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Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Heritage language education has come to prominence worldwide. Despite the increasing number of Chinese heritage language learners and Chinese schools in the USA, little attention has been given to teachers. This study investigated three heritage language teachers' professional identity and beliefs about curriculum and instructional practices in a community-based Chinese school. A qualitative multiple case study was employed, and multiple data sources, such as semi-structured interviews, researcher's journals, and teachers' artefacts, were included. Cross-case analysis indicated that these teachers appeared to develop a weak sense of professional identity since they viewed teaching Chinese as a "secondary" and "volunteer" job. Teaching Chinese as a heritage language helped the teachers reconnect language and cultural knowledge. Learning contexts involved dynamic teacher-student interaction, parental support, and cultural-knowledge integration. While these teachers believed that they had a responsibility to develop students' language proficiency, they viewed parents as the people most critical to maintaining students' lifelong learning. This study provides various suggestions for reform in an effort to foster students' learning and promote high-quality Chinese heritage language contexts.