Heritage Language Programs - Spanish

University of Maryland College Park

College of Arts and Humanities, Spanish and Portuguese Department

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Address: 2211 Jimenez Hall, College Park, Maryland 20742

Contact: Carmen Román
Outreach Coordinator

Email: croman@umd.edu

Telephone: 301 405-6453

Fax: 301 314-9752

Languages/Dialects taught as foreign languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Persian, Korean as undergraduate course.

Spanish for heritage speakers
Three-course sequence: Spanish 206-Beginning, 306-Intermediate, and 307-Advanced

Program Description

Purposes and goals of the program: Review of basic, intermediate, and advanced grammar, emphasizing reading and communication skills

The program is a heritage track within a foreign language program./89*502

The heritage track description: the program is designed primarily for Hispanic bilingual students whose home language is Spanish but whose dominant and school language is English.

Program origin: The program was founded in 1999 when the university noticed an increase in the number of Spanish speakers in the department with various levels of expertise.

Faculty's and administration's expectations for the program: To meet the needs of this growing Hispanic population.


• First-generation immigrants 40%
• Second-generation immigrants 35%
• Third-generation immigrants 10%
• Children of interethnic marriages 15%

Countries of origin: El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto. Rico, Cuba, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Panama, Columbia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, Honduras, Nicaragua

Total student enrollment: 69
Age of students: 17 to 20

The program identifies who is a heritage speaker by
• Students’ self identification as Hispanic or Latino
• Oral interviews

Oral interview description: The instructor for the course usually has an in-depth conversation in Spanish with individual students before they enter the class.

Percentage of students who complete the program: 80%

Percentage of students who continue to study the heritage language after completing the program: 80%

Reasons for students not continuing on with the language: Continuing students take upper-level courses with foreign language students. Students who do not continue with the program usually have finished their stay at the university and have satisfied their course requirements.

Students' attitudes toward the language varieties they speak: They are always amazed at being in a classroom where they have something in common with everyone. I believe the students feel really comfortable in this class.


Total number of faculty teaching in the program: 1

Number of full-time instructors: 1

Languages in which faculty members are proficient: Spanish and English. The faculty member is a heritage Spanish speaker.

Credentials: Teacher certification in Spanish from New York and New Jersey. MA in Spanish.

Professional development opportunities for faculty: Faculty members are encouraged to go to conferences and participate in professional development opportunities.

Professional development opportunities that faculty need: Faculty members would profit from development opportunities in the area of teaching a multi-level class of heritage Spanish speakers.


Student grouping: Students are not grouped according to level

Face-to-face course:
Span. 206, Español para hispanohablantes, 3 hours per week for 14 weeks.

Online course:
Span. 307, Español para hispanohablantes II, 3 hours per week for 14 weeks.

Language Skills

• Listening
• Speaking
• Reading
• Writing

Heritage Skills
• Techniques for Public Speaking

Skills and levels of language proficiency that students reach by the end of the program: Students are able to read and write about various topics in Spanish and discuss with an intelligent vocabulary base various contemporary subjects.


Culture taught
• Geography
• History
• Festivals
• Customs
• Traditions/beliefs
• Religion
• Dances
• Songs
• Social and cultural norms
• Cultural appropriateness
• Literature
No special content courses are offered for heritage speakers.

The kind of person that the program tries to foster: The program fosters positive identity by making students take notice of the cultural awareness that is necessary in today’s global economy and world.


The program promotes a communicative approach where students are given the opportunity to use the skills that they already possess as bilingual students.


• Roca, Ana Nuevos mundos, Lectura, cultura y comunicación. Segunda Edición John Wiley & Sons,1999
• Roca Ana. Nuevos mundos Cuaderno para estudiantes bilingues. 1999

Other materials:
• Research projects through Internet activities, community involvement by scheduled interactions with students from Spanish speaking schools.
• Technology is integrated into the program with research projects, and electronic diaries.

Interactive tools:
• Discussion boards
• CDs
• Online resources


• Chapter tests
• Mid-term tests
• Final exams
• Portfolios


Program Connections: The program promotes connection with local high schools. The students at College Park come from Einstein, Wheaton, Richard Montgomery and Northwestern high school.

Opportunities for heritage students outside the college to use their heritage language: We encourage students to become involved with the local heritage community. College Park promotes involvement by establishing internships where the students earn college credit by facilitating their involvement with the local heritage community.

What the program has in place

Financial support:
The heritage Spanish program is part of the institutional/regular courses.

Kinds of assistance or collaboration needed:
The program needs an operating budget that will provide faculty with more flexibility to have special activities for this group of students.

System for graduating students:
Students are given college credit as if it were in any other language class.

The program does not track students' overall academic achievement or career goals or conduct research on heritage language issues.

Special Challenges and Comments

Challenges that the program has experienced: Funding. With the increasing number of heritage students, the department is strapped for funds to open more classes.

Other insights: The program is for Hispanic bilingual students whose home language is Spanish but whose dominant and school language is English, and our students are actively involved with the Hispanic community near the university.

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