• Kristina M. Petrović


language teaching methodology, heritage language, tradition, identity, interculturality


In this paper, we tried to clarify some of the issues concerning ‘heritage language’
and to present the numerous challenges that educators face in their teaching
practices. Heritage students do not differ from foreign language students only in their
language competences, but also in the motivation and desire to master a heritage
language. Many scholars highlight the psychological aspect – “hybrid nationality” and
“intercultural burden” (Kagan 2012:72), that can only be overcome with a positive approach
to cultural heritage. Establishing a connection with the culture of one’s ancestors is one of
the basic motivations for learning a heritage language. Therefore, heritage language is the
true medium of culture, much more than learning other languages which are treated as
foreign. The communication aspect is important but it is not the only reason why students
strive to master it.
Apart from a lack of suitable textbooks for teaching Serbian as the heritage language,
educators are faced with numerous difficulties starting with the initial testing and placing of
students in appropriate groups. In the paper, we tried to explain how we face these challenges
with our methodology and materials at the Online School of Serbian Language, Tradition and
Culture – “Sava”. Our teaching method, which includes a personalised approach, group work,
direct contact with pupils and abundance of materials, methodologies and platforms, resulted
in many satisfied students who, within a few years of being in a language school start
speaking the language, manage to use it comfortably, and most importantly – develop and
nurture a positive attitude towards one’s own heritage and culture.