Dawn Heston
Associate Teaching Professor of Spanish; Director of Graduate Studies for the Master of Arts in Language Teaching
139 Arts & Science Building

PhD in Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum, University of Missouri, 2018

Areas: Biliteracy, Dual Language Education, Writing Instruction, and Scaffolding Reading Education

Master of Arts in Spanish with Emphasis in Language Teaching, University of Missouri, 2003


Due to her interests in the areas of authentic materials and communicative language teaching, Professor Heston has been called upon frequently to review and contribute to Spanish-language textbooks. Additionally, she has conducted classroom observation research and teacher interviews in dual language programs.  She regularly directs teacher training sessions for graduate instructors and greatly enjoys collaborating with colleagues and mentoring novice instructors.


Dawn Heston has been a faculty member at the University of Missouri since 2004.  In that time, she has served in the capacity as Spanish Language Course Coordinator and primary instructor of Teaching Methodologies and Bilingualism. 

Over the years, she has presented on a variety of topics, including; leveraging educational technologies for greater authenticity and cultural relevance in the classroom, preparing high school students for the college language sequence, finding resources for authentic materials in the target language, and mentoring graduate student instructors.  In 2019, she participated in the Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference with a discussion on “Developing Biliteracy Skills Through Text Selection.”

Professor Heston developed inter-campus coursework in the form of an online graduate seminar on Building Language Skills in Multilingual Schools in collaboration with Drs. Flore Zéphir and Angie Zapata in 2015.  This work was facilitated by a University of Missouri Inter-Campus Course Sharing Development Grant directed by Dr. Lisa Dorner.

Her most recent longer-term projects have included participating in the U.S. Department of Education National Professional Development Grant program in collaboration with faculty from UMSL and MU College of Education.  This grant funded project, titled “Strengthening Equity and Effectiveness for English Learners,” facilitated teacher workshops for Missouri K-12 faculty who work with English Learners in the public schools.  Professor Heston has presented workshops at the Summer Institutes for three consecutive years (2018-2020) including; “Constructing Scaffolds for Language Learners,” “Set Up the Target: Authentic Assessment Design & Planning,” and “Supporting Language Development Through Content Instruction.” More information about this project may be found at this link: http://see-tel.org/


Dawn Heston teaches a variety of courses at the University of Missouri including; Elementary Spanish Language, Intermediate Spanish Conversation and Composition and the graduate courses, Methods in Teaching Foreign Languages, Bilingualism and Language Contact, and Building Language Skills in Multilingual Classrooms.