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Florencia Henshaw Ph.D.

Profile picture for Florencia Henshaw Ph.D.

Contact Information

4017 FLB
M/C 176
Urbana, IL 61801
Director of Advanced Spanish


I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I have a PhD in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where I am now the Director of Advanced Spanish. I am as passionate about helping students develop communicative ability in the target language, as I am about helping teachers make the connection between what we know and what we do. Two of my current projects focus precisely on that:

I have published and presented nationally and internationally on technology integration and research-based pedagogical practices, and I am honored to have received several awards for my work.


Research Interests

  • Second language acquisition and pedagogy
  • Technology integration 
  • Heritage language learners
  • Teacher training
  • Proficiency-based language instruction


Research Description

My primary research interests involve instructed adult second language acquisition of Spanish, both via computer-assisted instruction as well as in a formal classroom setting. The goal of my research is to empirically evaluate the extent to which different pedagogical tools may be beneficial to second language (L2) and heritage language (HL) learners. I am interested not only in the linguistic gains that may result from different pedagogical practices, but also in the learners' perceptions and attitudes.



Ph.D. in Spanish Linguistics with a concentration in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (SLATE), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2013.

M.A. in Spanish Linguistics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.

B.A. in Spanish, Summa Cum Laude, California State University San Marcos, 2005.


ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) Tester, Full Certification in Spanish, 2017-Present.


  • American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) Mid-Career Travel Grant.
  • National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Association Travel Grant.
  • Provost’s Faculty Retreat Grant for course and program enhancement.
  • Academic Professional Development Fund Travel Grant.
  • Teaching Advancement Board Travel Grant.

Awards and Honors

  • Campus Award for Excellence in Online and Distance Teaching, University of Illinois, 2022.
  • Chancellor's Academic Professional Excellence Award, University of Illinois, 2022.
  • Postsecondary Award for Excellence in World Language Instruction Using Technology, ACTFL/Cengage/IALLT, 2021.
  • Excellence in Online Language Teaching Award, ACTFL/CALICO, 2021.
  • Marie Sheppard Memorial Award, International Association for Language Learning Technology (IALLT), 2021.
  • Academic Professional Award, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2019.
  • Excellence in Language Instruction Award, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2018.
  • Darlene F. Wolf Fellowship for Outstanding Academic Achievement and Teaching Excellence, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009.


Courses Taught

  • SPAN 102: Beginner Spanish II
  • SPAN 122: Intensive Elementary Spanish
  • SPAN 103: Intermediate Spanish
  • SPAN 141: Introduction to Spanish Grammar
  • SPAN 142: Spanish in the Professions
  • SPAN 200: Readings in Hispanic Texts
  • SPAN 204: Advanced Spanish Grammar in Context
  • SPAN 208: Oral Spanish
  • SPAN 228: Spanish Composition
  • SPAN 228A: Spanish Composition for Heritage Learners
  • SPAN 252: Introduction to Spanish Linguistics
  • SPAN 305: The Structure of Spanish
  • SPAN 307: Bilingualism
  • SPAN 308: Spanish in the US
  • SPAN 471: Introduction to Second Language Teaching and Learning
  • SPAN 477: Spanish Grammar for Communicative Language Teaching
  • SPAN 478: Topics in Secondary Language Teaching
  • SPAN 571: Proseminar for Foreign Language Teaching
  • LAS 291/292: Global Perspectives for Study Abroad
  •  “Elementary Spanish” (Intensive Foreign Language Instruction Program open to the community)


Additional Campus Affiliations

Director of Advanced Spanish, Spanish and Portuguese

Service to the profession (2022):

  • Member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP).
  • President of the Downstate Illinois Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP).
  • Editorial Board member for FLTMAG, a publication by the International Association of Language Learning Technology (IALLT).
  • Editorial Advisory Board member for The Language Educator, a publication by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

Invited talks and workshops (2019-Present)


  • “We need to talk: Tech tools and tasks to foster interaction in the classroom and beyond.” Association for Language Learning, London (England), November 2021.
  • “Maximizing Target Language Use: Why and How.” Education Office of the Embassy of Spain, September 2021.
  • “Fostering Community and Student Engagement in Online Language Courses.” Université du Québec à Montréal (Canada), June 2021.
  • “Communicative Activities in Online Courses.” Education Office of the Embassy of Spain, February 2021.
  • “Performance-based Assessments: Why, What, and How.” Education Office of the Embassy of Spain, February 2021.
  •  “Synchronous and Asynchronous Interaction in Online Language Courses.” Maynooth University (Ireland), December 2020.


