How Heritage Language Education Promotes Cultural Competence

How Heritage Language Education Promotes Cultural Competence

Cultural competence is an increasingly important part of 21st-century learning and global citizenship. As the world gets more interconnected, it becomes essential that students learn to appreciate and understand various cultures. Heritage language education is an inclusive way to promote cultural competence in the classroom while also helping children build a deeper connection with their culture (heritage).

With this increased awareness about local and global issues, heritage language education cultivates intercultural understanding through thoughtful interpersonal interactions among peers from diverse backgrounds — critical for personal growth and professional success in today’s world. So, read on to learn how teachers can support their students in becoming culturally competent as they learn their home languages or expand into other ones.

Acknowledgment of Multiple Identities

Heritage language education is an effective way to help individuals develop cultural competence by recognizing and acknowledging that everyone has multiple identities that collectively make up their full identity. Learning a heritage language helps an individual actively recognize the importance of their own cultural heritage while also being open-minded and respectful toward other cultures.

Developing Appreciation for Other Cultures

Heritage language education allows students to gain a more holistic understanding of other cultures as they learn about the traditions, history, and customs associated with their target language. This, in turn, promotes respect for cultural differences among peers and society.

Language Development

Through heritage language education, learners can become proficient in both their native and heritage languages. This improved language ability can help them better understand the cultural nuances of both languages. It also helps to break down language barriers and promote positive interactions between people of all backgrounds.

Improved Communication

Heritage language education offers students the opportunity to become comfortable communicating in their target language, thus improving their verbal communication skills. This enhanced communication increases access to different cultures, creating opportunities for more meaningful relationships among individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Global Awareness

Learning about a culture through its language helps learners gain a global perspective encompassing multiple perspectives and worldviews. Understanding how other cultures view the world allows individuals to take a critical stance when analyzing current events and to engage in conversations about global issues.

Pride in One’s Culture

Heritage language education allows individuals to connect with their cultural roots and gain a deeper appreciation of their cultural heritage, which can help foster a sense of pride and identity. This also helps build bridges between different generations as they learn to appreciate the perspectives and values of previous generations.

Developing Intercultural Skills

Heritage language education enhances intercultural skills by providing learners with the tools necessary to effectively engage in conversations across cultures. This includes understanding the nuances and cultural implications associated with various expressions and nonverbal communication styles, as well as recognizing culturally appropriate behaviors when interacting with people from diverse backgrounds.

Creating Positive Change

By becoming culturally competent, individuals can create positive change in their community. They can help break down stereotypes and challenge racism while also promoting understanding and respect for different cultures. This can lead to more meaningful intercultural relationships, leading to a more peaceful and harmonious society.

Promote Cultural Competence

As our world becomes increasingly globalized, it is more important than ever to be aware and respectful of other cultures. Heritage language education is one way to promote cultural competence in young people. By definition, heritage languages are those passed down from previous generations within a family. Learning a heritage language not only allows children to connect with their roots but also gives them a competitive edge in an ever-changing job market.If you’re an educator dedicated to teaching language, reach out to us at KidsLipi Inc. and discover how our platform can provide activities and stories that follow your curriculum guidelines while supplying culturally specific content if needed — all with the help of a fun, interactive app! In addition, if you need assistance or have inquiries, we invite you to join our KidsLipi Community, a platform for parents and teachers alike to share resources, stories, and give each other the support they need. Let us show you how KidsLipi enables kids to learn a new language in innovative ways!

The Power of Heritage Language: Why It Matters More Than Ever

The Power of Heritage Language: Why It Matters More Than Ever

When it comes to language, most of us think of it as a means to an end. We use it to communicate our thoughts, ideas, and feelings with others. But language is so much more than that. It is a window into our past, present, and future. It is the embodiment of our culture, our history, and our identity. And that is why preserving and passing on heritage language is so important.

In today’s globalized world, the importance of heritage language has never been more pronounced. With more and more people moving around the world and cultures becoming increasingly intertwined, it is more important than ever to keep our heritage languages alive. Not only do they help us understand and connect with our past, but they also give us a sense of belonging and identity in the present. And perhaps most importantly, they give us the tools we need to build a better future for ourselves and generations to come.

