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Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, 2006
Research literature has shown that teachers use code-switching for pedagogical purposes
and for establishing solidarity with students (Rickford, 2005; Bohn, 2003; Goldstein,
2003; Setati and Adler, 2000; Lin, 1999). This has also been the case for teachers
teaching English to African Americans (Rickford, 2005; Bohn, 2003) However, there has
not been a systematic comparison of the role of code-switching in language and content
subject classes, and the sample sizes involved were small.
The purpose of this study is to study the use of the vernacular and standard English by
teachers in the Singapore multilingual fifth-grade classroom using the conversation
analytic approach. One hundred and ten lessons were observed, audiotaped and
transcribed for science, mathematics, social studies and English. Preliminary results
show that teachers do not code-switch due to a lack of proficiency in standard English.
When they code-switch, they use the vernacular for specific functions. In conclusion, the
first significance is that teachers are not working in the deficit mode. Second, creolebased
and pidgin-based varieties can be used skillfully to scaffold student learning, to
check students‟ engagement and to establish rapport with students. This may also result
in positive student outcomes.
Project number: 
Core - Panel 4
Appears in Collections:CRPP - Conference Papers

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