Outcomes of University Spanish Heritage Language Instruction in the United States

Melissa A. Bowles, Editor

The first volume to explore the effectiveness of instructional methods for college-level Spanish heritage learners
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The first volume to explore the effectiveness of instructional methods for college-level Spanish heritage learners

In the United States, heritage language speakers represent approximately 22 percent of the population and 29 percent of the school-age population. Until now, though, few studies have examined the outcomes of classroom teaching of heritage languages.

Outcomes of University Spanish Heritage Language Instruction in the United States sheds light on the effectiveness of specific instructional methods for college-level heritage learners. The first of its kind, this volume addresses how receiving heritage classroom instruction affects Spanish speakers on multiple levels, including linguistic, affective, attitudinal, social, and academic outcomes. Examining outcomes of instruction in the Spanish language—the most common heritage language in the United States—provides insights that can be applied to instruction in other heritage languages.

These thematically linked empirical studies and their pedagogical implications build a foundation for heritage language instruction and directions for future research. Scholars and educators alike will welcome this volume.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Introduction: Why and How to Examine Outcomes of Heritage Language Instruction

Melissa A. Bowles

Part I: Morphosyntactic Outcomes

1. Modality Matters! A Look at Task-Based Outcomes

Julio Torres

2. The Differential Effects of Three Types of Form-Focused Computer-Based Grammar Instruction: The Case of Receptive Heritage Learners

Sara M. Beaudrie and Bonnie C. Holmes

3. Effects of Instruction on Specific Measures of Accuracy in Spanish Heritage Learners’ Writing

Adrián Bello-Uriarte

4. The Secret Is in The Processing: Categorizing How Heritage Learners of Spanish Process

Celia Chomón Zamora

5. What Type of Knowledge Do Implicit and Explicit Heritage Language Instruction Result In?

Sara Fernández Cuenca and Melissa A. Bowles

Part II: Social and Educational Outcomes

6. “Incorporating Our Own Traditions and Our Own Ways of Trying to Learn the Language”: Beginning-Level Spanish as a Heritage Language Students’ Perception of Their SHL Learning Experience

Damián Vergara Wilson

7. Beyond Registers of Formality and Other Categories of Stigmatization: Style, Awareness, and Agency in SHL Education

Claudia Holguín Mendoza

8. Toward an Understanding of the Relationship between Heritage Language Programs and Latinx Student Retention and Graduation: An Exploratory Case Study

Josh Prada and Diego Pascual y Cabo

9. Heritage and Second Language Learners’ Voices and Views on Mixed Classes and Separate Tracks

Florencia G. Henshaw

Afterword: Studying Outcomes to Bridge the Gap between Teaching and Learning

Maria M. Carreira

List of Contributors



"It is not enough to develop practices that we think will be successful with heritage speakers; we need solid research, both quantitative and qualitative, that illuminates the actual outcomes of our classroom efforts. In this volume, Bowles gathers work from top scholars on the effects of instruction on university students’ linguistic systems, affective concerns, and broader social justice issues including graduation rates, forming a state-of-the-art reference on issues of central importance to heritage language educators."—Kim Potowski, professor of Spanish, Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies, the University of Illinois at Chicago

"An excellent and timely overview of research on instructional effectiveness in the heritage language context. Using both quantitative and qualitative approaches, the empirical studies in this volume present a wide range of pedagogical interventions that aim to increase linguistic accuracy, sociolinguistic awareness, and educational success among heritage learners while considering students’ voices, attitudes, and perceptions. Both researchers and practitioners will appreciate the relevance and clarity of the studies in this volume."—Eve Zyzik, professor of Spanish, Department of Languages and Applied Linguistics, University of California, Santa Cruz


Sara M. Beaudrie, Adrián Bello-Uriarte, Melissa A. Bowles, Maria M. Carreira, Celia Chomón Zamora, Sara Fernández Cuenca, Florencia G. Henshaw, Claudia Holguín Mendoza, Bonnie C. Holmes, Diego Pascual y Cabo, Josh Prada, Julio Torres, Damián Vergara Wilson

Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Melissa A. Bowles is a professor of Spanish and a Conrad Humanities Scholar (2018–23) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she teaches linguistics, educational psychology, and second language acquisition and teacher education (SLATE). Bowles is a codirector of the National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA and the author of The Think-Aloud Controversy in Second Language Research.

264 pp., 6 x 9
1 figur, 1 b&w illus, 5 graphs, 18 tables
ISBN: 978-1-64712-222-5
Apr 2022

264 pp., 6 x 9
1 figur, 1 b&w illus, 5 graphs, 18 tables
ISBN: 978-1-64712-223-2
Apr 2022

264 pp.
1 figur, 1 b&w illus, 5 graphs, 18 tables
ISBN: 978-1-64712-224-9
Apr 2022

Georgetown Studies in Spanish Linguistics series
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