Code-switching in the classroom : A sign of deficiency or a part of the learning process?

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Estetisk-filosofiska fakulteten

Abstract: The aim of this study was to investigate how code-switching operates and what impact it has on the interaction in the EFL classroom. The study was conducted at a Swedish secondary school by means of observations, interviews, and a questionnaire. The participants of the study were 79 students and two teachers. Both teachers and students were observed and, in addition to this, the students answered the questionnaire and the teachers were interviewed. The results showed that there were several factors that triggered the students' use of the native language and the ultimate reason for switching to the native language was often to facilitate the learning process. Typical situations in which the students switched to Swedish were when they communicated with their peers or when they encountered unfamiliar words. Moreover, the results suggest that the teacher plays an important role for the choice of code in the classroom through his/her own language use and attitude towards code-switching. Neither of the interviewed teachers nor the majority of the students thought that there were any positive aspects to code-switching.

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