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Challenging deficit ideologies in Spanish heritage language policies and programs

This study analyzes the programs and policies for Spanish heritage language (SHL) students in Iowa high schools. Previous research suggests that SHL students do not enjoy equitable educational experiences in Spanish language classrooms, which are often taught by and designed for traditional second language learners. In US states like Iowa, there is no language policy that provides a facilitative structure for Heritage language education, so issues of educational opportunity for SHL students are addressed locally. Teachers are, therefore, particularly influential language policy and education arbiters. In this paper, we analyze (1) how Iowa language policy is interpreted and appropriated by high school Spanish teachers and (2) the perspectives of high school Spanish teachers about Heritage language education. Findings reveal that many teachers reject the monoglossic ideologies popular in Spanish language classrooms and instead celebrate the unique verbal repertoires of their SHL students. Implications for language policy and practice are discussed.

Johnson, D. Cassels., Carbine, M., & Shea, C. Challenging deficit ideologies in Spanish heritage language policies and programs. Foreign Language Annals.