[Arturo] Hello, everyone. My name is Arturo Diaz, and I am the executive director of the UCLA Center for World Languages and the National Heritage Language Resource Center, or NHLRC for short. I would like to welcome you all to this panel to celebrate Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month. It is good to be able celebrate, especially during a year that has brought so many challenges to this country and the rest of the world. I find this idea of focusing attention to celebrate a particular community to be so fruitful, because it fosters understanding of our neighbors and the multitude of cultures and languages that they represent, which make up this nation. And with the wealth of diversity that exists within this country, we should have cause to celebrate year-round. I think that it is also fitting to recognize the contributions that these communities make to this nation. The NHLRC was the brain-child of Dr. Olga Kagan, our dear colleague and friend, and herself a migrant from Russia, whom we unfortunately lost several years ago. The Center was created with the intent to develop effective pedagogical approaches to teach Heritage Language learners through the creation of resources and to promote research in the field of heritage languages. And the Hispanic/Latino Community, in particular, has made a tremendous contribution to this field, even before its inception. As Guadalupe Valdez noted in 1978, the teaching of Spanish as a Heritage Language stretches as far back as the 1930s, but with a prescriptive orientation that has little in common with currently accepted pedagogical approaches, which are now oriented towards expanding learners command of registers and addressing their social-effective needs. It was Spanish language instructors, though, such as Valdez, who questioned and challenged these old paradigms, which failed to develop general language proficiency and contributed to students' linguistic insecurities with pedagogies that were stigmatizing and which promoted cultural and linguistic stereotypes. In response to these antiquated notions, these language educators were some of the first to create textbooks that explored issues of access and inclusion, and which sought to help Latino students to explore their identity through local communities of Spanish speakers. And those pedagogical resources were spurred by the growing presence of bilingual Latinos in Spanish classes, and a concern about the shortage of teachers with training and experience in teaching for this student population. Pedagogical resources and teaching methods had to be adapted to be inclusive of students home language and cultures, and to set forth goals for Spanish heritage language instruction, such as language maintenance, reacquisition of formal registers, the transfer of literacy skills from English to Spanish, and the expansion of the bilingual range. These efforts were further supported by organizations, such as (ACTFFL?)which established a special interest group on Spanish for native speakers to facilitate the sharing of information among members. The National Foreign Language Center and the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portugese that launched project REACH (Recursos para la Ensenanza y el Aprendizaje de las Culturas Hispanas), while the Center of Applied Linguistics and UCLA conducted a Summer Institute for Teachers of Spanish for native speakers that was funded by the National Endowment for Humanities. Thus, this term "heritage language" could be viewed within the context of the United States, as a most recent evolution of various names that have pedagogical shifts in Spanish language instruction. From Spanish for native speakers, to Spanish for bilinguals, to the now commonly accepted Spanish as a heritage language. And central to this field are the learners themselves, who have also gone by different labels, such as native speakers, quasi-native speakers, home-background speakers, bilinguals, and most recently, heritage language learners. The question to be asked now is, how has the field of Spanish as a heritage language helped its learners. Which is why we have assembled this panel to discuss how we can improve Spanish language education for Latino students. And now I would like to introduce Dr. Maria Carrera, the NHLRC director of pedagogy and professor of Spanish at the California State University, Long Beach, who will be moderating our panel today.
[Maria] Thank you, Arturo. I'm delighted - and honored - to be here moderating this panel with my wonderful colleagues. As you reminded us, the field of Heritage Language, uh, teaching and learning stands on shoulders of giants in the area of Spanish researchers and practitioners. And so continuing with this tradition, in this panel, we have brought together some leaders in Spanish as a heritage language to share their perspectives on where the field stands today, our strengths - and weaknesses- and to share their vision as to where we can go next, what are the most productive pathways for future growth. They represent different instructional contexts and levels, as well as backgrounds - which is great, cuz together, we can gain a more comprehensive view of our field. And so, let me introduce you to our wonderful panelists. I will do so in alphabetical order. Starting with Krystal Kurtz. She is a full-time high school Spanish teacher, lover of languages, and - I love this - taco enthusiast. Me, too. She graduated from Texas State University in 2016 with a Bachelors degree in Spanish and English, and from the University of Texas in San Antonio in 2019 with a Masters degree in teaching English as a second language. And that's an important perspective for us, because so many of our heritage language speakers are also speakers of English as a second language. She's vice president of the Texas Language Education Research Conference, and participated in the 2020 NHLRC Heritage Language Teacher Workshop, which was fully online. And she was one of our STAR participants. [pause] Next is Alejandro Lee. He's a professor of Spanish at Santa Monica Community College in beautiful Santa Monica, California. He has been with NHLRC for many, many years - I was trying to count and lost track of them. Um [pause] doing many things, but in particular, serving as a summer faculty mentor at our yearly STARTALK Teacher Workshop. He's a community college representative for the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portugese, and the chair of the College Boards ACTFL Spanish Test Development Committee. He has received many awards - you can read about them, and you can read about all other panelists online. We'll be posting their full bios with this presentation. But, I want to point out that - just this Summer - he, with some colleagues, published "Entrada Libre", a Spanish manual, which is an open educational resource funded by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. Our next participant is Jazmin Mier. She's a world languages instructional coordinator at Dallas Independent School District. One of her reponsibilities is to provide instructional support to nearly 200 teachers, and to 50 heritage language teachers. So, this connects us to the other languages, right? What happens in Spanish doesn't stay in Spanish, but has far repercussions to other languages. Jazmin has created and implemented new material for heritage speakers classes. She's working to increase the Spanish Heritage Program in the district, and hopes to add more heritage language classes in languages such as Vietnamese, Arabic, French, and Urdu. [pause] Diego Pascual y Cabo is assistant professor of Hispanic Linguistics and director of the Spanish Heritage Language Program at the University of Florida. He has researched it all, has an extensive publication record covering formal linguistics, socio-effective issues, as well as pedagogical approaches. I would recommend, in particular, his 2016 edited book (Approxomocciones el espanol como lengua de herencia??). It's a must read for researchers and practitioners. And, in 2021, with Julio Torres, they're publishing another fabulous book on Spanish as a heritage language. He founded the symposium on Spanish as a heritage language, which has since become an annual, must-go-to event in the profession. And in 2019 he founded the Spanish Heritage Language Journal. [pause] And last, but certainly not least, is Alegria - Dr. Alegria Ribadeniera, who is a director of world languages program, a full professor of Spanish at Colorado State University. She researches and presents on languages of instruction, assessment, and program director, and she has also been with the NHLRC for a long time. She's a lead instructor and faculty member of our STARTALK Summer workshop, and she has had an amazing year. She's the recipient of several teaching awards. Um [pause] uh the 2020 Colorado Excellence in Teaching Award, and also the 2020 Southwest Post-Secondary Excellence in Teaching Award from the Southwest Conference on language teaching. And from us, in 2017, she received the Olga E. Kagan Award for advancing heritage language education in institutions of learning. So, welcome all of you. [pause] As you all know, I have given you a few questions to guide our discussion, but my hope is that, as we go back and forth, we can well go beyond those questions. And so, I want to start with the first question [pause]: in your opinion, what are some of the most important advancements that have been made in Spanish as a heritage language, teaching, and learning in your respected areas of work and institutional settings? [long pause]
[Maria] Who wants to start?
