Graduate Certificate in Spanish Heritage Language Education

An innovative online program emphasizing social justice and critical approaches to teaching Spanish

Carla Burns

Carla Burns

Why did you decide to pursue the Graduate Certificate in Spanish Heritage Language Education?

I wholeheartedly believe that, given the growing percentage of students that come from Spanish-speaking homes, educators need to continue to seek professional training opportunities to meet the needs and understand the unique experiences of this ever growing population. I feel very fortunate that George Mason University, the institution where I work and studied in the past, is now offering this wonderful program that will help me explore and learn about critical pedagogy and design and implement “social justice-oriented” curricula in my courses.

So far, everything that I have learned and continue to learn, I am able to apply directly in my heritage learners’ courses. My teaching has already been significantly affected by our classroom discussions and the array of literature that the program exposes its students to. With an emphasis on social justice, antiracism, linguistic inclusion, and critical pedagogy, this program is critical and invaluable for all SHL educators as they invest in their professional development.

I strongly encourage students and educators interested in heritage language instruction to apply to this wonderful program. I believe that we have a responsibility to understand the linguistic, cultural, and academic characteristics of heritage learners in order to provide them with the most just academic experience as they navigate their sociolinguistic world.