasons?

Joy Peyton:          By their approach. I mentioned the German school in Connecticut, where many of the teachers are certified. They teach also in the public school as well as at the Saturday school. They are developing instruction that is engaging to the students. So, project-based learning. Where the students work… They don’t just learn stuff out of a textbook, but they work together on a project. Inquiry-based learning. Where it’s the students’ questions and interests that drive the curriculum, the themes and the topics. And “We’d really like to know about this.” Things like, “Well, why are we here at all? Why is our community in the United States? Why do we care about this language?”

So the students and the teacher together, come up with the curriculum, the themes, the topics. We have examples of these on our website. Those are a couple. Oh, another one I already said. Having the older students, the teenagers, on Saturday, be teaching in the younger students’ classes. They’re not just taking classes. They are taking class, but they also go and teach the younger kids. And that really engages them and the younger kids. You can imagine. Right?

Norah Jones:          I certainly can. And another group that I would love to come back to that you alluded to absolutely want to. The Native American groups. We’re looking at legislation now that would let have a national center for information about Native American languages. How do these then apply these heritage community-based learning with our Native American?

Joy Peyton:         Well, unfortunately and this is really unfortunate. I don’t know a lot about Native American schools. But when I have connected with them, we have connected and documented a couple of the programs on the Alliance website. And when we give presentations at conferences, there will be a Native American person there who… What they call their language depends on them. Some of them call it their tribe or whatever. Their… Let’s see. Different groups have different vocabulary. Let’s just… Native American languages is okay.

We believe that their programs are very much like ours. They’re conducted outside of the regular school day. Saturday, Sunday evenings. Founded and directed by people from the community. Very similar. But that’s… This is an unfortunate thing that we haven’t had strong connections with that community. And I’m hoping that through the America’s Languages Initiative, we will. Because we’ll all be working together on the same thing.

Norah Jones:         Certainly hope so. Certainly hope so. Joy as a senior fellow at the Center for Applied Linguistics, what is CAL’s role in your work? And in connecting these heritage languages?

Joy Peyton:            Right. Well, CAL cares a great deal about these languages and these schools. And we talked for a while about CAL setting up an online community for these schools. And I think they still want to. It’s just that CAL staff are very, very busy. But they speak at our conference every year. And they send out announcements about our work. They work as a partner with us. If we need, information, they’re there to do it. They have the… The Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages, was held at CAL. And all of that information is still at CAL.

And CAL has recently developed and assists a set of assessments for heritage language schools, heritage language learners. I won’t say for community-based schools, but probably, but for heritage language learners. So CAL has a lot of different things that they’re interested in. But definitely community-based schools are part of their interest. And they’re highly supportive of our work.

Norah Jones:         Phenomenal. That’s great. Thank you. Now I have a question about the practical applications. You alluded to that earlier, too. We have a change going on in the United States over the way that we view the usefulness of language. Some of the instruction is trying to catch up to this vision of the importance of global application of language knowledge. So connect again, where you see the nation, the United States going. How these community-based heritage language schools and your work, connect with the purposefulness of language. The global citizenship of language.

Joy Peyton:            Right. Well, I think it’s safe to say that we’re in the midst of a shift toward a recognition of the value of being bilingual and multilingual. You can see that shift in the development and the growth of dual language programs where students are learning two languages. English and another language. Or I should say, yeah, English and another language. And that’s the goal of the program. And those programs are growing and growing. People are writing now significantly about the value of bilingualism. At the same time, I don’t… I’m thinking all my friends are going to go, “Joy, you’re getting way too excited.”

At the same time, language programs are being cut, because of funding. And so that’s something that people are aware of. Something that people are working on. So, people are working on it. Another thing that is making a difference and I’ve said this probably too many times is the Seal of Biliteracy from ACTFL that ACTFL advocates for and the Global Seal. These two types of recognition that students can earn. So on their high school diploma, if they have reached a certain level of proficiency in both English and one other language. It can be more than one but at least one other language.

They can get the Seal of Biliteracy if their state and district are participating in that. And that makes a difference because it tells the students, this is important. And this could make a difference in your career. I also think that there’s more talk now. I don’t know if you’d agree Norah. I’d love to see what you think. That there’s more talk now about the value of knowing another language in being a global citizen. Being engaged with communities, understanding other communities having empathy. Let’s just say understanding, traveling. And traveling in an intelligent way.

Norah Jones:         Yes.

Joy Peyton:            I think there’s more focus on that. Do you agree?

Norah Jones:          I do. I think that there is a real push now nationally, to understand that very trajectory of the importance of language, no question. And the economic impact on the United States in this case too.