[Krystal] Um, I will.
[Maria] Okay, Jazmine. Thank you.
[another voice] Krystal.
[Maria] Oh, Krystal! I'm sorry! [laughter]
[Krystal] Yeah, um, I was just thinking about the rise in bilingual dual-language and immersion programs at the lower levels. So, that's something that really helps the students...um... to build on their languages skills that they already have and maintain that language - because if there's a gap between when they go to school and when they just get thrown completely into English, and then when I see them in the 9th or 10th grade...um, they're gonna have much less of a chance of being successful and of being able to connect or reconnect with their heritage language and their cultural roots, than they would have, um, if they had gone through one of these programs at the lower level to kind of continue this unbroken line of education in that language. Um, so that's something that I've seen is really helpful, um especially in San Antonio. I'm in San Antonio, Texas, um and those programs are on the up-and-up, constantly they're adding more to the elementary schools, um and they even have - I believe - one or two high schools now that the dual language goes all the way, um, through the entire K through 12. So, I think that has been extremely helpful in helping those students maintain, um and improve their heritage language skills.
[Maria] And Krystal, I have read that dual language programs have become very popular, not just with Latino students, but also with the mainstream population. So that also favors the study of language and an awareness of the presence of Spanish and other languages in our society.
[Krystal] Yes, I actually have several students in my classes who are L-2 learners of the language, but have gone through, um, these programs, and I, um, sometimes cannot tell [laughs] whether they are heritage learners...um, or even sometimes native speakers of the language because they started so young, they exhibit many of the same characteristics that a heritage learner would, um, so I receive them in my classroom, and just based solely on their skills, um I sometimes end up grouping them into that category in my mind before I find out that, um, that they're L-2 learners, but who have received and education in the language from a young age, which I think is really promising, um because it's showing that... if you start young - and, again, maintain that education, um, continue with it throughout, then it is gonna have benefits in the long run for these students - all of them that participate in the program, not just the heritage language learners.
[Maria] That's impressive, what you're saying. It speaks to the success of these programs. And since we're talking about dual language schools, I think we should go to Jazmine and - and hear what you have to say.
[Jazmin] Yeah,exactly. And to expand about Krystal's conversation and uh, and uh, uh... things about dual language, actually, I recently had the experience of...um... covering a class for a teacher that was out for an entire month - and this was in middle school. And I had a couple of dual language, even though they're not in a dual language school, uh, but they told me "Miss, I'm in a - I was a dual language student, but I'm no longer in the program." But you can not really tell, so I'm - I was very impressed to see those students that - that they do not have that Spanish background - they're still immersed into Spanish because of everything, all the classes that they received in that dual language program in, um, in, back in elementary, not in middle school anymore. But, yeah, it was very impressive - and the fact that I'm in Dallas - I know Krystal is in San Antonio. I mean they can be immersed into the, the Spanish speaking community here. I mean, that's one of the blessings that we have. We are surrounded by Spanish speakers, uh, so that's a positive side for them, and it was very helpful. Uh, well one for the advantage I can think of um, um in my institution in Dallas ISD um [pause] students now that are heritage speakers, they receive some kind of recognition when they enter the program. They do not go directly to...uh.. and I'm going to call it "regular" Spanish 1 and Spanish 2, they rather go to heritage speaker classes, and we have fundamentals and advanced, which is kind of a little 2 and 3. But, they get recognition, they get rank points as well, so it's kind of a credit for them that so when they go in to this level 2, and they complete that heritage class, they receive credit for the lower levels. So, it's kind of a- a- it's acknowledging that here, this is your credit, this is prize, your recognition. We value, uh, knowing that you have that language knowledge, your Spanish, we're giving you some roots, to kind of help them throughout, you know, their high school...um...their high school schooling and the classes they're taking right now. So, we do have one of - I mean our classes have increased, uh, he-here in Dallas, and uh, and we have a lot of students that want to enroll. They feel very proud of being there, because we are recognizing that, you know, that their language is important. And even they say, "well, I don't really know a lot of it" - we still say, "well, you know what, you can do it!" It doesn't have to be perfect - we're not looking for perfection. It's okay, it's okay. So, uh, so we're very proud of our students.
[Maria] And I would assume, um, Krystal and Jazmine, that Texas has a state Seal of Biliteracy...?
[another voice] Yes.
[Maria] So, if you could talk about that, because that's also a very important recognition.
[Jazmin] Exactly, yeah. So they need to have in Texas - Krystal, and maybe you can help out with this, because sometimes - [laughter]
[Krystal] I'm a little shaky on it. [laughs]
[Jazmin] If they complete four levels of, um, of the same language, they get the Seal of Biliteracy. But in Dallas, a student can actually go and jump in into level three. Once they have proved that level three, they get recognition for levels one and level two. Because, let's you can run a marathon, so we are assuming that you can walk, right? And you get [laughter] So, that's why they're doing that. Even if they go to, uh, to AP, or level four, and they pass that with a score of a... three I believe? They still get the seal of biliteracy - and then they have another track for dual language programs, as well, and uh...or if not, it's a two-plus-two, which is two Spanish - two levels of Spanish, plus two levels of another language. That will make, that will make uh, that will, you know, complete the qualifications for a seal of biliteracy.
[Maria] Right. Which is an official recognition by the state, widely accepted, and which places you at a specific ACTFL level, um... and so that is a real recognition.
[Jazmin] Exactly. Yeah, in just one school we have 75 students receiving the seal of biliteracy - just one school that, um, that I was aware of, because the teacher called me - and it was actually my former school - but I used to work there, say, "We have 75 students that received Seal of Biliteracy." So, uh, so we're very proud, and, uh, I mean it's a great advantage for them to have some kind of, um, proof on their transcript and diploma that "this is what I can do" and "this is what...uh...what my level of Spanish is". And it's right there on their diploma, so it's a great...uh... program that they have.
[Maria] Yeah. Thank you. Alright, so from K through 12, let's go to community colleges, where so many Latino students study Spanish. So, Alejandro. What are some of our greatest achievements there, or where do you see the field going there?
