At the university level, having heritage (HL) and L2 learners of Spanish enrolled in the same classes is more often the rule than the exception. How can instructors meet language, content, and cultural learning goals and promote continued language development for all students in these mixed classes without pulling our hair out? In the first part of the talk, I will provide a review of findings of research conducted in mixed classes and then I will move on to provide evidence-based and reality-tested ideas and resources for teaching Spanish language courses where both heritage learners and foreign language learners are enrolled. You will learn how to build on what your students already know and help scaffold in the language they need to express higher-level functions on the ACTFL scale, which L2 learners struggle with and Swender, Martin, Rivera Martinez and Kagan (2014) have argued are key to helping HL learners develop skills to use their heritage language in professional settings and expand their linguistic repertoire. You will be prepared to engage in differentiated instruction for the two groups, while helping to position both populations as learners, rather than experts, which Fernández-Dobao (2023) has found is key to success and provide expansion-oriented feedback rather than eradication-oriented feedback, which Méndez Seijas and Spino (2023) found to be commonly (and problematically) provided to HLs.
Dr. Melissa A. Bowles is Co-Director of the National Heritage Language Resource Center (UCLA) and Professor of Spanish, Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (SLATE), and Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on instructed second and heritage language acquisition, particularly the ways that instruction differentially affects the two populations. Her most recent book is an edited volume titled Outcomes of University Spanish Heritage Language Instruction in the United States (Georgetown University Press, 2022).