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Code-Switching in the EFL Classroom: Yeah or Nay?

Fr. Ronnie L. Torres, OMI, Ph.D.
Saint Nicholas School
228 Wisutkasat Road, Mueang District, Phitsanulok, 65000, Thailand



Code-switching between bilingual and multilingual teachers and students at St. Nicholas School (SNS) is a natural and inescapable language phenomenon. This motivated the researcher to study whether code-switching affected teachers and students negatively or favorably, particularly in terms of their academic activity. The researcher specifically delved into how English teachers and students in EFL classes at SNS saw code-switching and perceive the methods, purposes, and issues that came with it. To find out how respondents feel about code-switching, this study employed a mixed-methods research methodology and an adapted questionnaire to collect data. According to the study, code-switching has a ton of advantages for students and teachers, making teaching and learning rich, fruitful, and engaging. Also, it aided in the accomplishment of educational objectives, made it easier to understand complex ideas, and sped up the process of acquiring language abilities. Despite the positive outcome, some drawbacks impair teachers’ and students’ ability to communicate, particularly when dealing with English-only speakers when they are immersed in the outside world. Also, when utilized improperly, it might have compromised the teaching-learning process. Code-switching in the classroom is therefore both a yeah and a nay! To optimize the benefits of code-switching, the study suggested finding a balance. The long-term harmful effects of learning a language can be avoided in large part by teachers. The usage of the target language should be required in classroom settings where formal education takes place. Code-switching can only be used to bridge the gap between the text and the pupils’ comprehension if there is a communication breakdown. Only in such circumstances are code-switching instances tolerable, if not acceptable. When two languages are sufficiently developed, code-switching will finally produce more intellectual advantages than disadvantages.

Keywords: English language; code-switching; EFL classroom, EFL teachers; Thai English Language Classrooms

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