[Alejandro] Okay, um, so most of, if not all the community colleges in California are Hispanic-serving institutions, which means that, uh, at Santa Monica College, we have about 40 percent Latino students, mostly first-generation college students. So, one of the uh, big advancements I think very recently, is that faculty are collaborating, um, in the creation of open educational resources, which uh, it's very important for us because it addresses our student needs - uh, it's an equity issue. Uh, textbooks tend to cost 100-200 dollars, something that, um, it's pretty steep for most of our students. Another big advancement that I see among the colleagues that I speak with, at least in the revamping about the curriculum - I was talking to my colleagues at East Los Angeles College, and uh, they mentioned that they are including project-based learning, this spot-cleaning, grammar approaches that Maria has been teaching, um, at teachers workshop, and of course, something that has worked very well for us is the identity-infused curriculum. So that, we constantly are looking for materials, uh related to the Latino experience, to teach uh, not only the culture, but grammar and literacy. Um, something very important I think community colleges, um, and I think in general, is that we must address the socio-effective needs of our students, and so collaboration with, uh, different programs, um, is essential, in, in the community college. So, something I noticed - I mean, for the advancements in general - I'm deighted to see more journals and conferences that cater to Spanish as a heritage language. I - I try to attend all of them, but what I notice is that there is very little research for community college - uh, for Spanish in the community colleges, and, uh, which makes no sense, because we send, you know, a lot of, you know, our Latino student students to - to - to universities, four-year universities. And, it's mostly - the research is mostly K-12, or university, at the university level. But then, you know, it's like, what happened to us, right? So.
[Maria] Right. Very good point. So many Latinos attend, uh, community colleges. And so, now let's move to, um, colleges, four-year colleges, and, um [pause] there's several of you here, so I invite you all to take turns speaking, speak as you wish.
[Alegria] Well, since we're, since we're going from K-12 to community, uh, I work at a regional comprehensive, and Diego works at big UF - by the way, I'm a gator, Diego, I don't know if you know that [laughter] But, uh, very, very proud of being a gator. Um, so maybe we should go from the very small to the larger universities. So I'll uh, I'll talk here because, uh, because I think I'm in between. I'm between the community college and the large, uh, research one university in the needs of the students and the resources that we have. Uh, I would echo a lot of the things that Alejandro said. Um, including that-that move to proficiency-based learning versus the grammar micro-approach, um, has really made a big difference. Um, but I would back up a little bit, and it sort of echos what Jazmine said earlier, and its just recognizing they exist...um... there was a time, and you know, and for us it might be hard to even imagine, but there was a time, where nobody even had a name for these students who "spoke funny", "they kind of talk but they don't"- you know, they had like all these things, and all of a sudden, once we had a name, and recognized them, I think that was probably the biggest step that we could take, because then we could address a lot of their needs. But, uh, and one of them was, of course, stopping with the grammar so much [laughs] and going to what can you do with the language and where can we grow from here. Um, uh, project-based learning, like Alejandro mentioned as well, uh, was uh, game-changing, I believe - at my university, definitely, definitely. And also, moving to content-based learning. So, getting away from the grammar literature, um paradigm, and moving to, uh, other content. Uh, for those of you who are ACTFL proficiency guideline fans, you know, uh, a speaker has to be able to move across contexts and content, and so talking only about literacture is not going to do it. Plus, um, as much as I love literature - by the way, my Ph.D. was in literature - um, uh, I recognize that my students, they don't want to read Don Quixote - unless it's the funny one, you know, the comic one. Um, they don't - and - and - what- where I think they need to have knowledge of it, um... if it doesn't spark their interest, if it's not , uh, part of their choice and what gets them excited, it's going to hinder their language development, or is not going to make them want to try - and maybe after they get a little better, maybe they will want to read Don Quixote or something else, right? So, uh, going to classes about - uh that I think are just as valid, you know, health and well-being in the Spanish speaking world, uh, stories of migration in the Spanish speaking-world, representations of music, FOOD, food and society, um, and all of a sudden, these- these are topics are topics that are relevant to the students lives, and that has brought them into the programs. So um, I think that those are really, really important things to be looking at that have made a difference - at least at my institution. Uh, I don't want to leave anyone with the impression that I don't love literature or Don Quixote [laughter] in any way, you know? But, uh, just really expanding that curriculum to include other things that might interest the students, um, has really made a difference, I believe. Uh, later on, when we talk about, uh, you know, what's in the future, um I do want to, uh, echo Alejandro with the open educational resources. So, I'll just end this section by open educational practices. And that is definitely the new thing going on at my university. Um, for those of you who do project-based learning, you know a public product is the end, uh, goal there - uh, but then what happens to that public product? For me, doing open educational practices where my students can put out their work into the world in every form imaginable: videos, uh, websites, etc, gives them a voice, and makes them see that their stories matter. That when it - that the narrative can be enriched, the main narrative can be enriched by their stories as well, and they can enter this main narrative and give new, um, new perspectives to the stories we've been hearing over and over and over again. As an example, the stories of migration - my students just finished writing, that now are floating around the web. Um, these are stories of their parents, their friends, themselves - and they have just contributed to that amount of knowledge of what is the migration experience - from their perspective. So, empowering them to have a voice in a larger, uh, with a larger audience in a larger context, I think, um, is just a fantastic way to let them know that they matter - and that their stories matter. And so, uh, I think that's where we are going more and more, and it's just, uh, it's a very exciting future from what I can see.
[Maria] And I want to connect what you just said about empowering students by projecting their voices beyond the classroom. I want to connect that with what Alejandro was talking about with textbooks. It seems that a - a promising way forward is to have our students contribute to the textbooks. You know, excellent models of students' work, so that we're not asking our students to copy Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which is overwhelming, of course. But, we can copy good work created by students, and in so doing, also, raise their profile and highlight just how much they can do with the language.
[Alegria] And that they have contributions to make, right?
[Alegria] That is so important.
[Maria] Yeah. [pause] Okay, Diego, it's your turn![laughs]
[Diego] Well, thank you Maria and Arturo for the invitation, it's - it's awesome to be here sharing with you, um, and our ideas, and our experiences. In terms of advances at, eh, big university like Alegria was saying, I think, uh, something I'm very happy about is the fact that, eh, more and more research universities are acknowledging the fact that we need specialists, and we need researchers and teachers at this level, so that we can actually teach classes that normalize heritage - Spanish heritage language to all the students, not just heritage speakers, but also 2nd language learners. Um, and at the same time, that we train future teachers, so that they actually also see, um, and understand the best practices in the field. It seems to me that, eh, many high school teachers, and even college eh, professors, that teach Spanish as a heritage language have found these calling later on. They didn't receice specific training on it, they didn't take classes on theory, they didn't take classes on methods, but nowadays, um, there are several universities in the country that do offer these classes, and if you look at the job list, uh, at the college level, um their requests for instructors who have this knowledge have increased exponentially. So, the fact that there's a demand for these kinds of instructors - I think is a huge advancement, and it will have an impact in the future in 10, 20 years for sure.
[Maria] Excellent. Um, and later on, I want you to talk about some of the, uh, chapters in your upcoming book with Julio, because also those are excellent ideas as to how to move the field forward. But, I asked you about where we stand right now. Thank you. And so, let's move to where we stand to what our priorities are moving ahead, and some of the challenges. You've all - you have all mentioned some challenges already, uh, but I'll let you address them more specifically now. Who wants to start this? Diego?
