ERIC Number: EJ833488
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 15
Identity Issues in Building an ESL Community: The Puerto Rican Experience
Morales, Betsy; Biau, Eileen K.
New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, n121 p45-53 Spr 2009
Whenever a second language is the object of learning, identity (or sense of self) is at stake, and the question of what community and what speech community one belongs to, strives to belong to, or is afraid to belong to raises complex issues. As stated by Zarate, Bhimji, and Reese (2005): "A bicultural identity is not necessarily a homogeneous or stable identity; nor is it a fixed location where cultures meet peacefully in perfect coordination". In Puerto Rico, the authors live in between two cultures, the Puerto Rican culture and the American culture. Therefore, English as a second language (ESL) instruction in Puerto Rico takes place in an unusual context. Puerto Rico's history included language imposition, which has made issues of identity and community particularly delicate. In this article, the authors share some of their experiences teaching ESL in a society where language is directly linked to identity and political issues. They also discuss how their personal identities as a Puerto Rican (Betsy) and as a New Yorker (Eileen), along with their understanding of community (where they live), influence their teaching practice in the ESL classroom.
Descriptors: Latin American Culture, Second Language Learning, Foreign Countries, Political Issues, Puerto Ricans, Teaching Methods, English (Second Language), Biculturalism, Second Language Instruction, Cultural Context, History, Ethnicity
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
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