This presentation, organized in collaboration with professor María Luisa Parra (Harvard University), examines the treatment of linguistic variation within the teaching of Spanish as a second language and as a heritage language, and critically analyzes various pedagogical proposals with regard to their educational objectives. The speaker adopts a critical pedagogical approach that emphasizes the relationship of language to both identity and power, and that calls for education to promote social justice. She concludes by proposing an alternative approach designed to promote students’ critical language awareness regarding sociopolitical aspects of language and to prepare them to challenge social and linguistic hierarchies.
Jennifer Leeman is Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at George Mason University. Her research focuses on Spanish in the US, heritage language education, language policy, and ideologies of ethnoracial and linguistic identity in censuses. Her most recent publication is Speaking Spanish in the US: The Sociopolitics of Language (Multilingual Matters), with Janet Fuller.