[Maria] Did I see a... [laughs]
[Diego] Um... so in my mind, eh, and this is a conversation that I've been having with some of our colleagues in the field, um - especially Julio Torres and my very good friend Amian Vergara - to me, one of the biggest challenge, eh, right now is we need to, um, open our round of action within our departments. Um, it's not enough that we create heritage friendly courses, uh, or that we have a heritage friendly program, but that we need to, uh, create heritage friendly requirements and heritage friendly institutions so that our students feel like they belong, our students feel like they can participate in class - not only when they're in our heritage classes, but when they are also in regular Spanish classes or in the institution in general. I think that by providing panels, workshops, and so on, we're doing our part, but also we need to increase - and this is gonna agree with the advances - we need to continue to increase the classes that we offer at the graduate level, so that the future generations don't repeat the cycle that we are in. So, I would say that that's the main challenge and the main priority for me.
[Maria] And in terms of creating heritage-friendly programs, I like that idea. Um, can you give us some ideas? And I will ask everybody else if you can weigh in on that, because I think it's a very important contribution you just made.
[Diego] Yes, uh, and it's not just my contribution, again -
[Diego] - I wanna give credit to some of my colleagues, because the only thing - eh, we've been talking about this for a while. In my particular instituion, and the way I approach this is by, eh, for instance, when I train future instructors in the heritage language program, I always request them to also teach in the L-2 program at the same time. So, they teach one class in the heritage program, one class in the L-2 program, so that they can apply their principles and the philosophies that we use in the heritage language teaching to the mixed classes, because we know there are going to be some heritage speakers that are going to fall through the cracks and still place - for whatever reason - still place in the L-2 program. And even if they're in the L-2 program, that doesn't mean they don't deserve our services, um, so that's why I'm requesting them to teach in the L-2 program. And at the same time, I think that by these training instructors teaching in the L-2 program, we also normalize bilingual practices among the L-2 speakers. So, it's not that we are teaching something completely different, to each- to each program. So that would be one way. I also offer workshops at the end of the month. I'm teaching a few workshops on what is a heritage speaker and understanding a heritage speaker, and hopefully my colleagues and my students and some of students that are not in my term, will attend so that we can better serve our students. Um -
[Diego] - does that answer your question?
[Maria] Yes! Excellent. I like this idea of 'normalizing bilingual practices'. Love it. And Alegria, I know you have also talked about, uh, heritage language friendly programs in universities. What are your ideas on that?
[Alegria] Well, as I was talking before, eh, for a long time at my university - which is a hispanic serving institution - we had no name for these students, right? So, eh [pause] the first step to being friendly [laughs] is knowing who you're friendly with, I suppose. Um, but one of the things that we do at my university that, um, I really am thankful for the administration for allowing us to do this, is we place our students higher - just like you were talking earlier, Jazmine, um, about placing them higher for the AP - we do that. And, um, then they can receive the prior credits. You know, that's 12 credits that, all of a sudden, um, they - they just have because we're recognizing that they're bringing something valuable already, you know? So um [pause] I would call that heritage friendly. I am always afriad about some of the hispanic serving institutions that they, um, that they are hispanic enrolling, but not hispanic serving insitutions, and that get's very tricky. Some of challenges I think that we have is, uh, recruitement and retention. Uh, maybe we're telling them, "We're a hispanic serving institution, come on, come on, come on!", but how are we retaining them? What are we doing for them to really want to stay with us - to feel recognized, to feel seen, to feel appreciated, uh, to feel valued. Um, I think that's definitely something that we need to look at in the future as a challenge - uh, the rentention portion of it. Uh, the cost.The cost is something that I think we're all struggling with in higher education now, and it's becoming even more obvious with the pandemic. Uh, the cost is astronomical. I sit on this committee for scholarships, and I was looking at some of the debt that some of my heritage students have, and I could not believe the amount of debt they have amassed. I mean, our scholarship could never even begin to help them. So, um, that can be incredibly disheartening - the cost of, of even the textbooks, right. So definitely in the future, more open educational resources - across contexts, across content is something I would like to see - and more connections and more mentorships. That would go back to what Diego was saying, you know, of hispanic serving versus hispanic enrolling. Uh, making those, those connections in mentorships with the students, and not only training the hispanic teachers to serve them. This drives me crazy - it's, it's like Hispanic Heritage Month. "It's Hispanic Heritage Month! Hispanic teachers! Come and do - do your song and dance for Hispanic Heritage Month! Do a panel on what does it mean to be Hispanic!" And I want a panel about "What does it mean to teach at a hispanic serving institution" - people other than hispanic teachers. I want to hear your perspectives. How are you connecting to, to, to our hispanic students? So, that whole sense of connection, um, and mentorship - I think it's more than, more than needed now - especially with our anti-immigrant sentiments, and that are going on in our country right now. Um [pause] that this homogenizing force that is coming, um, that is feeling very oppresive. That, if you are the other, there's no place for you. Um [pause] I think we are - we really need to be incredibly vigilant about this, and that is where, um, like Diego was saying, teacher training comes in. And I'm not talking only about teaching-training the people who only want to teach Spanish [laughs]. I'm talking about teacher training on all the teachers - across fields, across disciplines. Um - everybody needs to be aware of who our students are - um, you know, if they were bilingual, that they actually have a gift! [laughs] It's not a hinderance - they have super brains! Eh- so, so this is [pause] the teacher-training across needs to - needs to be there. So, those are, you know, just some of my ideas.
[Maria] Uh - I [pause] To add to what you're saying, I just read an article - can you guys hear me?
[Maria] Oh! I just read an article, um, about the fact that, you know, enrollments are declining in colleges across the United States, except for one population - Latinos. So, it behooves institutions to think about how to attract, reprove - as Alegria was saying - , and retain Latino students, because it's our future. The future of institutions is at stake, even if it's not about serving our students better, it is about institutions, you know, maintaining vital institutions, keeping enrollments up. [Pause] Okay, and I see we are going in reverse order, so let's stick to that [laughs]. Um, so, Alejandro - you're next.
[Alejandro] Okay. So, one or two top priorities for my particular setting - um, we don't have a placement exam - and it's also open enrollment. So, this entails, um, many issues, of, um, you know, students enrolling in Spanish 1 and then they get bored, they don't do well, they complain...um, so, one thing that I would like to see, is to find a way to create a placement exam, or, or...um, guide them, you know, through the, to the correct classes.
[Maria] Alejandro - uh, Alejandro, can I interrupt you for a second?
[Maria] How do you see this placement exam being developed - specific to your institution, or would you like something generalized? Uh, how would - how would you go about doing this?
