Toward Pedagogies and Methodologies of Collaboration, Inclusion, and Voice
12. Mojarra Linguistic Syndrome, Evading Capture by the Tongue: Heritage Speakers of Spanish and Their Stigma
The following study took place at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, a women’s college where I worked as a Fellow for the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) and taught Spanish to heritage language learners. My class consisted of seven Latina students1: four of them identified themselves as Mexicanas, Latinas, and Hispanas; one as Tejana and Latina; one as Anglo with Nicaraguan roots; and one as Anglo raised by a Mexican babysitter. My responsibility as a CWIL Fellow was to teach in the Department of Modern Languages and to do research. This study intended to reflect on the teaching strategies targeted to heritage speakers of Spanish, as explained below, and to contribute to the dialogue concerning the cultural, social, academic, linguistic, and individual needs of students with Hispanic cultural and/or familial ties. I wanted to better understand the needs that heritage language learners of Spanish have in the classroom and at Saint Mary’s College specifically. My objective was to improve the organization and structure of my classes.
In this chapter, I used my students’ assignments as the primary source of my written analysis. I believe that heritage speakers of Spanish arrive in the classroom with sabiduría del hogar or knowledge of the home; that is, Hispanic students practice what scholars such as Judith Flores Carmona and Dolores Delgado Bernal (2012) identified as “pedagogies of the home,” where members of the family and the community transmit knowledge through the practice of oral histories in the form of...
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