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The Effectiveness of Classroom Code-switching in Malaysian Science Classrooms

Low, Suk May (2016) The Effectiveness of Classroom Code-switching in Malaysian Science Classrooms. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

In 2003, English for Teaching of Mathematics and Science policy was implemented in Malaysia, requiring teachers to teach these subjects in English through primary to tertiary education. However, this policy was abolished in 2011, leaving schools to decide for themselves the medium of instruction (MOI) for these subjects during the soft-landing period. By 2022, all primary and secondary education is expected to complete the reversion of MOI to Malay. However, this is not applicable to both pre-university and tertiary education where students will continue to learn Mathematics and Science in English. Under such circumstance, it is foreseen that students and teachers in higher education will have problem learning and teaching these subjects when the reversion of MOI to Malay is completed as students will have learnt the subjects fully in Malay before entering higher education. As Malaysia is a multilingual country and most teachers and students speak both English and Malay, the researcher is interested to investigate the effectiveness of classroom code-switching (CS) and the possibility of adopting it as a strategic teaching tool in science classrooms. This research was carried out in three schools in Malaysia in 2013. Lessons conducted by two science teachers from each school were observed and audio-recorded for four hours. Three of these teachers were teaching science in English medium (EMI) whereas the other three had bilingual classrooms, teaching in both Malay and English (BMI). The recordings were then transcribed and analysed for instances of CS and their functions. These teachers were also interviewed about their language and education backgrounds. Students in each class were asked to complete a questionnaire by providing their language background and preferences of MOI for the teaching of science. Having compared both EMI and BMI classes, it is found that CS in EMI classes does provide strategic functions for classroom management and transmit of content knowledge. Students also appear to be very receptive to classroom CS and even view it as a way to improve their language skills.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: code-switching; classroom code-switching; Malaysian science classrooms; translanguaging; bilingual education; multilingualism; English as medium of instruction
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Suk May Low
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2016 15:40
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2017 00:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14340

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