[Alejandro] Well, I think it cannot be generalized, because each community college is different - and so, for example, I, from, you know, talking with my colleagues in East LA College, I think that their level is a little bit higher than the ones that I - I get a mix. So I believe that at the beginning we would have to do an official placement exam of some sorts. But also, what has worked very well, is that we've been working with specific counselors in the Latino Center and the Black Allegiance. So, that help us a lot, but it was done through my [pause] knocking on the doors and participating in their events...um, um, and so that's, that's how I've been, you know, trying to recruit. The other thing that we have to do - that we do and we have to do it every semester - is to visit the Spanish 1 classes or ask the professors in those classes to - please - you know, let students know there is another class, um, you know, for heritage speakers. But, again, uh [pause] we have to educate everyone on what is a heritage speaker or learner, right? So, the vocabulary, it's - it's very new to them. But I really like what, um, Alegria said about, um, eh, or was it Diego, the sense - Diego- the sense of belonging. So, it's extremely important for us, for the faculty, to - to create a sense of belonging, a sense of community, which, uh, it's somewhat difficult in a community college because they only come once a week or twice a week, and then they go back to work. So, it's not like a residential college in - at the four-year universities where we eat together, we do activities, you know, all of that. Um, for me, I also, um, noticed that it's extremely important to create a sense of achievement. Um, so a sense of achievement, apply for scholarships, getting them - letting other students know that it is possible. I just brought, uh, a former student who just graduated from Columbia University, and he just inspired them tremendously, because he, um, never thought about applying to, to, to an Ivy League, and he also thought that his GPA was an issue, and, uh, he was not a traditional student. He was 30-something when he applied. So, um, I also brought in, um, a colleague from Washington State, who - a professor of education - who was undocumented in Los Angeles, and she went to Pasadena City College, then to Cal State, and then she was recruited to, to continue with a Ph.D. And so, my students could really relate to her, because of so many intersectionalities. Um, um, so that's my recuitment and retention. I also recruit my students to become tutors of Spanish. So that's, again, finding them jobs on campus, because according to research, one of the, um, things that we can do for our students is to get them involved - because students who are involved on campus tend to, um, finish their college, uh, their community college and then transfer. Remember that I only have them for 2 or 3 years, so that's very little time - and probably for only one semester. And after that, I don't see them again. So.
[Maria] So I know you do a lot of mentoring, and that is what comes across in, in what you're saying. The importance of, not just confining our contributions to what we do in the classroom, but what we do outside the classroom - and beyond Spanish. Because a lot of what we do is getting them to move forward with their plans, uh, beyond the community college. Applying to other colleges, getting jobs, etc. Considering their future. So, yes.
[Alejandro] Right. So the other thing that I'm very surprised that many of my students don't know, is, you know, we have the undocumented students, the, the closeted students that don't know that we have resources. They can talk to us, they don't know that if their families earn less than $80,000 a year, there is the Blue and Gold Scholarship opportunity at the UCs, where the University of California pays for ... uh, I think that is, the entire tuition, right? But also, they - they don't know that they could and should apply to private universities, even though private universities are very expensive, they also offer better financial aid if they really want you. So, uh, if, you know, nobody has really talked to them about expanding the application to other places, not just your Cal State - nothing wrong with the Cal State, but, you know, they - the entire country would love to have my students.
[Maria] Right. And, you know, and this connects to, uh, Diego's terminology of heritage friendly programs in universitites - that it's not just about teaching, but it's all these other activities we do, uh, outside of the classroom: mentoring, giving them information about what lies ahead, what opportunities present themselves, etc. It makes our task much more ambitious, but in a sense, much more fullfilling, right? Let's move to Krystal!
[Krystal] Okay. I've had so many different thoughts during this whole thing, but, um, one of the things that, um, was really standing out to me was the discussion about making the whole department or the whole area heritage, um, language-learner friendly. And I think, um, sometimes - I don't know if this is the case at the college level as well, but in the high school, it's more of a grassroot sort of effort. So if I want, um, that to happen within my school specifically, like I'm gonna have to talk to other teachers about it - I am going to have to go my admin, and like, plead my case for "we need this course" or "we need these resources", um, or even to what you were speaking, um, Alejandro? Was speaking about right now - um, that you, um, the students don't know about the scholarship access and things like that. I need to go talk to the college counselor and say, "Have you actually given these resources?" or "Have you talked to the students about this?" And so, I think in doing that, it seems like this huge effort, but it's also - I'm trying to create other advocates. So, if I can show the other teachers, the admin, that with this extra help, or these extra resources, this time that I've invested in these students is gonna pay off in their long-term success, then I have created another person who is gonna do the same thing and be in the court for that student and be fighting for them to be successful, instead of just me running around all the time, trying to hold the weight of the world on, on our shoulders, right?
[Maria] And that's a common problem that teachers face. They feel like they're working alone, and they're carrying the weight of this thing on their own. Um, Diego! Yes, are you raising your hand?
[Diego] Uh, yeah, Krystal, thank you for bringing that up, and [pause] I hope that that's what came across, uh, when I also..eh, was talking about it earlier, because one person alone can definitely not do this - you can start it, but you cannot do it all. Um, I [pause] your comment just reminded me of my previous experiences at Texas Tech University - where I used to work just a few years ago - and I was very fortunate to...to have a wonderful colleague there who is now at Arizona State, uh Marta Tessedor. She was the Heritage Language Program Director there, and she was the second language program director, uh, at Texas Tech. And she recognized, not only, the needs of our students, but also where we were living, right? Uh, Texas - large, Spanish-speaking county, city [pause] um, and university. So she was - she and I worked to develop, or redevelop, the L-2 program, so that it would, eh, mimic more of what we were doing in the heritage language program. So, in the L-2 classes, they were, eh, not eh - so the culture section, for instance - they were not really learning about Argentina or Mexico, but they were learning about the Spanish speaking community in [???], in Texas, in the U.S. And, and we did a study on it, and we showed that the motivation of all students, heritage and L-2 students, increased for wanting to learn and continue to be connected to the language. So, uh, absolutely, you just need to find, em - what's the word? - um -
[Diego] What's that?
[Maria] Yeah, Yeah. Thank you! Did you want to add something else, Krystal?
[Krystal] Yeah, um, I was just gonna say that I think that comes back to what I think Alegria was saying, about having the students - or the student population drive the curriculum, um, and allowing them to share their personal stories, and those kind of things. So, that would be something neat to kind of share those projects back and forth between -
[Krystal] the two courses, like the L-2 and the Spanish heritage language course to learn about each other's backgrounds. Of course, I'm usually having mixed, so they're all [laughs] in the same course, so they can do that very easily. Um [pause] but, I've noticed, too, that - what Alegria was mentioning as well about the, kind of tense environment and sort of "othering" of, um, immigrant populations - for even second, third, fourth generation, um Americans, is [pause] is something that the students in the classroom are, um, struggling to understand, and um, kind of, wrap their minds around everyday. Um, and so when they see these personal stories, um, or when they see what their community is actually like - as Diego was mentioning - I think it kind of breaks down some of those, um, barriers of hate, or misunderstanding - really is, like a lot of times just ignorance. They don't know about the other population, um, that - that may have been built up there before, and so kind of bringing those students - they're not necessarily going to be best friends, but at least they have a better understanding of like "what is the culture of my classmate?" and "why do they do these things?" or "why do they believe this certain way?", and it goes both ways. Um, I recently had, for Hispanic Heritage Month, I had the students - I don't want to go too much off on a tangent - but I had the students, um, talk about, uh, a Hispanic person, or a Latino person that they admired, right? It could be somebody that they know, someone famous - anyone, right? And they got in these small groups, and they were talking. In one group, I had two girls that had chosen AOC, and one boy that had chosen Ted Cruz. So, they had this discussion [laughs] about these, um, Latino people that they admired, um, and - but it was very civil, and they, they gained - in my opinion- so much better of an understanding, and um... just being civil and respectful of each other's opinions and backgrounds, um, than they would have if I had said, "Okay, now we're all gonna talk about Cesar Chavez", right? Like, um [pause] that wasn't what was important to them. They picked people that were important to them.