  • “Maximizing Language Development Across the Three Modes of Communication.” Hillside Public School District, New Jersey, November 2021.
  • “Applying Second Language Acquisition Principles to Everyday Instruction.” Yiddish Book Center, Massachusetts, November 2021. 
  • “A two-way street: Research-informed pedagogy, and pedagogy-informed research.” American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, October 2021.
  • “Purposeful technology integration in the language classroom.” Symposium on Language Pedagogy in Higher Education, October 2021.
  • “Tech Tools and Tasks to Foster Interpretive, Presentational, and Interpersonal Communication.”  Santa Monica College, August 2021.
  • “Maximizing Language Development: Principles and Practices.” Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey, August 2021.
  • “Scaffolding and Assessing Interpersonal Communication.” Center for Urban Language Teaching and Research, July 2021.
  • “Technology-Enhanced Activities Targeting the Three Modes.” Mississippi State University, June 2021.
  • Keynote Speech: “Separating Facts from Fads: Research-informed Pedagogy to Foster Proficiency Development.” Language Teaching Colloquium, University of Nebraska, February 2021.
  • “Technology-enhanced Interpretive Communication Activities.” Global CRED, December 2020.
  •  “Assessment in Proficiency-oriented Language Instruction.” MiraCosta College, October 2020.
  • “Successful teaching strategies for online language courses.”  Yale University, October 2020.
  • “Strategies and tools to foster interaction in remote language courses.”  Penn State University, October 2020.
  • “Fostering community in the online classroom.” Texas Tech University, September 2020.
  • “How to maximize language development through comprehension-based activities.” MiraCosta College, September 2020.
  • “Teaching Languages Online.” College of Wooster, July 2020.
  • “Online Language Teaching.” Pitzer College, July 2020.
  • “Online Language Teaching.” Epstein Middle School, July 2020.
  • “Online, Hybrid, Hyflex, and High Stress: Preparing for Fall 2020” (Panelist). International Association of Language Learning Technology, July 2020.
  • “Best practices for online heritage language instruction.” Spanish for Heritage Learners Special Interest Group, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, June 2020.
  • “Are discussion forums really interactive? Ideas for purposeful asynchronous communication.” International Association of Language Learning Technology, June 2020.
  •  “Designing and Teaching Online Language Courses: Practical and Pedagogical Considerations.” University of Virginia, February 2020.
  • “Technology-Enhanced Heritage Language Instruction.” Harvard University, May 2019.
  • “Hybrid and Online Courses: Best (and Worst) Practices.” University of California, Irvine, April 2019.
  • “Culturally-relevant communicative activities for beginning and intermediate students.” Pearson World Languages Workshop, April 2019.
  • “Teaching spelling to heritage language learners: No drills required.” Spanish Teacher Success Academy, March 2019.

Highlighted Publications


Articles & Book Chapters


  • Henshaw, F. (2022). Heritage and Second Language Learners’ Voices and Views on Mixed Classes and Separate Tracks. In M. Bowles (Ed.), Outcomes of University Spanish Heritage Language Instruction. Georgetown University Press.
  • Henshaw, F. (2022). A two-way information gap: Research-informed Pedagogy and Pedagogy-informed Research. Language Magazine.
  • Henshaw, F. & Hetrovicz, L. (2021). The Role of Linguistic Background in Interaction: A Comparison of Mixed and Matched Second Language and Heritage Language Learner Dyads. Hispania 104 (1), 43-59.
  • Henshaw, F. (2021). These are a Few of my Favorite Tools: Choosing the Right Tech for the Right Task. FLTMAG.
  • Henshaw, F. (2020). Online Translators in Language Classes: Pedagogical and Practical Considerations. FLTMAG
  • Henshaw, F. (2016). Technology-Enhanced Heritage Language Instruction: Best Tools and Best Practices. In S. Beaudrie and M. Fairclough (Eds.), Innovative Strategies for Heritage Language Teaching: A Practical Guide for the Classroom (pp. 237-253). Georgetown University Press.
  • Henshaw, F. (2016). Online Courses for Heritage Learners: Best Practices and Lessons Learned. In D. Pascual y Cabo (Ed.), Advances in Spanish as a Heritage Language (pp. 281-298). John Benjamins.
  • Henshaw, F. (2016). Review of Beaudrie, S., Ducar, C. and Potowski, K. (2014) Heritage Language Teaching: Research and Practice, McGraw-Hill. E-JournALL, special issue on Teaching Spanish as a Heritage Language.
  • Henshaw, F. (2015). Learning Outcomes of L2-Heritage Learner Interaction: the Proof is in the Posttests. Heritage Language Journal, 12.3: 245-270.
  • Henshaw, F. (2012). How effective are affective activities? Relative benefits of two types of structured input activities as part of a computer-delivered lesson on the Spanish subjunctive. Language Teaching Research, 16.3: 393-414.
  • Henshaw, F. (2011). Effects of feedback timing in SLA: A computer-assisted study on the Spanish subjunctive. In C. Sanz & R. Leow (Eds.), Implicit and explicit conditions, processes, and knowledge in SLA and bilingualism (pp. 85-99). Georgetown University Press.


Recent Publications

Henshaw, F. G. (2022). Heritage and Second Language Learners' Voices and Views on Mixed Classes and Separate Tracks. In M. A. Bowles (Ed.), Outcomes of University Spanish Heritage Language Instruction in the United States (pp. 189-208). (Georgetown Studies in Spanish Linguistics). Georgetown University Press.

Henshaw, F. (2022). Some Observations on Class Observations: Why, What, and How Are We Observing? Hispania, 105(3), 339-342.

Henshaw, F., & Hetrovicz, L. (2021). The role of linguistic background in interaction: A comparison of mixed and matched second language and heritage language learner dyads. Hispania, 104(1), 43-59.

Henshaw, F. G. (2021). These are a Few of my Favorite Tools: Choosing the Right Tech for the Right Task. FLTMAG, (March 2021).

Henshaw, F. (2020). Review of Blended basic language courses: Design, pedagogy, and implementation. Language Learning and Technology, 24(3), 45-47.

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