DepEd Balanga City

IS CODE-SWITCHING EFFECTIVE?

By : Arnyl Joy P. Reyes, Administrative Officer IV

English is a universal language and is being used globally, some people use it as their first language while others like the Philippines use it as a second or third language. It is not confined to a specific setting. It is taught as early as 4 years old, in pre-school. We, Filipinos are not native speakers of the said language but according to studies, we are one of the nations that use the language in an exemplary manner. In education, most subjects are taught in ENGLISH as a medium. Primary schools have the Mother tongue that is being utilized in the early stage of learning. This helps the students to fully understand the subject areas using their first language or dialect.

In linguistics, code-switching or language alternation occurs when a speaker alternates between two or more language varieties, in the context of a single conversation or situation. In the Philippines, most teachers tend to code-switch so that each learner understands the lesson being taught. Listed below are some advantages of using code switches inside the classroom.

  • can motivate students
  • accurately conveyed meaning
  • helps to improve class participation
  • gives positive ambiance in the teaching and learning process
  • it helps the speaker to express himself and present pragmatic meanings

these are just some advantages and many more can be obtained from observation. It helps in the learning process but for some reason, it can be a hindrance too. Here are some setbacks of code-switching. First, when you code switch in subject areas such as Math and Science it affects students’ lesson comprehension. In short, students whose teachers discussed and explained with less disruption like code-switching. Second, code-switching is the sloppy use of language regarded as a corruption of their Mother Tongue and an indication of language deficiency.

Students learn in their unique way. They have their own pace. It will be a useful strategy for classroom interaction and communication, that if it aims to make meaning clear and to transfer knowledge to students in the most efficient way. 

However, in the English language class, code-switching is not allowed because the teacher must use the target language to encourage the learners to speak it. She must prepare learning opportunities that entail the practice of communicating in English.

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