[Maria] Excellent! That's a great example you just gave. Thank you. Aannnd.... Jazmine!
[Jazmin] Okay. So, tying in everything this with the previous colleagues here, uh, one of the priorities that I have, it's, um, teacher training, like Diego was saying, and Alegria was saying. Um [pause] I have been in my department for the past 6 years, and um, sometimes I'm surprised that many of our heritage teachers - their expectations are WAY too high. And that, really, it's a problem, because that creates a problem with students - because here is the teacher thinking that they are going to teach... I don't know, uh, a novel, and then we have heritage speakers in a level 2 class that, you know - they're barely able to read a complete article - newspaper article. So, expectations sometimes are very high, even for non-spanish speakers, teachers that teach regular Spanish - their expectations are way high. And it's because, you know, we need to train, we need to have those teachers that have the mixed classes where we have heritage and non-heritage, uh, to learn about differentiation, and I know it ties to the problem of having,um, you know, the mixed classes, that they... you know, some schools - they only have one teacher. So, I mean, as a result, we're going to have classes with that mix of students - and teachers, sometimes, they have their hands tied. They cannot, you know, say, "Well, I have to have five heritage and, you know, two regular classes". And it - it's part of the beaucracy [laughs] I guess. On scheduling as well, because of course, you know, the school districts, they um, they concentrate in the core classes, uh, sadly. And, you know, our heritage - that they go to school where they don't have the opportunity to enroll, or talk, or to have a heritage teacher, then they're put back into a regular classroom. And if a teacher is not proficient, or doesn't have that skill to differentiate - that poor student, that heritage student, is bored to death. Because [pause] this is how I tell the counselors- in Texas, the counselors are the ones that work with the schedule - I say, "How will you feel, if I - if you want to take an English class, and you will enroll in a class where you're learning numbers and colors?" - and you have all these students with all that knowledge - and they're just bored to death. Uh, Uh, and it's part of [pause] I hate to say it - educating counselors and administrators and school leadership that you're doing a disservice to our students. So we're [pause] our department - um, personal, it's something very personal - we are advocating for our heritage. And I know it's difficult, and sometimes it's not possible, but at least we can provide some kind of training to those teachers so they can differentiate, uh, between the heritage and non-heritage. So that's, that's the - my big priority for me is to offer that, and it goes back to Diego and Krystal and Alegria talking about all of this.
[Maria] Exactly, and this has been such a coherent [laughs] answer you've all given, that HL teaching is about a lot more than HL teaching. It's about taking it outside the classroom, I heard you say. It's about taking it to OTHER instructors, administrators, um, whatever...policymakers, where they see the importance of teaching, uh, not just Spanish, right? Moving beyond, this is just about Spanish, but it's about the social and academic development of our largest population of students in many schools. Excellent. Yes, Alegria.
[Alegria] Um, uh, I wanted to add that when we talk about teacher-training, or, uh, colleague-training - let's call it that one because the counselors, uh, are our colleagues as well - um, sometimes it can seem very overwhelming because you think, "Oh, they need to take a class, a whole, you know, semester, a whole Ph.D on this!" [laughs] you know, but, um, we have to be strategic, and you can go very, very, very tiny, especially with the technologies that we have, and I'll give you just three little examples. The first one is, um, I invited myself to the academic coaches meeting. They have, um, a weekly meeting, and I said, "Can I come visit with all of you?" And I'm sitting across the table - I brought Ecuadorian chocolate. NOBODY forgets you if you give them chocolate, right? And then I gave them just this little tiny QR code to go in and watch a little video, um and, just a one-pager resource sheet so...just begin to understand what I'm talking about. And if they don't want to talk to the kids, then they can put the QR code, my video comes up, and I talk to the kids and tell them why they want to be there, right? So, like, little, like little tiny things. And then, in the larger community, um, I love what Diego was talking about, how, uh, when you have the groups mixed together, em, and uh, em Krystal also mentioned it, that they have a chance to learn from each other - and Diego, I mean, I had written it here, just so you know I'm not lying, because that's exactly, uh [pause] mixed classes can be a challenge, but mixed classes can be a blesssing, too, 'cuz the kids who are L-2s have a chance to actually learn the real culture of the real Spanish they're gonna be speaking, because, you know [laughs] maybe they'll go on a faraway land at some point, but they won't. So, in my classes, I do linguistics light. I'm not talking about reading the tough linguistics articles - though they're beautiful, I love to read them. But, you know, they can't. So, actually this year, I put myself the challenge of writing one - pagers [pause] one-pagers of the most important and easy to understand language, of the most important concepts for my students to read, in Spanish. So, you know, they're growing their language skills by reading this - but it's stuff that's also going to leave a mark on how they are gonna approach their fellow, their fellow classsmates who are living through these things, you know? Um, so, uh, the education doesn't have to be big education or big training. It can be little trainings - and Diego wanted to add something and I can't wait to -
[Diego] um -
[Maria] I know that - give me one second. I just wanna add that these one-pager, um, things that you're preparing - it'd be great to have them an open resource so that the rest of us can use them. So, think about that [laughter].
[Alegria] They are in my new little [???] that I am creating, that is Language and Society: Linguistics Light. If my linguist friends read it they are going to think "[sigh] how could she simplify this?" Like, "this is a pecado". But, you know, these kids are not going to take a big linguistitcs class. So, I figured this is the entry way and maybe I'll inspire some of them to go further. So, I will make sure I share that - it's all in espanol, but, you know.
