The Impact of Sociolinguistically Informed Critical Pedagogy An Appraisal Attitude Analysis

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Andrea Herrera-Dulcet
Gabrielle Yocupicio


Extensive literature has been devoted to examining the attitudes of Spanish speakers towards their own language varieties, yet further research is needed to understand how Spanish heritage language (SHL) education can inform and shape these attitudes. The present study explored if a Sociolinguistically Informed Critical Pedagogy (SICP) (1) fostered critical language awareness (CLA) among SHL learners, and (2) informed SHL learners’ language attitudes towards multilingual practices in the SHL classroom. Our data comes from focus group interviews of learners enrolled in four different sections of the same SHL advanced course during Fall 2017. Both sections used the same textbook and followed the same curriculum, but two groups were exposed to a supplemental SICP. We analyzed the focus group interviews via Attitude Analysis of the Appraisal Framework (Martin & White, 2005). SHL learners’ evaluations revealed that those exposed to the SICP did, in fact, present positive attitudes towards classroom multilingual practices, as well as the local contact varieties. In stark contrast, students in the group not exposed to the SICP underscored an assimilative attitude towards standard language ideologies and a rejection of multilingual practices in the SHL classroom. These results validate extensive scholarly calls for the inclusion of sociolinguistic topics and critical pedagogies in the SHL classroom (Carvalho, 2012; Leeman, 2005; Leeman, 2018; Martinez, 2003, among others) as a means to interrupt language subordination and foster Critical Translingual Competence (Leeman & Serafini, 2016) among SHL learners.

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