The functions of teacher code switching in classrooms, and teachers’ perceptions towards this practice : a case study of siSwati-English interactions in a semi-urban high school in Eswatini

Stromvig, Hlobsile (2018-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of the study is to investigate the occurrence and functions of teacher code switching in classrooms, in a semi-urban school in Eswatini and to find out the attitude of the teachers towards this practice. The study was motivated by the observation that code switching is common practice in Eswatini, in general everyday conversations and in classrooms interactions between teachers and learners. This is despite the language- in- education policy which dictates that the medium of instruction from the fifth year of school onwards should be English only. Another motivating factor was the increased rate of failures in the English Language and Literature subjects in Eswatini public schools which calls for strategies and interventions to alleviate the situation. This study specifically investigates whether high school teachers code switch between English and siSwati during English Language and Literature lessons, given that their subject matter is English and that their learners have had English as medium of instruction for many years. The data comprises classroom observations and semi-structured interviews of English language and literature teachers in one of the national schools in Eswatini. The data was analysed within the framework of Myers-Scotton’s (1993) Markedness Model, with the aim of identifying the functions of teacher code switching and establishing if code switching is an effective teaching strategy for learners to whom English is a second language. The findings of the study confirm the dilemma faced by teachers due to the language-in-education policy, which conflicts with the practice in the classroom. Teachers resort to code switching to help learners access meaning, although code switching is generally viewed negatively by said teachers. The results of the study further confirm that code switching is a necessary and effective tool in educational contexts; it encourages classroom interaction and aids learners’ understanding of difficult concepts. It is hoped that the results of the study will inform stakeholders in education, especially policy makers about the value and effectiveness of code switching in educational contexts and possibly lead to legitimising code switching or at least embracing it as standard practice in classrooms.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van die studie is om die voorkoms en funksies van onderwyserkodewisseling in klaskamers in 'n semi-stedelike skool in Eswatini te ondersoek en om uit te vind wat die houding van die betrokke onderwysers teenoor hierdie praktyk is. Die studie is gemotiveer deur die waarneming dat kodewisseling ʼn algemene praktyk in Eswatini is, oor die algemeen (in alledaagse gesprekke) en in klaskamerinteraksies tussen onderwysers en leerders. Dit is ten spyte van die taal-in-onderwysbeleid wat bepaal dat die onderrigmedium vanaf die vyfde skooljaar slegs Engels moet wees. Nog 'n motiverende faktor was die stygende aantal druipelinge in die vakke Engelse Taal en Engelse Letterkunde in publieke skole in Eswatini; strategieë en intervensies word benodig is om die situasie aan te spreek. Hierdie studie ondersoek spesifiek of hoërskoolonderwysers kodewissel tussen Engels en siSwati tydens Engelse Taal- en Engelse Literatuurlesse, aangesien hul vak Engels is en hul leerders al vir baie jare Engels as onderrigtaal het. Die data bestaan uit klaskamerwaarnemings en semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude met Engelse Taal- en Letterkunde-onderwysers in een van die nasionale skole in Eswatini. Die data is geanaliseer binne die raamwerk van Myers-Scotton se 1993 Gemarkeerdheidsmodel, met die doel om die funksies van onderwyserkodewisseling te identifiseer en vas te stel of kodewisseling 'n effektiewe onderrigstrategie is vir leerders wat Engels as hul tweede taal het. Die bevindings van die studie bevestig die dilemma wat onderwysers in die gesig staar as gevolg van die taal-in-onderwysbeleid wat in stryd is met die klaskamerpraktyk. Onderwysers gebruik kodewisseling om leerders te help om begrip te ontwikkel, ten spyte daarvan dat kodewisseling oor die algemeen in ʼn negatiewe lig deur genoemde onderwysers beskou word. Die resultate van die studie bevestig verder dat kodewisseling 'n noodsaaklike en effektiewe instrument in opvoedkundige kontekste is; dit moedig klasdeelname aan en help leerders om moeilike konsepte te begryp. Die hoop is dat die bevindinge van hierdie studie belanghebbendes in die onderwys (veral beleidsmakers) sal inlig oor die waarde en effektiwiteit van kodewisseling in opvoedkundige kontekste en moontlik sal lei tot die legitimering van kodewisseling of minstens tot die erkenning daarvan as standaardpraktyk in die klaskamer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105024
This item appears in the following collections: