Pedagogic functions of teacher-initiated code-switching in a lower-secondary Estonian EFL classroom: a case study
Code-switching, in other words alternating between the target language and the first language of the students in a foreign language classroom is an issue that causes great debate. Its proponents hail its usefulness as an additional teaching resource and an effective communicative strategy, while some of its strongest opponents see it as an inhibiting factor to language acquisition. It has been widely cited that the negative stance towards classroom codeswitching is ideological rather than based on empirical findings (Cummins 2007; Howatt 2004; Levine 2011; Wei & Martin 2009). In order to gain a thorough understanding of classroom code-switching, the aim of this thesis is to investigate the pedagogic role of teacher codeswitching in a lower-secondary Estonian English as a Foreign Language classroom, taking a case-study approach. The main research question the thesis sets out to answer is what pedagogic and interactional functions the teacher-initiated code-switching serves in the particular classroom context. The Introduction of this thesis gives an overview of the structure of the paper, providing a brief insight into the topic of code-switching and presents the rationale for the research. The first chapter of the thesis consists of a literature review covering recent and seminal studies pertaining to the topic of code-switching in connection with pedagogic functions. In addition, relevant concepts and notions such as code-switching, language acquisition, and language policies among others, are explored. The first chapter concludes with describing the chosen methodology of Conversation Analysis and discusses its suitability for the research project. The second chapter of the thesis focuses on reporting on the data gathered via audio-recording of authentic English classes. An overview of the participating teacher and students is given, research methodology and transcription conventions are described and case-by-case analysis of particular code-switching examples is carried out. In the discussion section, findings and limitations of the study are also addressed. The Conclusion summarises the findings of this research.