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To Use Or Not To Use Code Switching In English Language Classrooms

1520 words - 7 pages

D# 307001432
LING6407 Discourse Styles of English
Research Proposal

Title:
The functions of Code-Switching in English Language Teaching classroom discourse by Kindergarten teachers in five Elementary schools in an Educational District in Saint Lucia.

Introduction
The English language teacher is still the main person in the classroom from which students derive many of their language experiences. Therefore, teachers need to remain vigilant in the manner in which they use the language. Teachers who are bilingual speakers may often opt to alternate between languages for particular reasons or do so unconsciously. There are teachers who believe that in English language teaching, code–switching should be avoided, meanwhile others perceive code-switching as being a helpful teaching strategy in understanding components of the target language which is sometimes English. Irrespective of the opinions by teachers about which aspect should be favoured, it is crucial that the reasons which influence code-switching by teachers in English language learning classrooms be studied. This will assist other educators in making a better determination of whether to include or exclude code-switching in the language teaching process.

Background to the Study
Saint Lucia is a bilingual nation where Saint Lucian English and a French lexified-Creole (Kweyol) are widely spoken in similar domains. Contrary to English being the official language in Saint Lucia and the argument of whether the language situation is still diglossic, schools predominantly acknowledge the use of both languages by teachers and students in formal classroom discourse. Classroom discourse in this research paper implies the talk or face to face conversation that is undertaken in the classroom. As a result, situations arise in the classroom where code-switching between Saint Lucian English which is also recognized as Standard English and Kweyol occur.
O' Grady, Archibald, Aronoff & Rees-Miller (2010) defined code-switching as "a common phenomenon when people who share more than one language get together and use two (or more) languages (or ‘codes') to communicate". Consequently, decisions are undertaken by speakers to determine the language of choice based on social and linguistic factors. Thus, speakers would switch between languages depending on the function it serves at the appropriate time. Sometimes bilingual Saint Lucians switch between their Standard English and Kweyol with the use of extended phrases in the same sentence, whilst the languages' syntax and phonology is maintained.
Presumably, teachers in Saint Lucia practice this type of switching in classroom discourse. Research has indicated that one function of code-switching by teachers is based on the need to provide information about a topic that is more easily understood in the students' first language. Cole (1998) postulated that "a teacher can exploit students' previous L1 experience to increase...

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