The Challenges of Preserving Heritage Language

However, preserving heritage languages has its challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the need for more resources and support. Many heritage languages are spoken by only a small number of people. Therefore, they are often given extra attention and support than more widely spoken languages. Additionally, many heritage languages are not taught in schools, and there are usually few resources available for learning them.

Another challenge is the pressure to assimilate. In today’s society, there is often pressure to speak the dominant language to be successful. As a result, many people may be reluctant to pass on their heritage language to their children, thinking that it will hold them back.

The Benefits of Learning Heritage Language

Learning a heritage language brings a lot of benefits, some of which include the following:

1. Cultural Understanding

Learning a heritage language allows us to understand our culture and history better. It allows us to connect with our ancestors and understand their experiences and perspectives.

2. Improved Cognitive Development

Studies have shown that being bilingual or multilingual can improve one’s cognitive development, including problem-solving and decision-making skills. It can also delay the onset of age-related cognitive decline.

3. Career Opportunities

Knowing a heritage language can open up new career opportunities, particularly in translation, interpretation, and international business fields.

4. Better Communication With Family and Community

Speaking a heritage language can improve communication with family members and community members who talk about the language. It can also strengthen relationships and foster a sense of community and belonging.

5. Appreciation of Literature and Arts

Heritage language can also open up the world of literature and arts, as many works are written in the language. This can broaden our cultural understanding and appreciation.

6. Increased Self-Esteem and Confidence

Learning a heritage language can also increase self-esteem and confidence. It can give us a sense of pride in our heritage and culture, and it can allow us to express ourselves in a unique and meaningful way.

How Technology Can Help

Technology has the potential to play a significant role in preserving and passing on heritage languages. With the advent of language learning apps, it is now easier than ever to learn a heritage language. These apps provide interactive and engaging lessons that make learning fun and accessible for people of all ages.


The importance of preserving and passing on heritage language cannot be overstated. It is a vital part of our cultural heritage and identity and is crucial for understanding our past, connecting with our present, and building a better future. We must make a concerted effort to support and preserve heritage languages, so that future generations can continue to benefit from them.

However, preserving and passing on heritage language is a task we can only accomplish with help. It requires a collective effort from all of us. That is why we urge you to take action and do your part in preserving your heritage language. Whether learning the lingo yourself or teaching it to your children, every little bit helps. If you need help or have any questions, we invite you to join the KidsLipi Community — a group where parents and educators can share resources, exchange stories and support one another. We support you in your journey to preserve and pass on your heritage language. Let us work together to ensure that our heritage languages continue to thrive for generations.

One hour a week of language learning is not enough

One hour a week of language learning is not enough

When teaching your students a foreign language, how often do you emphasize practicing outside the classroom? Probably pretty often! It makes sense, even to non-educators, that the single hour of in-class instruction is not enough. It also seems reasonable to think “the more the better” when it comes to practicing a new language. While quantity matters, so does the quality of what is being practiced.

Experts seem to agree that incorporating everyday activities such as reading a book or practicing weather terms in the language you are learning can be helpful to cement vocabulary and understanding. They also agree that daily practice is key – some think there is a number of minutes each day that is appropriate and others feel that it varies. What many agree on is that using technology can really level up students’ daily practice.

A recent study published by Science Daily showed significant improvement by those using a language app.

Among the report’s findings, 59% of participants improved oral proficiency by at least one sublevel on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages proficiency scale. The proportion of learners who improved rose even higher among those who spent more time using the app. For those who studied at least six hours, 69% increased at least one sublevel, improving to 75% for those who studied for at least 15 hours.

For language educators, it then becomes a research project to find out what app will best fit not only the language you teach but the curriculum that will support the lesson for that particular week. This can be like finding a needle in a haystack for educators – taking up time and effort to match your curriculum to the app.

