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Welcome! To the Initiative for the teaching of Spanish as heritage Language at the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University.

Bienvenidos a la Iniciativa para la enseñanza del español como lengua heredada del Departamento de Lenguas Romancesy Literaturas de la Universidad de Harvard.

As the Latino population has become more prominent in our higher education institutions, a greater number of Latino students, also referred to as “Spanish Heritage Learners” (SHLs) are enrolling in Spanish language classes. Their growing presence in our classrooms has motivated ample research in the last two decades to study the specific needs and interests of these students in order to better serve them and help them reach their linguistic and cultural goals.

Our mission: The  Initiative for the Teaching of Spanish as a Heritage Language aims to create a community of teachers and researchers around the field of teaching Spanish as a heritage language in order to:

  1. Develop pedagogical resources and best practices to strengthen and broader Latino students' linguistic and cultural capabilities in Spanish to become active and full memebers of the multiple communities they belong to, as well as to develop a strong sense of ethnolinguistic identity and social agency.
  2. Develop a research agenda to contribute to the theoretical and pedagogical efforts in the field.
  3. Form a learning community of teachers and researchers of Spanish as heritage language that collaborates to advance the field with publications of original work and handbooks, share resources and find best practices for our heritage students.

We hope this site and its resources contributes to and insipires new collaborations and the generation of new knowledge for the advancement of the Latino youth around the country.

María Luisa Parra, Ph. D
Spanish Senior Preceptor
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
Harvard Univeristy

Read full report of activities since 2011 RLL Initiative report