[Deigo] Yes. I wanted to say something, um, with regards to what Alegria was talking about, and it's something, Maria, that you, that you published I think in 2007. Uh [pause] you know I think we're doing a wonderful job in our spanish heritage language classes and in our programs. Uh, but I think [pause] looking to the future, uh, it cannot be just two programs differentiated. Uh, it's not - it's not a good system. It's not a good system because we are teaching different things to our two different populations. So, looking forward, we need - ALL classes should be like heritage speaker classes. The, the future - so, if what we are doing in our heritage classes is, um, you know, is expanded by lingual range, um, social justice, em, understanding who we are - those are goals that all Spanish classes should have, right? So not just our heritage speakers - so our L-2'ers wil benefit from that, and we'll benefit from communicating and coexisting within the same class. So, even though right now, we are where we are, I think moving forward, um, we should be - we should be together. Um, I mean, in two - 2050, maybe. [laughter]
[Alegria] Well, I would have to add to that, that my L-2s are the happiest ones doing the project-based approach. They LOVE it, and they excell, you know - and it's all about scaffolding. I know people get really scared and go like, "you want your stu- you can't have your students write this or create this website, or create this ___", you know? And I keep thinking, "But I do it!" Because if you got all your differentiation in there, you got all your scaffolding - they can do it if you give them the resources ,eh, and the support. And they can be L-2s, they can be HLs, and I find that their proficiency grows whether they're L-2s or HLs - and they LOVE IT! I mean, who wants to be conjugating verbs all day anyways, right? Uh, Uh, totally out of context, I love when my L-2s start going, "a, amos, a", and I'm like, "What are you doing? What are you doing?" And they're doing just the verb endings - not even the whole verb! You know, and I'm thinking, "My goodness. How is this helpful to you?" Whereas when we're doing a lot of the things that we're doing in our heritage classes with the L-2s, they flourish as well, you know. So, it's wonderful. I agree with Diego, one hundred percent.
[Maria] Absolutely. Absolutely - and the HL can help the L-2 learners and vice-versa! So they can together better produce a, uh, product or project at the end. Diego moved us to the future, right? So, we started out this panel talking about the past - the beginnings of the field - then we moved to the present, and now, it's fitting that as we come to the end of the panel, we talk about the future. And here I'd like to give you the opportunity to just think out loud - it doesn't have to be neat or attainable, necessarily, but where would you like to see the field go? What's next? [Pause] That's a hard one.
[Diego] If I may repeat myself, I think next would be, em, language requirements in which all students...um... receive education that will benefit the community - and it's not just about the language, but about the speakers and about, uh, the human beings behind the language. I think many of our colleagues focus too much on these verb endings, many of our colleagues focus on too much on subjunctive or indicative, or um... it's not that important, and...and I don't think we can achieve much in just one semester - now what we can achieve in one semester is, eh, we have the opportunity to - to catch their attention. We have the opportunity to make them understand importance of learning languages. We have the opportunity to let them understand that there is space to grow as a speaker, as a person, as a human being, and as a medium of change in this society, um, that right now, you know, in the fire. So I think that the future is bright, um, somebody that I admire very much said that the, um, the challenge of the...what is that? The...the challenge of the education - the future has a Latino face, but also, eh, the biggest problem has a Latino face. Um, Maria, you said that [laughter] in your 2015 book. Um, and I think it's absolutely on point. I think we need to, we need to give them the space, the opportunity - raise them, uh, so that they feel that they belong, and they believe that they belong, and that they can act like they belong. That's, that's my time.
[Maria] I am so moved by those words, Diego! [laughs]
[Diego] They were - they're words.
[Maria] No, no, no, but the way you put it together, uh, I think it's really important - but at the same time, I'm thinking, "That is very ambitious", cuz it will require a restructuring of a whole field of language teaching. But, you know what, it starts out this way, and we make a little progress at a time. [Pause] Who would like to go know next?
[Diego] You know -
[Maria] Yeah, sorry, sorry.
[Diego] Let me, before I - before you move on to somebody else, eh, chapter one of your book, eh, is a required reading in all the classes that I teach.
[Maria] Thank you. [laughs]
[Diego] And it changes, it changes, along with Anzaldua's, eh, [???]. So for me, it's a staple. Um, and those two, those two readings are usually the most impactful to all my students, my HLs and my L-2s. And I do think that by reading and talking about these issues, everybody, eh, we are adding a little bit of, eh, change that we wanna see in society. So, we're, we're working on it. It's ambitious, but we're working on it.
[Maria] Exactly. And, Alejandro!
[Alejandro] Thank you, Diego, for reminding me about the voces. I've read that book, and I wanted to read it very slowly because I didn't want it to finish. I remember, and I wrote Maria. So, now that I, now that I have you Maria, would you, would you give me the copyrights so my students don't have to pay for the first chapter! [laughs]
[Maria] Uh, yes. Yeah. I think at this point -
[Alejandro] [laughing] For the Summer!
[Maria] No, no, no, I will give you a copy of it, absolutely.
[ALejandro] No, because -
[Alajandro] Go ahead.
[Maria] Uh, you know I was gonna say, chapter one is about the school environment, right? Um, but it's also important to talk about the family, and I - maybe some of you, uh, you know, Jazmine and Krystal - because that is also an important component of what we do, uh that our children come from families that are different from, for lack of a better word, "mainstream families", and we have to factor that in. Um, but yes Alejandro, I will give you a copy of it.
[Alejandro] Thank you! [laughs] We were -
[Maria] Thank you.
[Alejandro] - all my students and I would truly appreciate it; but for the future, um, I see more and more collaboration for, you know with colleagues not only from my own department, especially if your department is very small, but um, I'm very fortunate to know a lot of professors at community colleges in Southern California, and we're constantly collaborating, we constantly talking and share, and uh, you know with Alegria, the, um, the Facebook groups, um we're in constant communication. And, um, what I like is that we never feel, I think, that we are competing against each other. Say, "what works for you?", "can you share that?", eh, and we're more than happy to, to do that. So, [??] materials, absolutely essential for academic success. But I also wanted to point out that something that worked well with my students in Washington State, is that, every time they publish something, they got a scholarship, I would, uh - any achievement - I would take pictures, post them on Facebook - at that time, it was Facebook [laughs]. And, um, and then share it with the entire department and university, you know, in writing and also with the families of these students. So, that worked very well, because if I posted it, uh or even wrote to the families explaining why this award was important, or have dinner with them, it really changed, you know, the entire sense of belonging, sense of achievement, um [pause] so that is really meaningful to me. Of course, eh, it's a big challenge because you can't do [laughs] you can't do it with 30 students. But I have about 100 students. So, uh, but you know...that's...what I'd like to say.
[Maria] Okay. Jazmine?
[Jazmin] Okay, so what's next, for, for me? I think, um, that, uh, planning is my next step. Umm, talking about, uh, [pause] our district public schools in Texas. We, um, I think the planning is the key, uh, because not only - it's my department doing the work, but also collarborating with school leadership, with, um, counselors, with principals, with the superintendent, with, um, other distrcits across the state. I'm part of the TALS - Texas Association of Language Supervisors, and we are in continue communication with them about what are you doing to expand our program, or the program for heritage speakers. So, we are in continued collaboration with them, and uh, one of the things that I think is very important is moving to the next step, is collaborating with the community colleges. Uh, here in Dallas [laughs] yes! Here in Dallas we have a program - and I need to tell you about this, this is awesome - we have, actually our students have two ways to earn credit. We have early colleges, where they can, um, they can, they can actually receive an associates before they even graduate from high school. Um, so they go to Spanish classes as well; that's another story because that's out of my power, and in the Dallas community college that's our - but, our students, especially our Hispanic students - 75 percent of the population in Dallas county is Hispanic - so they have an opportunity to receive an associates before they graduate from college. So, uh, that's a great opportunity. And also, we have another one for students that cannot get in an early college - we have a scholarship for every single student that graduates from high school. It's called "Raising Start". They receive free tuition to attend the community college. So, that's what - that's our next step. It's to plan for heritage speaker classes in the Dallas community colleges, because once they go there, that's a little word that we have that they are not enough - maybe there are not even one single heritage speaker classes. So that's, that's our next step. We are working, and I know it's a long way, but we'll get there. But we want them to continue to college, and then from there we can continue with heritage speaker classes. So, hopefully we'll get soon, but that's our next step.
