February’s Blog

Code-switching is a tool used to aid bilingual individuals in a learning environment when they communicate with other individuals who are also bilingual. In learning environments where two or more languages are spoken, the use of code-switching can facilitate communication between students. However, it is important to note that teachers can also use code-switching during class, while educating bilingual individuals.  A study was conducted on code- switching involving teachers in an article known as, Code-switching: A useful foreign language Teaching Tool in EFL classrooms by Bhatti et. al. In this study, one is able to see the importance of code-switching as a language tool being used in educational environments (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). The teachers who participated in the study would switch to Urdu, and they were described as native speakers of Urdu (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). The students who were present during the teacher’s lectures were also described as native speakers of Urdu (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). This study shone some light on the types of code-switching used by the teachers, and how this affected the students. It was also evident through the study that the use of code-switching by the teachers was beneficial (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.).

         The teacher’s lectures were recorded in order to evaluate the type of code-switching they were using, and also to determine its function in the utterances (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). Researchers were able to discover in their recordings that the teachers used Tag-Switching, Inter-Sentential Switching, and Intra-Sentential Switching (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). Some of the tags observed in the recording were “theekh,” “Gee,” and “beta” (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). In the study, it was concluded that these tags promoted the relationship between students and teachers; however, they were not used for educational purposes (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). These tags were used in a social level rather than an academic level (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). The use of Inter-Sentential Switching by the teachers did have an educational purpose, because these switches were used to bring forth clarification through explanation (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). Lastly, the use of Intra-Sentential Switching also had an educational purpose, because theses switches were used to explain different ideas and concepts in the student’s native language (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). These different switches served a purpose in the teacher’s communication with the students, and they allowed for the children to comprehend the message in both of their languages. The use of code-switching had two functions in this study, the functions were known as methodological function and social function (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). The methodological function played the role of translation and explanation for the students (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). Whereas the social function played the role of social communication with the students (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.).

         It was concluded that code-switching was used by the teachers as a useful teaching tool in the educational environment (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). Code-switching was used for a variety of reasons in this study, and it proved to be a powerful tool for educators. It was evident through the study that code-switching served as a means to translate harder topics, bring clarity, and promote social relationships (Bhatti, Aisha, et al.). Though more research in this area can be beneficial, one can see through the study that code-switching can aid in the understanding of communication between students and teachers.

Bhatti, Aisha, et al. Code-Switching: A Useful Foreign Language Teaching Tool in EFL Classrooms . 2018, https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1179229.pdf. 

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