Advocating for Critical Pedagogical Approaches to Teaching Spanish as a Heritage Language: Some Considerations



Abstract: This article makes the case for using critical pedagogical approaches to the teaching of Spanish as a heritage language (HL). Having different language tracks is not enough: As long as HL learners hold negative linguistic attitudes about their own language variety, they will be unable and unprepared to learn successfully. First, I define who HL learners are and why they need to be in a separate track from traditional language learners. Later, I discuss the basic premises of critical pedagogy in order to recommend that HL instructors take this pedagogical approach to maximize Spanish HL learner potential. Last, I recommend the importance of providing sociolinguistic tools in order to corroborate that standard Spanish is not a replacement for local varieties but simply a register students can use once they appreciate their own language.