AbstractFor much of the twentieth century, teacher use of codeswitching (CS) was seen as a contentious issue within ELT, because of the assumption that English is best taught and learned without the use of students’ first language (L1). In recent decades, however, studies focusing on the context of EFL classrooms where teachers and students share the same L1(s) call for a re-examination of the role of the L1 in classroom instruction. However, in China, ‘English-only’, the exclusive use of English as the medium of instruction, has been viewed as an ‘unwritten rule’ by many ELT institutions, which is inconsistent with the CS practices of many teachers in their teaching.
This thesis explores teachers’ CS practices and their perceptions of CS use in university EFL classrooms in China. The study employed (1) semi-structured interviews to investigate teachers’ views towards L1 use, (2) audio-recorded classroom observations to examine the practice of CS by the teachers in the classroom, and (3) follow-up stimulated-recall interviews to elicit teachers’ rationales for their CS practices. The findings indicate that teachers’ perceptions of CS use, and their classroom practices in specific circumstances, are more complex than has previously been acknowledged. The findings show that the majority of teachers, while recognizing the importance of English use in the EFL classroom, identify a range of valuable functions for L1 use in their teaching. From a pragmatic perspective (Verschueren, 1999), the study identifies a number of individual, environmental and classroom-specific factors that may affect teacher CS use in the EFL classroom. The study offers empirical evidence for EFL teachers regarding L1 use in their teaching, affirms the value of L1 use, and sheds light on how and why the L1 may be used in EFL classrooms.
|Date of Award
|19 Jun 2019
|Janina Iwaniec (Supervisor) & Katie Dunworth (Supervisor)