Joy Peyton:              Right. And an example of people who are thinking about this. There’s a person named Steve Leveen and he just wrote a book called America’s Bilingual Century. And he’s arguing that the United States is going to become a bilingual multilingual country. That we didn’t realize the value of it. He himself didn’t realize the value of it until he was an adult then he said, “Hey, hold on. Hold on.” And he learned another language. I think it was Spanish. I should know. But anyway, he learned another language. He did what you did. He traveled, learned it, used it.

And now he sees the value. And he’s just published a book about that. And he’s talking about it. So you can… I think the interest and the knowledge are just going to continue to grow.

Norah Jones:           I agree. And one of the aspects is you keep me referred several times to the Seal of Biliteracy with the individual states. And the vast majority of the states have now approved that Seal of Biliteracy. 41, I believe. My count might be off a little bit, but not by much. And the Global Seal of Biliteracy, which actually has the certifications and the endorsements and can be… And is registered, which allows for more also sense of connecting the achievement of a language to the maintenance and the use of that language. Powerful, then in the work of heritage groups in this case that you’re specifically engaged with yours. Correct?

Joy Peyton:           Yes. Definitely.

Norah Jones:          Joy, on the website, I do have based on thank you, your sharing, three things that I’ve meant to make sure that the listeners know that you’ve provided a mailing list so that they can understand what you’re doing and be participants in it in that way. An invitation to participate in the conference in October of 2021. And an opportunity to let schools know or if they are part of the school, to engage in that school survey. What do you want to make sure that people understand about what they’re about to experience? Because you’re right. I think a lot of us don’t even know that the schools exist.

Joy Peyton:          You mean, as far as doing one of those three things? Or?

Norah Jones:        Yeah, what are the benefits for the folks to make sure that they participate in the invitations that you’re providing Joy?

Joy Peyton:            Okay, yeah. Well, if people sign up for our mailing list, they will get updates on what we are doing and what other people, what people in the community-based field are doing. And it won’t be overwhelming at all because we only send a newsletter once a month or less. But you can definitely… The questions you’ve been asking. And I’ve been saying we published an article about Steve Leveen’s new book and Fabrice Jaumont, also has a book coming out about bilingualism in the US. And so you get notifications about that. What’s going on? What universities are offering, in terms of courses regarding heritage language learners.

Documenting schools. It would be just fabulous if we documented all of the schools teaching all of the languages. They do it in Australia. I was speaking with a person from New South Wales. And he said, “Yeah, we have this many schools teaching this many languages.” And I’m going, “You actually know that?

Norah Jones:         Wow.

Joy Peyton:           Yeah, we don’t. But one way that we could do it is if we could all gather together and document those schools. So one thing that even you Norah could do is… I’m just giving you as an example for what somebody else could do. Is if you know of a school, a local community-based school, is just let them know about the survey. It only takes a few minutes. But it’s very interesting to read about all that what the schools. And then we report on it every year at the conference. And we say, “These are the schools and this is what they’re doing. And this is what they look like.”

And so that’s a huge benefit to all the schools and I think to other people. Because one thing we talk about is as I… And I said it before and that is what benefit could these schools bring to the public, private charter school community? What benefit? And there are lots of benefits that these schools could bring. And if people sign up for our newsletter, they’ll learn about the outcomes of our survey. And about what’s going on in the field. And coming to the conference, we really try at the conference to focus on what community-based schools are doing. So, that… But we bring in national leaders and ask them to take that focus.

Norah Jones:         Interesting.

Joy Peyton:             So this year, we have a panel of organizational leaders. So CAL, JNCL, NHLRC, NFLC. Sorry for saying all these letters. I hate it when people do that. Office of English Language Acquisition, ACTFL. Those leaders are going to talk about what do we do? What do we have that benefits community-based schools. So, you can see that we’re bringing them to focus their attention on community-based schools, but we’re taking the community-based schools into the wider realm. And then we have workshops. And a few years ago, it’s very interesting, people at our conference said, “I want to know what to do. I don’t want all this. I want to know what to do.”

Norah Jones:         Practical.

Joy Peyton:            And so we really… Besides… Actually, this year, the leaders are not only going to speak, but they’re going to go into breakout groups so that people can spend 45 minutes with Joel Gomez at CAL. With Amanda Seewald at JNCL. So they can really spend time together. How often does that happen?

Norah Jones:         Very seldom. And what an energizing experience. I can see why those that you met might have been crying from joy. That’s phenomenal. Part of the aspects of those Seals, too, Joy, coming back to this and is that the heritage schools and the ability to provide for students to achieve a level provable proficiency.

Not only benefits the individual student, the individual that is studying, but also provides a bit of a warning for the school systems. If I may say of the United States to go ahead and make sure to offer languages that are moving quickly as your wonderful German example at the very open of this podcast. Was speaking about moving too slowly in the Spanish class. Not that I’m encouraging rushing through things, but just how is it that students can gain fluency and energy and focus and therefore proficiency?

