November 2013

La enseñanza de la lengua española en los Estados Unidos: Instituto Cervantes, 2011

The Instituto Cervantes has created a marvellous website where they've uploaded numerous video conferences about various issues related to the teaching of Spanish.  My discussion with Dr. Ofelia García about teaching Spanish in the U.S. is available at the link below.



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Multilingual Chicago

We live in a time when many U.S. residents harbor "English only" sentiments -- that is, to be considered a good citizen you have to speak English and also stop speaking anything else. Multilingual Chicago is a grassroots organization I belong to that seeks to counter such linguistic hegemony by promoting linguistic diversity in our city, both that brought by immigrants and their descendants as well as by English speakers studying other languages. In 2007, Mayor Daley signed a resolution brought forth by the efforts of this group.


Institute for the Humanities fellowship

I am very pleased to have received an Institute for the Humanities fellowship during the 2013-2014 school year.  Here is a short article about me and the other fellows.


UIC Oaxaca study abroad for heritage speakers


Check here:

Nuveen scholarship, deadline Thursday 2/28 @ 5:00 pm

Gillman Scholarship, deadline March 5, 2019.

HI USA deadline March 2, 2019.

United Airlines study abroad scholarship:

See here for other possibilities:


This program is for UIC students who grew up speaking Spanish in the home (this means that you placed into SPAN 113, 114, or 204 @ UIC). It is for 4 weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico and is led by UIC professor Kim Potowski.

UIC Study Abroad Oaxaca website

SUMMER 2019 dates = July 14 - August 10, 2019.

All students take two (2) courses:

One (1) Spanish course, 6 different options:

SPAN 114: Spanish for heritage speakers II (4 credits)
SPAN 202: Spanish grammar (3 credits)
SPAN 204: Advanced composition (3 credits)
SPAN 206: Introduction to linguistics (3 credits)
SPAN 363: Spanish in society (3 credits)
SPAN 399: Independent study (3 credits)


ONE Mexican culture course (same for everyone). Can count as SPAN 260 or LALS 399.


All courses are taught by faculty at the Ollin Tlahtoalli Centro de Lenguas y Cultura except SPAN 363 and SPAN 399 which are taught by Professor Potowski. 

We take field trips every Saturday to local sites of archeological and cultural interest, including Monte Albán, Hierve el Agua, and visits with local communities.  

Students may complete internships in areas related to medicine, education, the law, and other areas.

Check out this excellent video made by the 2013 group!   "Like" our Facebook page!

See the FAQ below.


DACA students are eligible; see 


Thursday February 28, 2019, 6:30-8:30 pm, LATINO CULTURAL CENTER

Arrive when you can, stay as long as you like. Parents are welcome. Ask any questions about the program!

tamale photo


Frequently Asked Questions


How much does the program cost?

$3,700 includes tuition, housing and food (2 meals per day), airport pickup, orientation, all Saturday trips, and cultural workshops. NOTE: This price will go down if more than six (6) students sign up.

Airfare (as low as $400... check out, mandatory international health insurance ($27) and spending money are not included.

Most students do NOT pay the entire amount! There are many scholarships and other financial aid available. For example:

Fund for Education Abroad scholarship, deadline January 7, 2019. Click on "Apply for an FEA study abroad scholarship".
Gillman Scholarship, deadline March 5, 2019.

See here for other possibilities:

Where will I live?

All students live with a host family that lives within 15 minutes' walking distance of the school where you take classes. You have a private bedroom and eat breakfast and "comida" (the main meal of the day, served at around 1:30 or 2:00 pm) with the family. UIC requests that no other students be in the home at the same time, but sometimes there is overlap with a student from another country. You/your parents may contact the host family via telephone before your arrival to get to know them. Families are very good about accommodating any dietary or allergy restrictions. Past students have formed close lasting bonds with their Oaxacan families and several have returned to visit them.

What is a typical day like on this program?

Monday:        10:00-1:00 Spanish class. 1:00-4:00 free time and comida at home. 4:00-6:00 workshop or cultural activity, for example, Benito Juárez' childhood home
Tuesday:       10:00-1:00 Spanish class. 1:00-4:00 free time and comida at home. 4:00-6:00 workshop or cultural activity, for example Santo Domingo
Wednesday:  10:00-1:00 Spanish class. 1:00-4:00 free time and comida at home. 4:00-6:00 workshop or cultural activity, for example el Mercado Sánchez Pascuas
Thursday:      All day activity, for example El Jardín Etnobotánico
Friday:           10:00-1:00 Spanish class. 1:00-4:00 free time and comida at home.
Saturday:       9:00-3:00 Field trip to sites such as Monte Albán, Teotitlán del Valle, Mitla, Hierve el agua, etc.
Sunday:         FREE DAY.


Do all of the offered courses count towards a Spanish major or minor?

YES, all courses count toward a Spanish major/minor (except SPAN 114, which fulfills the foreign language requirement). You may contact the LAS Spanish advisor Sara Nobbe ( if you have any questions about this.


I understand that all students take one Spanish class from the above list of 5 options. What would I do in SPAN 399 Independent Study?

If you are eligible for SPAN 399 Independent Study, you will carry out a research project that is related to some aspect of Oaxacan culture and life. This could be at a hospital, in an elementary school, about a local indigenous language, or some other relevant topic. This is carried out with the close assistance of the program director, UIC professor Kim Potowski.


How do I apply?

The first step is to attend a required meeting called "First Steps" at the UIC Study Abroad Office. Go to for the schedule.

Applications are due March 15, 2019. Applications are available at the UIC Study Abroad Oaxaca website

Can I talk to a student who already went on this program, and/or with their parents?

Of course! In addition to emailing the program director, Professor Potowski ( with any questions, you can email the following students and they will be happy to answer your questions. They can also put your parents in touch with their parents.

sara iz  Sara Izquierdo,

mayraMayra Huerta,

AnnabelAnnabel Torres,  --> Her mom's email is 

belemBelem Medina,

maritzaMaritza Castillo,





Teaching Spanish to heritage speakers: Pedagogical and administrative considerations" Lake Forest College, IL, 2013

Why do heritage speakers need a separate Spanish course?  What are some of the linguistic, affective, and academic considerations that educators should keep in mind?  This is the talk I gave at Lake Forest College, IL, in September 2013.

Univisión 30 mayo 2011: Sobre Fulbright en Oaxaca

Me entrevsitó Paula Gómez de Univisión sobre el proyecto que iba a empezar en Oaxaca en 2011-2012.  Tenía previsto estudiar la enseñanza del español como lengua nativa en México para 'importar' ideas para la enseñanza del español a los hablantes 'de herencia' en los Estados Unidos.  Pero una vez en Oaxaca, cambió totalmente mi enfoque:  Empecé a conocer a muchos jóvenes que se habían criado en Estados Unidos y cuyas familias regresaron a Oaxaca.  Entonces me dediqué a estudiar su (re)incorpración lingüística y escolar.

TEDx talk April 12, 2013: "No Child Left Monolingual"

Talk title: "No Child Left Monolingual."

This was a real labor of love. I'd love to see two-way immersion on every corner!

Two small errors:

(1) At 9:58, the production folks accidentally highlighted the two-way immersion program, when I was in fact referring to English Only.

(2) At 10:24, I said "75% Spanish" when I meant "75% English." Probably obvious but just for the record.

Please feel free to share widely and thanks for viewing!