Conception versus Reality : A Case Study of SFI-teachers’ Codeswitching into English

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Engelska institutionen

Abstract: The fact that people tend to alternate between languages for various communicative purposes seems to increasingly interest researchers all over the world. Thus, the linguistic phenomenon of codeswitching has been given more academic attention in recent years than ever before. This particular topic has also been infused by new research because of an ongoing pedagogic debate about whether languages other than the target language should be used in foreign languages classroom or not. The debate consists of two major opinions. On one side, adherents claim that use of non-target languages limits natural target language-input and therefore damages the learning process. On the other, it is argued that non-target languages may even be beneficial for the learning process since they carry many pedagogic opportunities with them otherwise gone lost. This paper aims to find out how, and to what extent, foreign language teachers at a Swedish for Immigrants-school codeswitch into English in class. Moreover, it is also of interest to investigate how they think about their own codeswitching and how their reasoning may reflect their codeswitching self-awareness. In search for answers to these questions, three teachers have been observed in class. Later, the teachers have been interviewed to reflect upon their own codeswitching. The study revealed clear differences in the teachers’ codeswitching and codeswitching-reasoning, However, similarities were also found, and that all three teachers shared the main objective to develop their students’ communicative competence. Moreover, they also proved to have a rather realistic picture their own codeswitching. Not only were they able to roughly estimate how, and how much, they each codeswitched. Their individual results also went in line with their reasoning to a high extent, suggesting that they all have a high degree of codeswitching self-awareness.        

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