Joy Peyton:           Right. Yeah. Right. Thank you for saying that. Those are great things that you just said. And if we could work together, community-based schools and public schools to ask ourselves those very questions that you just listed, wouldn’t that be powerful?

Norah Jones:          It would be transformational. And we need that transformation if we’re going to provide for citizens that can find the employment and the wonderful experiences of life and connectedness that we all desire.

Joy Peyton:          Right.

Norah Jones:         Joy, when you look out at the listeners here and you say, “Well, I’ve encouraged them to understand where we are, how to find us. I’ve encouraged them to let us know where they might find… Where we might find some more schools to be listed and so forth.” What else do you want to invite them to think about? Or maybe warn them about? Or at least leave them with from this conversation today?

Joy Peyton:         Yeah. Well, I’ve already said it. So is it okay if I repeat myself?

Norah Jones:        It sure is because if its most the thing that’s focused on your mind, repeating it is exactly perfect.

Joy Peyton:            So I would love for us to recognize community-based schools and Native American schools. Community-based heritage language schools and Native American schools. Which are also I would say, community-based. As part of the national language landscape. Or we could say the national language learning landscape. So when we talk about languages, when we talk about language learning, we talk about opportunities to develop proficiency. We include those schools and those groups. And I will say that so far, that rarely happens.

So, you doing this and giving this opportunity is something that we in the community-based school world are not really used to. If that is somebody saying, “Could you tell us what you do what contribution it makes?” Part of the national language learning landscape. That is what we would like to say. So, anytime we talk about language learning, talk about language proficiency, we include community-based schools. Of course, they’re not the leader. They’re not the best. They’re not… We’re not trying to be in a competition, but part of the world. Part of the conversation.

Norah Jones:          Partnering, being part of the full conversation. Thank you for saying that so beautifully. And so before we end today, let’s add one more item. Okay? You Ready?

Joy Peyton:            Okay.

Norah Jones:         All right. Let’s say that, for example, I said I would like to go and find out what community-based language schools are in this area that I never knew existed. Now I know that such things can exist. Do you have a way that those that are now interested in finding out about their region can go about finding out about these schools?

Joy Peyton:          Yes. And people have done that. People have contacted us. And we would first send them to our map of schools, which is on our website.

Norah Jones:          Okay.

Joy Peyton:            Where they can see where they… And then they can click on a language and find the schools that teach that language. So we would send them to our website. And then we would send them to the people who document schools. And that’s Tommy Lu and his colleagues who do a survey and they update the survey every quarter, to say… Actually, I often send people to Tommy and I say, “This person is here and they’re looking for this language. What do you know?” And he tells them. And then I would also ask the language representatives working on that language and connect them with that person.

And another thing we do is it… And this is for people in the Washington DC, area, because that’s where I am. Jose Viana, who used to be the director of the Office of English Language Acquisition, he wanted to visit some heritage language programs. And so we gave him a list of, “Okay, these are the programs that would be very good for you to visit.” And he did. Went and visited. And had a fabulous time talking to the students. We’ve got pictures of him and the students. Can you imagine having the director of Office of English Language Acquisition come and visit your school?

Norah Jones:          Saying’s powerful. And that’s the kind of connectedness to which you referred earlier in our conversation. That builds energy.

Joy Peyton:            Yes. Imagine how people would feel if you went and visited their school. It’s, “Whoa. We must be worth something.” So, I recommend visiting the school as you will learn so much. Oh man, I visited ABRACE, a Portuguese school. And it was eye opening. And I’ve been working in this field for a long time. But to see all the things that those people are doing. So thank you for asking about how can we find, how can I find schools that I care about? Did I give a good answer through?

Norah Jones:           You sure did. You sure did. And I would just like to make sure that high and again, that people like to be recognized. You said it so beautifully Joy. They like to be recognized for their skill in a language. Schools that teach like to be recognized for what they are contributing to the educational scene. Languages like to be recognized for their role that they played in the identity of individuals and cultures. We all like to be connected. We all like to be acknowledged and valued.

And you have certainly been doing that now for decades. Have done so again, beautifully today. Thank you so much Joy, for being my guest. And I will encourage again all listeners to go to my website, take a look at all of the information and the links that Joy has shared with us and take action. Obviously, Joy, thanks for describing it by the way. There are people standing there to be able to help. We’re not on our own.

Joy Peyton:          Right. Absolutely. Well, thank you, Norah, for this fabulous opportunity. It’s wonderful talking with you.

Norah Jones:        It is wonderful to talk with you too Joy. Thank you for all that you’re doing and please continue the good fight. And we’re going to be with you. We won’t leave you to do it by yourself. How about that?

Joy Peyton:          Wonderful. Yes.

Norah Jones:        Great. Take care my friend.

Joy Peyton:         We need that. Okay, you too. Thank you.

One thought on “Episode 24 – Supporting Heritage Languages and Cultures: A Conversation with Joy Peyton

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