María M. Carreira

California State University, Long Beach


Maria Carreira is a professor of Spanish at California State University, Long Beach and co-director of the National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA. Her research focuses on U.S. Spanish and heritage language pedagogy. She is a co-author of five Spanish textbooks published by Cengage and a book about U.S. Latinos (Voces: Latino Students on Life in the United States, Praeger, 2014). Her most recent book publication is a co-edited book with Olga Kagan and Claire Chik on heritage language teaching around the world. With her colleagues at UCLA and with a grant from STARTALK, Professor Carreira is currently developing an online certificate on HL teaching.


Heritage language education: Where are we today and where do we go next?

Using the framework of Institutionalization, I will examine the state of heritage language (HL) education, focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on US institutions of higher learning. Eckholm and Trier (1987) define institutionalization as “a process through which an organization assimilates an innovation into its structure” (p. 13) and identify four indicators of institutionalization that prove useful for gauging the extent to which HL education has established itself in the field of foreign language education. Informing this discussion is a survey of foreign language programs conducted by the National Heritage Language Resource Center (reported on in Carreira, 2014, 2017), as well as an edited volume by Kagan, Carreira, & Chik (2017) that takes stock of HL programs and teaching practices in a range of educational contexts and geographical sites.