Integration of Peer Support Services in the Spanish as a Heritage Language Curriculum

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Lina Reznicek-Parrado
Adrienne Gonzales


The following is a description of a pedagogical initiative that has resulted from the collaboration between a Spanish for Heritage/Bilingual Program and a Language Center at a medium-sized private institution in the United States. The initiative is grounded in the need to provide coordinated, early college experiences that positively benefit underrepresented student communities, such as Spanish heritage speakers, particularly through educationally purposeful or “high-impact” practices based on linguistic inclusivity (Ladson-Billings, 1995; Kuh, 2008). We rely on curricular design that centers the unique profile of heritage students, creating equitable learning spaces where translanguaging practices are intrinsic to the pedagogical design. With these goals in mind, the collaborative program described here integrates a peer-to-peer writing consultation experience as part of a Spanish for heritage learners course requirement. In these sessions, students autonomously engage with language tutors and their peers outside of the classroom for guidance and discussion on the course’s writing projects, as well as other topics of student academic interest. This collaboration is motivated by critical pedagogical design grounded in theoretical notions that see bilingualism as a dynamic, and not linear system (Palmer & Martínez, 2013; García & Wei, 2014), and that highlight the translingual literacy practices of heritage students in an out-of-classroom academic spaces (Reznicek-Parrado, 2020). In this paper, we discuss course integration and the logistical details of a peer-to-peer consultation program design, illustrating a model for institutional structures and pedagogies that work in tandem with the intention of promoting heritage student success.

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