Code-switching as a Resource in Content and Language Integrated Learning or Bilingual Classroom

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Introduction

Currently, teaching content in foreign language and second language, for example, content and language integrated learning (CLIL) or bilingual teaching approach has become a trend in education world. Some countries such as Malaysia, Africa, and European countries have adopted this model of learning in their education system. There are some reasons behind adopting CLIL or bilingual teaching approach in their education system, for example, to improve cross countries (cross language) traffic, and as a respond to the important of English language as a dominant language in the world (Samala, 2009).

Cummins stated that there is a minimal level of language proficiency (treshold), that students should reach in order to be able to learn the task effectively (1981, cited in Lim & Presmeg, 2010). As students in bilingual or CLIL classroom do not learn the content of the lesson in their mother tongue, code-switching is often occurred in their classroom. The teacher in the classroom would switch classroom discourse from the target language to students first language when he find that the students difficult to understand the concept of the lesson in the target language.

Code-switching in the classroom should not be considered as a failure to teach in the target language, but it should be considered as a resource in the classroom. In this essay, I will discuss both advantages and disadvantages of code-switching in classroom.

Definition of Code-switching

According to Baker, code-switching is a situation where an individual switched from one to another language in one utterance, and the switching is done deliberately (1993, cited in Lim & Presmeg, 2010). In general, Setati (1998) defined that code-switching is “the ...

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...might feel neglected by the application of code-switching in their classroom (Cook, 2002, Sert 2005, both cited in Stephen-Kalong, 2008). Therefore, she suggested that, code-switching only can be applied effectively in the classroom where all students have the same main language.

According to Sert, Code-switching in teacher instruction might lead students to feel bored and lost their attention to the previous instruction in the target language (2005, cited in Stephen-Kalong, 2008). It happen because, the teachers often repeat their instructions in students main language.

Conclusion

Overall, considering a lot of benefits that teachers and students might obtain from applying code-switching in the classroom, we should consider it as a resource in the classroom. However, Code-switching only can be fully understood in the actual context in which it takes place.

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