Navigating a pluricentric language in the classroom: attitudes towards regional varieties of Spanish
Spanish language regional varieties have been studied in the contexts of heritage speakers, language beliefs and attitudes, and language policy. Although these studies have been significant to the field, there is little reference to the role of Spanish instructors’ attitudes towards Spanish regional varieties in a communicative foreign language classroom as an important aspect when preparing students to enter a globalized world. More specifically, this investigation analyzes instructors’ attitudes towards the use of regional varieties in the classroom and how these attitudes influence the inclusion or exclusion of those varieties in the language classroom. Research instruments include an online questionnaire, video recordings of basic and intermediate Spanish classes, field notes, and focus group interviews. Findings show that although there are some instructors who use their regional variety because it is considered prestigious, there are others who modify their classroom discourse because of perpetuated attitudes that include stigmatization of their variety or because their variety is different from that in the textbook. At the same time, extra-linguistic factors such as syllabi, textbooks, and language tests influence decisions related to Spanish regional varieties. These findings offer insights for Spanish pedagogy, teacher training, curriculum design, and language policy and planning.