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The teacher’s codeswitching and the learner’s strategic response: Pursuing a research agenda Ernesto Macaro University of Oxford 1.

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Presentation on theme: "The teacher’s codeswitching and the learner’s strategic response: Pursuing a research agenda Ernesto Macaro University of Oxford 1."— Presentation transcript:


2 The teacher’s codeswitching and the learner’s strategic response: Pursuing a research agenda Ernesto Macaro University of Oxford 1

3 outline Importance of the topic Different backdrops to the topic Research carried out over a number of years Defining codeswitching Recommendations to practitioners 2

4 1997 3

5 Findings Most teachers believed L2 should be predominant language Most teachers felt limited L1 was useful L1 facilitated setting up tasks (collaborative learning) L1 sometimes needed to explain new lexical items which arise in interaction 4

6 Why? Me? Not many answers? Slippery issue? So much interest? Why focus on teacher? Why the huge pendulum swing? 5

7 6 1980s L1 use banned 1960s Frequent L1 use accepted Theoretical perspectives

8 Why the huge pendulum swing? s L1 use banned 2000s L1 use accepted Theoretical perspectives

9 Recent prominent publications Guy Cook (2010). Translation in language teaching. OUP Glenn Levine (2011). Code choice in the language classroom. Multilingual Matters 8

10 This way 9

11 Native speaker teacher Non-native speaker teacher Backdrop 1 10

12 NS/NNS teacher ‘English-only’ ; ‘English-through-English’; ‘Full- English’ Only an issue in EFL Global political status of English (lingua franca) ‘native’ is imprecise and contestable Not the language you hear at birth; language you can best operate in 11

13 Monolingual teacher Bilingual teacher 12

14 advantages and disadvantages the presence of two languages in the classroom a constant source of intellectual stimulation opportunity to reflect on pedagogy Monolingual teacher: main challenge how to communicate with students Bilingual teacher: every action involves a major pedagogical decision 13

15 sociolinguisticSocio-cultural Backdrop 2 14

16 Socio-cultural classrooms are communities of practice Language is a tool for learning Interaction needs to be ‘authenticated’ (Van Lier) 15

17 Socio-cultural Studies L1 has therefore been identified as a tool with which the individual not only thinks about language during use, the ‘inner voice’ for working out the task in question, but also the tool with which s/he progresses the task with others. The evidence so far, however, is that it facilitates classroom interaction, not language acquisition per se. evidence that codeswitching among learners develops their interlanguage or their language skills is thin. 16

18 Linguistic imperialism? Negotiated Learning? Excuse for GTM? the use of the L1 and the amount of that use cannot be left undetermined. No study shows positive outcomes of a classroom typified by impoverished L2 input and interaction 17

19 18 Do children & adults prefer monolingual or bilingual teachers? How do children & adults respond to EO and CS? Research Questions No teacher preference; different attributes valued Children welcome CS more than adults but adults like some CS too Findings Macaro & Lee (with reviewers)

20 Research Question: Does CS by learners in tasks lead to ‘eventual’ greater Willingness to Communicate (WTC)? Finding: A tentative ‘yes’. Longer productions at least 19 Maria Vrikki, doctoral study in process

21 Research question: Does a bilingual assistant + permission to CS result in greater fluency? Finding: Another tentative ‘yes’ 20 Macaro, Nakatani, Hayashi & Khabbasbashi (2012 forthcoming) LLJ

22 Backdrop 3 Teacher professionalism Teacher integrity Teacher reflection National language policy 21

23 Her Majesty’s Inspectors in the UK 22 “learners had no problem understanding lessons competently taught entirely in the target language” No problem understanding If lesson competently taught Circularity?

24 Classroom L1 use around the world 2% -5% (Kong & Zhang, 2005), 4% - 12% (Macaro, 2001), 0 – 18% (Rolin-Ianziti & Brownlie, 2002), 0% - 60% (Levine, 2003), 0% - 90% (Duff & Polio, 1990) ‘pragmatic’? Unprincipled and ad hoc? 23

25 FUNCTIONS of L1 use: contrasting L1 and L2 forms, providing metalinguistic cues, Translating lexical items giving L1 explanations of previously used L2 utterances, providing instructions for carrying out tasks, prompting L2 use, commenting on social events, eliciting learner participation, classroom management Short-cut to learning 24

26 The L1 as a short cut to learning 25 ? What does that mean?


28 27 How much L1 am I allowed to use? oh the research says teachers are using anything between 0% and 90% Oh right, thank you very much, that’ll do nicely!