[Maria] Well, and I would add that that's why this conversation is so important, right?
[Maria] We've got so many levels and contexts represented - that's the ONLY way we're gonna all make progress. [pause] Okay...Alegria, yes.
[Alegria] Oh, eh, I wanted to tie with, eh, what Jazmin was saying, because I - and what you just said - it really [pause] it's so holistic. My vision for all this is so holistic. So, you know, Diego is training those future teachers right now, um, and they're going out there, so you know, they are ready - the army is out there. I mean, it used to be that there weren't many, right? And I mean you are now graduating. There's all these journals, there's all these symposiums, there's all these webinars. And so, people...people who are interested are being trained. So, now I think our job is people who are not interesting - interested. You know? They're - they need to be brought into the fold. Uh, because, as you said before, we can't carry this all on just our shoulders. So, um, one of the ways that I forsee in the future that this is going to happen is through open educational practices, is through having our students create the products that then others can consume. Um, not only in our field, but outside our field. Um [pause] you mentioned families, and um, I did this, uh, little survey in my class about language shaming. And [pause] language shaming happens. I said, you know, "have you been language shamed?" - and then who, who did it, right? Well, um, teachers was part of it, but families. My own family, my own FAMILY makes fun of my language, right? So, when I'm talking about teach the non-experts, reach out to the people outside, I'm even talking about the families of our students. You know, those cousins in Mexico, who, who, who laugh at them. Um, and so, my, my vision for the future would be that, through open educational practices, our students put their voices out there, put their stories, put their experiences - their stories of language shaming, their stories..of, of anything that would be pertinent, and then take those back to their homes. And then take it to the rest of the university, to the counselors, and then take it to the districts, for all of you in K-12 - where some of the best ideas are born, because I know it. I work with K-12, and you are the most innovative bunch, and, um [pause] educate the civilians [laughs]. You know, this is what we need to be looking at, and I think that our students are the ones that are the most capable of doing it if we let them tell their stories.
[Maria] Thank you, thank you very much. And Krystal!
[Krystal] I should not have waited till the end because I have so many different things going on in my head during that time, but, um, I guess first with what Jazmin was saying, I just had - and again, this is just, probably just as ambitious as what Diego was mentioning, and probably similar in, in theme, but, um, I think, ideally, it would be amazing to have a Spanish as a heritage language program that - that was available to mixed groups of students, all the way from K up through four years of university. And so, if we're having this conversation right now, like Jazmin is already saying, "Okay, well, how can we get the high schools to communicate with the community college", and the community college, you guys are saying, "let's communicate with the four-year". So, like, I think we're just needing to bridge this gap between K and, like, grade nine, um, because I think some of those other communicative links are already starting to happen, um, and have those comprehensive, consistent program that goes all the way through the child's education, and that they're not only getting because they're a heritage speaker, but that everyone gets because it's important for everyone who's taking Spanish to understand the cultural backgrounds of those in their community, their classmates, um, and the language aspects as well. And then, just going on what Alegria was saying a little bit about the language shaming, um [pause] I have a very - I hold a very liberal view of Spanglish and Tex-Mex and those types of languages, um, and I think I see that with my students so much that they've gotten this fear of, um, expressing themselves in their language because it's going to be, um, like a slap-down from some figure of authority that, they have that thought that that's going to happen, whether that's me as a teacher, or um, their family telling them like, "oh, you speak Pocho Spanish" and these ugly kind of things that people say to one another. And I think - I think just, just saying "oh, your language is valid", like whatever language you speak at home is valid, I don't think that's enough. Like, I think we need to go a step further beyond that and say, "You are, like - this is essentially almost trilingualism, okay?" You have like your English, you have your academic Spanish, and you have your home Spanish or your - whatever variety that you're speaking there, and the reason that you can't use it in your academic writing is not because it's not appropriate, it's because they don't know your other language. It's because they're not going to undestand you - they are not trilingual. Right? [laughs] They don't understand it. So, as like, positing it, as the most additive possible - because I think that I - that's really bothered me. That we spend so much time telling them, "Oh, but like, that's valid, too! But like, only for your abuela. Don't speak it here." Right? I don't [pause] I think that in some round about way is still contributing to that shame. It's, it's like we say, okay, like, "It's fine over there - like, over THERE." Verdad? And I, I hate that so much, and I've like, like - sorry, I wanted to air out that grievance for a while, but I think that really, what Alegria was saying, really hit me, um, about the language shaming, because I think even sometimes when we think we are, um, encouraging the students and validating them - I think in a round about way we're just saying, like, "Yeah, that belongs...not here." Not good enough for here, right? Um, cool! - but not good enough for this setting, and I think that's actually a negative message to be sending them about their language ability. Sorry.
[Maria] I agree. Bring out this wonderful linguistic legacy that we have created here in the United States into the sunshine - bring it out into the light, and-and show it off with pride, uh, for all its richness. This is a good way to end our panel. Uh, I am amazed by all the ideas you have contributed. I'm also amazed by the degree of agreement, uh, across levels and geographical locations. That's encouraging to me, cuz it tells me, that we are closing in on a clear pathway for the future and priorities for the present. Um, I will now ask Arturo to close the program. Before he does that, I want to thank you once again, uh, for your generousity in joining us today. I know you're super busy. I'm so grateful - this has been such a wonderful panel, and I think it wil be beneficial to SO many people - and not just in Spanish. Once again, you are contributing to the larger field, because Spanish in many ways leads the way, and you have demonstrated that today. Thank you.
[Arturo] Yeah, I would like to echo my - the same sentiments as Maria. Thank you Alegria, Alejandro, Diego, Jazmin, and Krystal - and, Maria, of course - uh, for contributing to this panel and for sharing your experiences and thoughts on the field. And, we would like to dedicate this panel to our early pioneers, uh, founding leaders of this field of Spanish as a Heritage Language - in particular, professor Guadalupe Valdez, whose brilliant research and steady leadership has been the primary moving force in our field. And, to many others, also, who have set the foundation to our field, I will only mention a few here: Francisco Alarcon, Christian Faltis, Cecilia Pino, Ana Roca, Richard Teschner. We are so grateful to them and to the countless Spanish language educators who show their dedication everyday to the Hispanic-Latino community, which we celebrate this month. And with that, we bring this panel to a close.