National Hispanic Heritage month is celebrated annually between September 15th and October 15th. According to the National Archives, National Hispanic Heritage Month began as a week-long event, but after being signed into law in 1968, it was later expanded to include a full month beginning in 1988. The purpose for Hispanic Heritage Month is for, "recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture and achievements of the United States." (National Archives, 2022) Culture has been called, "the way of life for an entire society,"2 so this month would be a great time to celebrate individuals with Hispanic heritage.
Latinx students often struggle to see themselves represented in the classroom due to a limited representation of diverse culture and heritage in school textbooks and curriculum. Educators can support an inclusive environment by introducing culturally diverse content to their students, which should aim to minimize content bias, as well as to reflect on personal biases.3
The National Hispanic Heritage Month 2022 theme is unity, or "Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation."4 For all students and especially students with Hispanic heritage, it’s important that we take the time to incorporate activities, information, and events into the classroom to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage month.
Below are some suggestions and resources you can use throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month:
- Read books written by Hispanic authors. There are so many wonderful choices, but just to name a few:
Share Ted Talks by Hispanic and Latinx speakers that inspire diversity and inclusivity like:
Brush up on some common Spanish words and phrases. Do this by finding videos on YouTube, or download a language app, like Duolingo.
Add labels to classroom objects and areas in Spanish for additional visual learning.
Play instrumental latin music during transition times. Teach the students to enjoy the rhythm of salsa, tango, bachata and rumba sounds. Here’s a lyric free compilation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZENiMeCT84
Find ways to build in the stories and backgrounds of influential Hispanic Americans. You may want to find people who you can tie into your class curriculum, but here are a few ideas as a starting point:
Another way you can help students connect with a culture is through food. Food in the classroom can get tricky, but Elote in a cup, a cheese empanada, or a cold glass of horchata might be doable.
Continue your efforts even after this month is up! Cultural immersion and inclusivity is an ongoing process.
Taking the time to incorporate and recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month within your classroom will help to celebrate the influence Latin Americans have made upon the culture in the U.S. It’s important for all students to feel seen, heard and represented.
1.National Archives. (2022 August), Hispanic Heritage Month. https://www.archives.gov/news/topics/hispanic-heritage-month
2.Culture. New World Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Culture
3.Commission on Teacher Credentialing. (2009 October). California Standards for the Teaching Profession. https://www.ctc.ca.gov/docs/default-source/educator-prep/standards/cstp-2009.pdf
4The National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers. (2022 August). 2022 Hispanic Heritage Month Theme. https://nationalcouncilhepm.org