To Use or Not to Use Code Switching in English-Language Classrooms

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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.


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 class...

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...ment of confidentiality, the names of each participant shall be anonymous in the study with capitalized symbols ‘A, B, C, D, E' to represent each of the participants.

Population and Sample

The population of the research includes nineteen Kindergarten teachers who are all females from ten Primary Schools in Educational District 6 in Saint Lucia. The five teachers and their schools selected for this investigation shall be deliberately selected, that is after permission is granted to implement the research, based on the teacher's competence to speak both Kweyol and English and because of close proximity to the researcher's ability to conduct the research. In schools selected where there are more than one Kindergarten teacher and they are all competent bilingual speakers, the researcher will allow the principal to select the teacher for the investigation.
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