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Title: Teacher code-switching in a multilingual classroom
Authors: Gwee, Susan Bee Yen
Issue Date: Apr-2006
Citation: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, 2006
Abstract: 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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