Puerto Rican Teachers’ and Students’ Beliefs toward Spanish Use in the English Classroom as a Way to Motivate Students





Translanguaging, teaching English, Spanish, codeswitch, teacher perception, motivation.


This paper documents English teachers’ and advanced English students’ perspectives on the use of Spanish in the English classroom in Puerto Rico. Using qualitative data collection methods such as interviews and focus group data, the researchers document the ways that many English teachers on the island justify their use of Spanish in the English classroom as they work to make their teaching more comprehensible. Nevertheless, the advanced students from both public and private schools who participated in this study offer a note of caution regarding the use of too much Spanish in the English classroom. Ultimately, findings suggest that many English teachers consciously or unconsciously adopt a translanguaging approach that needs to be assessed critically depending on the language proficiency and confidence of the students in their classrooms.

To reference this article (APA) / Para citar este artículo (APA) / Para citar este artigo (APA)

Mari, V., & Carroll, K. S.  (2020). Puerto Rican teachers’ and students’ beliefs toward Spanish use in the English classroom as a way to motivate students. Latin American Journal of Content & Language Integrated Learning, 13(2), 289-311. https://doi.org/10.5294/laclil.2020.13.2.6

Recibido: 21/05/2020

Aceptado: 09/09/2020

Author Biographies

Vanessa Mari, Nevada State College

Vanessa Mari is an Assistant Professor of TESL at Nevada State College. Her research focuses on teacher education with a focus on preparing teachers to work with emergent bilingual students. She is currently working with the National Administration of Public Education in Uruguay as a Fulbright Scholar. Before that, she worked as an English Language Fellow with the University of Piura in Peru. Mari is also the founding president of Nevadans Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (NVTESOL) and the Nevada chapter of Scholars Strategy Network.

Kevin S Carroll, University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras

Dr. Kevin S. Carroll is an Associate Professor at the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras where he coordinates a master’s program in teaching English as a second language (TESL) and the doctoral program related to Curriculum and Instruction in TESL. Dr. Carroll holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico in San Germán, a master’s in English Education from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez as well as a doctor of philosophy in Language, Reading and Culture with emphasis in Language Policy and Planning from the University of Arizona. His research interests have centered on translanguaging practices in K-16 contexts and he has more than 20 peer reviewed publications and over 80 talks at local and international conferences. His co-edited volume: Translanguaging in Higher Education: Beyond monolingual ideologies, published by Multilingual Matters in 2017 has garnered a number of excellent reviews published in some of the most elite journals related to applied linguistics. While currently conducting research and teaching on the island of Puerto Rico, Dr. Carroll has also written on language policy and education related issues in Aruba, United Arab Emirates, and Arizona, USA. His current research projects examine translanguaging as it relates to pre-service teachers and teacher preparation programs as well as when translanguaging is appropriate in bilingual education. On a more personal note, Dr. Carroll loves to travel having visited over 70 countries and two trips around the world.


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