Heritage Language Teaching: A Conversation With María Luisa Parra-Velasco

Many thanks to Dr. María Luisa Parra-Velasco for an enlightening talk about Heritage Language Instruction and using art in community to enhance learning. Enjoy the video. Timeline with notes, links, and articles below.

0:04 Dr. Parra-Velasco teaches in the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures at Harvard University
2:04 How students and teacher relate to one another (as discussed in the articles Dr. Parra shared as pre-reading for the webinar, embedded below)
2:13 In Open-Source Learning courses, students amplify their voices by creating blogs and representing their own thinking.
5:04 Professor Valdes of Stanford defines a heritage language learner as, “A student who is raised in a home where a non English language is spoken, who speaks or merely understands the heritage language and who is to some degree bilingual in English and the heritage language.”
10:16 Understanding knowledge students bring to a course as illustrated by conversation about the children’s book “Frog, Where Are You?”
12:39 Fradulence, fluency, and first impressions of students
15:39 Code-switching
17:43 Harvard students are encouraged to speak English in Madrid and Argentina, but in Boston a mother and daughter were attacked for speaking Spanish
18:50 I do not subscribe to the deficit model; we know more than we think, as multi competent speakers (Vivian Cook)
22:46 Critical theory and Paolo Freire
24:25 I don’t follow a textbook. I design my classes by themes and important topics that I know that students want to learn about.
27:13 The piece I take very much into account is emotion and affect
28:48 I do assessment throughout the semester. I don’t do tests.
30:13 Student-created art
36:34 Student experience of reading: understanding how we read in a way that preserves a sense of joy while helping students understand literary components
38:20 Asynchronous learning & thinking of the right thing to say after the conversation is over
39:17 Expanding the pedagogical spaces online, in museums, and the community
40:48 Multiliteracies of the new and the known
43:47 Self-evaluation
47:33 Divided identities
50:00 It’s not the language, it’s the speaker
52:02 We cannot know all the languages and we can not teach all the languages, but we can open spaces to recognize that those languages are part of our classroom
55:35 Taking care with bringing students’ home environments into virtual learning
58:31 Students’ mindsets & senses of self-worth
59:42 Demands on teachers and learning about ourselves through learning about our students as we move away from teaching textbooks and toward teaching people
1:04:17 I have an initiative at Harvard for high school teachers, and we have developed a website with a lot of materials, open source, and links to lectures. So I will be sending you the link so you can share with everybody.

Los Talleres del Español: Materiales

Initiative on the teaching of Spanish as heritage language

Harvard University. Observatorio Cervantes.