As I wrapped up my semester as a PhD student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), I couldn't help but to reflect on my school year and how this program is changing my teaching philosophy. As heritage Spanish teachers we aspire to have our students read in Spanish. Sometimes, we have to follow a mandated curriculum, other times, we have the freedom to chose which books our students can read. For the latter group of teachers, I would highly encourage you to start exploring and including Chicano literature in your curriculum. Give students options on what they can read and provide them with the opportunity to learn more about their own history and to read about issues that directly affect them and/or their community. Personally, I didn't have the opportunity to learn my history in elementary or high school. I took some Latin American courses in undergrad, but our reading selection there was mostly focusing on Latin America and not the lives of Latinos in the U.S.
Now, as a PhD student, I have intrinsic motivation to learn more about my history and become familiar with Chicano Literature. For the past 6 weeks, I have been reading Chicano literature and my goal is to read many more books this summer. Why?
1. I need to know more about my own history, 2. I want to use this knowledge to encourage other Latinos my age and/or my students to learn about their own history, and 3. I love to read :)
If you want to follow me on this journey, you can follow my blog and/or my Instragram hashtag #unbookalaweek. Here, I will share a brief summary of the book, important topics discussed and how they can be implemented in your heritage Spanish classroom.