Un Retrato de Comunidad: A Portrait of a Community-Based Spanish Heritage Language Program in the New Latinx South Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Reyes, Alexandra
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • Over the past 30 years, the United States has experienced rapid Latinization. At the same time, bilingual education rights that often benefited Latinx students in schools have been rolled back. These two concurrent phenomena have only served to widen the opportunity gap between Latinx students and their White peers. To complicate matters, many Latinxs are settling in new arrival areas (such as the Midwest and the Southeast), which do not have a long-standing history of Latinx residents. The newly emerging and rapidly growing Latinx populations in the New Latinx Diaspora are presenting new challenges for both Latinx individuals and local institutions (Darder & Torres, 2015; Irizarry, 2011; Wortham et al., 2002). Across the nation, teachers are underprepared to work with culturally and linguistically diverse students, but this is more pronounced in new arrival areas (Cadiero-Kaplan & Rodríguez, 2008; Face the Facts USA, 2013; García, 2009; García & Kleifgen, 2010; Orosco, 2010). This research study employed portraiture methodology to investigate how a non-profit, community-based Spanish heritage language program (SALT) operates in the New Latinx South. This study also sought to discover how Latinx families leverage their Community Cultural Wealth to provide extracurricular supports for students. Portraits of the SALT community and its members were created and analyzed, in conjunction with other data, to illuminate how families and supporters experience the program. This study revealed that SALT community members see the Spanish heritage language program as (a) a means to increase linguistic capital, thereby granting access to other forms of Community Cultural Wealth, and (b) a physical space of community for its participants. This study, using Critical Race Theory (CRT) of education (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995; Solórzano & Yosso, 2001; Yosso, Villalpando, Delgado Bernal, & Solórzano, 2001) and Latino Critical Race Theory (LatCrit) (Delgado Bernal, 2002; Solórzano & Delgado Bernal, 2001) lenses, brings into focus the ways that neoliberal language ideologies inform elements of the program's functioning and perceived value, reinforcing hegemonic linguistic practices. Findings from this research study may have implications for the implementation and development of similar programs, including the incorporation of critical pedagogies to transform the program into a radical third space (Bhabha, 1994; Fitts, 2009; Hinman & He, 2017; Moje et al., 2004). This research will contribute to the body of literature about Latinx education (particularly in the New Latinx South), bilingualism, Spanish heritage language development, and community-based programs targeted to Latinx students and families.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Carrillo, Juan
  • Hughes, Sherick
  • Trier, James
  • Cervantes-Soon, Claudia
  • Able, Harriet
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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