We developed KidsLipi with the intention to solve this pain point for language educators. With KidsLipi, you can create personalized supplemental learning that exactly matches the curriculum you are teaching in class. It’s like developing an app specifically for your students, but without all the backend steps.

The customized, confidence-boosting games and activities provide additional practice to your students. Knowing that it’s aligned with what they are learning in class saves time and gives the continuity that you need for a solid lesson plan.

In addition to matching your in-class curriculum, the KidsLipi app is easy to access for students. They can study at home or on the go using a phone or a tablet. The interface and navigation have been designed with simplicity in mind, so students aren’t struggling with the app and can get straight to practicing.

Some language learning apps are more difficult to use when first learning a new language. Because KidsLipi allows you to create practice that is the precise material you are teaching in class, it provides exactly what your students need at the right time.

Educators and students alike tend to focus on “how many hours are enough?” but the more important question is what’s the caliber of the material your students are practicing? Combining fun, engaging practice with curriculum that aligns to what’s being taught in class, your students have a very high probability of not only enjoying the practice but retaining more of what they’ve been studying.

KidsLipi vs Duolingo – What’s the Difference?

KidsLipi vs Duolingo – What’s the Difference?

KidsLipi and Duolingo are learning platforms that offer an online curriculum to support practicing a new language. But these platforms differ in a few ways. 

#1 – Curriculum Alignment

KidsLipi allows language educators to create and deliver content that aligns with the curriculum students are learning in the classroom. All activities, quizzes, and games are customizable to match the book content and lessons that students are learning, giving teachers complete control over what they are practicing at home. 

While it’s possible to find matching content in Duolingo, it requires searching through multiple units. Educators can manually search lessons and also see sample lessons. However, this is time-consuming, and there is a high likelihood that lessons won’t match the in-class curriculum.

#2 – Relevant Progress Tracking

Both platforms have reporting functions that track student progress, including completed activities. However, the similarities end there. Because Duolingo’s lessons do not match a teacher’s in-class curriculum, any progress tracked beyond assignments completed and time spent has little value. Because KidsLipi content is created by the educator, it aligns with the content that students are currently learning, making progress data highly relevant. Teachers can then provide the proper support to any student who needs it.

#3 – Designed for K-5 kids

Duolingo is mainly designed for high school students and adults, whereas KidsLipi is designed with K-5 kids in mind. It allows kids to click and explore words and sentences, listen, and read words, and receive golden stars when an activity is completed. The more they learn, the more golden stars they receive. They can also practice words and reinforce learning in the app, collecting points as they play more games. Finally, quizzes allow kids to evaluate their competency in the language they are learning. Overall, the app helps speed up the language learning process.

Bonus Point – More Offerings for Indian Languages

This last point is a bonus one, but we think it’s an important one. Currently, the only Indian language offered in Duolingo is Hindi. KidsLipi on the other hand gives educators the ability to use their content, whether that is Hindi, Gujarati or Tamil. Because educators can use their own curriculum to develop activities and quizzes, it’s possible to use KidsLipi language learning platform to deliver assignments with any foreign language. KidsLipi founder SamirPatel created the platform with this adaptability in mind. While teaching his son Gujarati, Samir noticed a lack of at-home language learning platforms that modeled what is taught in the classroom. He decided to design a platform that reinforces student learning at home while allowing teachers to be more efficient by using their own lessons. 

When researching the best app for language learning, it’s easy to fall for the ones that might seem the most popular. What’s more important is looking at specific needs and how these apps apply to those needs, including how the lessons line up to your curriculum, what progress you hope to measure (and how you’d like to measure it). If you are a general user, Duolingo might work for you. But for a lesson-aligned supplemental platform that maximizes efficiency and concentrates on a specific curriculum, KidsLipi is a perfect fit.

Popular Posts

One hour a week of language learning is not enough

One hour a week of language learning is not enough

When teaching your students a foreign language, how often do you emphasize practicing outside the classroom? Probably pretty often! It makes sense, even to non-educators, that the single hour of in-class instruction is not enough. It also seems reasonable to think...

read more