2023 Heritage Language Symposium (Feb22-23)

The 2023 Heritage Language Learning Symposium is an event sponsored by the Innovation in Inclusive Excellence Grant. It is also supported by the Department of Languages and Culture Studies and the Spanish program.
The event will be held on February 22-23, 2023 from 10:00am – 6:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.


The symposium offers the possibility to learn about current research on heritage language learning as well as to get practical tools to teach Spanish to U.S. Spanish Heritage Speakers. We have invited three prominent scholars who have been engaged in the field of Heritage Language Education. The Presenters will share their research and knowledge with UNC Charlotte faculty, graduate and undergraduate students as well as with attendees from other institutions. For 2023, the Heritage Language Learning Symposium will focus on promoting a broad understanding of literacy practices and training for Latinx heritage speakers by bringing together experts in the fields of bilingual education.

This event will hold research presentations in the morning and workshops in the afternoon where attendees will have the opportunity to interact with and learn from the invited experts.


Symposium Goals

This symposium has five primary goals:

  1. Increase understanding of and knowledge about (Spanish) heritage speakers in the American context;
  2. Reflect on how heritage students’ pedagogical needs are different from those of second-language learners,
  3. Provide Spanish language instructors with pedagogical tools to better teach Spanish to U.S. Spanish heritage speakers in the area of literacy,
  4. Strengthen bilingual/heritage language education practices by connecting scholars, language instructors, and students at Charlotte, and
  5. Reflect on how linguistic practices intersect and affect (Spanish) heritage language learners at the writing level

Featured Speakers

Dr. Florencia Henshaw – University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Dr. Florencia Henshaw is the Director of Advanced Spanish at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is an award-winning educator who has published and presented nationally and internationally on technology integration, heritage language instruction, and proficiency-based pedagogy. She has taught 19 different undergraduate and graduate courses, and she has designed 8 online courses, including a section of Spanish Composition for Heritage Speakers. Her research interests focus on the extent to which different pedagogical practices may be beneficial to second language and heritage language learners, in terms of not only proficiency development but also learners’ perceptions.

Dr. Julio Torres – University of California, Irvine.

Julio Torres (PhD, Georgetown University) is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and Multilingualism in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese with courtesy appointments in the School of Education and Language Science at the University of California, Irvine. He also is the director of the Spanish language program and minor in Spanish/English bilingual education as well as serves in the advisory board for the National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA. His research interests include heritage and second language acquisition, multilingualism, cognition, and task-based language learning. His research has appeared in journals like Studies in Second Language Acquisition and The Modern Language Journal among others as well as in handbooks and edited volumes. he is a co-editor of the 2022 edited volume, Aproximaciones al estudio del español como lengua de herencia with Routledge Press. he is the recipient of the 2014 Russell Campbell´s Young Scholar Award for the field of heritage language education and the 2020 School of Humanities Teaching Award at UC Irvine.

Dr. Kelly Lowther Pereira- UNC Greensboro.

Kelly Lowther Pereira is an associate professor of Spanish and the director of the Spanish Heritage Language Program in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at UNC Greensboro. She specializes in sociolinguistics, heritage language pedagogy, service-learning, and the intersections of language, ideology, and identity in Spanish language education. Her research has been published in scholarly journals, such as Foreign Language Annals and Heritage Language Journal. She is author of the book, Community Service-Learning for Spanish Heritage Learners: Making Connections and Building Identities (John Benjamins, 2018).


Note: All times are Eastern Standard Time
Click the following link to download a provisional copy of this schedule with session abstracts.

Wednesday February 22, 2023

10:00am – 10:10 am ESTOpening Remarks – Dr. Michèle Bissière, Chair, Department of Languages and Culture Studies
Delivery mode: Online
Zoom Link: https://charlotte-edu.zoom.us/j/99835468903
10:10am – 12:00pm ESTResearch Presentation: Something for everyone or everything for someone? Meeting the needs of heritage language learners in the Spanish classroom.
Featured Speaker: Dr. Florencia Henshaw. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Delivery mode: Online
Zoom Link: https://charlotte-edu.zoom.us/j/99835468903
4:00pm – 6:00pm ESTWorkshop: Tasks in Action!
Facilitator: Dr. Julio Torres. University of California, Irvine.
Location: COED434
Delivery mode: In person

Thursday February 23, 2023

10:00am – 10:10 am ESTOpening Remarks – Dr. Brandon Wolfe, Associate Vice Chancellor for Diveristy and Inclusion.
10:10am – 12:00pm ESTResearch Presentation: The effects of instruction on heritage language learners
Featured Speaker: Dr. Julio Torres. University of California, Irvine
Location: Fretwell 126
Delivery Mode: Hybrid
Zoom link: https://charlotte-edu.zoom.us/j/95935413136
4:00pm – 6:00pm ESTWorkshop: Integrating Critical Perspectives in the Spanish Heritage Language Curriculum
Facilitator: Dr. Kelly Lowther Pereira. UNC Greensboro.
Location: COED434
Delivery mode: In person
This workshop will address how K-12 teachers use heritage students’ skills and knowledge that they bring to the classroom


There is no cost to attend this Symposium, but you must be registered in advance. The deadline for registration is February 21, 2023. Click the following link to register:


Please contact the Symposium organizers if you have any questions or comments: