Role Reversal: The Problems of a Spanish-Speaking Anglo Teaching Spanish to English Dominant Puerto Rican Children


  • Eileen N. Ariza Ed.D.

    1. Florida Atlantic University
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      Eileen N. Ariza (Ed.D.) is Assistant Professor of TESOL, College of Education, Florida Atlantic University, Davie, FL and a Harvard Teaching Fellow at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.


ABSTRACT  This article describes the unique situation of an Anglo, Spanish-speaking teacher who is assigned to teach Spanish to a group of non-Spanish-speaking youngsters of Puerto Rican descent. The irony is that the children have been raised in the dominant Anglo culture of the mainland United States and are in Puerto Rico against their wishes. Broken families and relocations have caused tremendous strife and have hindered the children's acceptance of the culture and Spanish language. Successfull strategies that overcame the socio- and psycho-linguistic barriers are listed as the teacher describes how she created a non-threatening learning environment.