AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Code Switching in the Malaysian ESL Classroom

by Joanna Tiffany Selamat

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: Code; Switching; ESL; Classroom; Second; Language; teaching; Education; SLA; learning; bilingual; Malaysia
Record ID: 1312172
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/4909


This study explores the perceptions and beliefs of teachers and students regarding the practice of code switching in Malaysian ESL classrooms. It also examines the roles and functions of code switching in the classroom. Ten teachers and sixty students from two secondary schools in Tenom, Malaysia were involved in this study. Data were collected through questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and classroom observations. It was found that teachers and students generally exhibit positive attitudes towards code switching in the classroom and perceive its pedagogical merits as an effective teaching and learning resource. However, the teachers also voiced their concerns about the negative implications of code switching, which they believe can undermine the language learning process. The conflicting opinions surrounding code switching in target language classrooms could be attributed to the prevalent monolingual principles in SLA. Analyses of classroom observation data revealed that code switching is employed by both teachers and students to perform various functions in the ESL classroom. It was observed that code switching by the teachers is used mainly to facilitate students’ comprehension and knowledge of target language grammar. It is also used to mitigate the students’ learning anxieties. Code switching is used by students as a learning strategy to compensate for their limited competence in the target language. It is imperative that education authorities and policy planners acknowledge the limitations in the current curriculum and implement the necessary changes to address these issues.