29 Research on novice teachers Principles to react to: It is important to expose learners to the target language and to interact in the target language Findings (over a year) Positive at first; changes slightly as year progressed 28

30 Teacher positions on the value of the L1 Virtual position Maximal position Optimal position 29

31 Backdrop 4 CLILMOI Content- based language learning Immersion ? Meaning-focus and alternative purpose 30

32 Medium of instruction Research question: Does switching to EngMOI, lead to a change in interaction? Finding: A fairly strong ‘yes’ 31 Lo, Y.Y. and Macaro E. (2012). The medium of instruction and classroom interaction: evidence from Hong Kong secondary schools. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 15, 1,

33 Backdrop 5 codeswitching The interaction hypothesis 32

34 Codeswitching and vocabulary Research question: Does teacher codeswitching to provide lexical information result in greater vocabulary learning than L2- only information? Findings ‘Yes’, but…… 33 Tian & Macaro 2012 forthcoming. Language Teaching Research

35 Backdrop 6 Teacher codeswitching Learner’s strategic reaction 34 Macaro (with reviewers)

36 Research Method Year 9 learners learning French in UK After listening to a text teacher attempted to explain new lexical using L2 definition, paraphrase and contextualization (video- recorded) Stimulated recall some days later Reverse procedure: new items explained in L1 Students asked for preferences 35

37 Findings Students’ strategies for understanding the L2 word very limited: almost entirely reliant on the cognate nature of the word Students’ strategies for understanding the L2 explanations very limited: almost entirely reliant on the cognate nature of any word in the teacher’s (spoken) explanation 36

38 Conclusion If teachers want to put across the meaning of new lexical items (i.e. L2 only approach) they will need to: Train/help their students to cope with L2-only input. Alternative strategies to cognates. 37

39 A codeswitching approach (versus use of L1) Intra- sentential switching Naturalistic Codeswitching is rule-bound Principled use of codeswitching 38

40 Example of intra-sentential codeswitching Cara XXXXXX solo una breve nota: non comparare un B.Sc. 2:1 con una laurea del vecchio ordinamento italiano. E' molto unfair. La laurea italiana del vecchio ordinamento durava di media 7 anni, e meno del 30% degli iscritti al primo anno completava gli studi. Invece un bachelor inglese dura 3 anni e con delle percentuali di drop out come quelle italiane qui un dipartimento verrebbe chiuso immediatamente per poor teaching. Se prendi un first class student inglese e lo fai studiare per 7 anni sarebbe preparato quanto noi. Non credo a superiorita' genetiche!!! (Italian L1; English L2) from an Italian academic to another (both living in UK)

41 Chinese teacher explaining to bilingual children how crickets make their noise dui, RUB, women jintian jixu shang xishuai zhe ke. Nimen zuotian zai ESL xuele yige xin si DEVELOPMENT. Na shi shenme yisi. 40

42 Learner L1 concept bilingual monolingual Information: L1 options Information: L2 options Definition Paraphrase Circumlocution Exposition Contextualization Synonym/antonym Hierarchical exemplification Definition Paraphrase Circumlocution Exposition Contextualization Synonym/antonym Hierarchical exemplification L2 concept Co-construction of meaning Teacher as dictionary designer 41

43 Practical implications for the bilingual teacher Reject the ‘maximal position’ both for yourself and for those you are training to be teachers BUT! The ‘optimal position’ requires constant justification and heart-searching! Changing to L2 as the Medium of Instruction (CLIL) requires training; otherwise the interaction may become monologic. 42

44 Practical implications for the bilingual teacher Ask your students what they do when they try to work out what you are saying in L2; particularly how they work out the meaning of a new word from your information about that new word. (particularly younger learners) need help in coping with teacher L2 input. Try to think of yourself as a walking dictionary and dictionary designer 43

45 44

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