Texas Tech University

The Spanish Heritage Language Program

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What does the term “Spanish heritage language speaker” mean?

A Spanish heritage language speaker is an individual that has early exposure to the heritage language in the home, proficiency in the heritage language, bilingual to some degree, dominant in a language other than the heritage language (generally English), and ethnic/cultural connection to the Spanish heritage language (Zyzik 2012).

What are the goals of this program?

  • to provide a supportive and effective learning environment that considers the bilingual/bicultural background of our students.
  • to foster and encourage our students' development in the diverse variations of “Spanishes” used in the U.S.
  • to meet our students' specific needs, those being:
    • literacy development (reading and writing)
    • use of “translanguaging,” the act performed by bilinguals of accessing different autonomous languages (e.g., Spanish in the U.S. and English) to maximize communication among our communities in Texas
    • exploration of topics related to their own cultural backgrounds
    • discovery of learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom

How long has this program been at Texas Tech University?

Since the fall semester of 2014, this program has offered a series of courses specifically designed with the Spanish heritage language learners in mind.

With this initiative, our SHL program at CMLL joins a growing number of departments across the country that recognizes the importance of the heritage speaker population and celebrates the richness that this community brings to our campus and our community.

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