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Towards EFL Teachers’ Code-Switching in Trilingual Classroom

Author: LiuQuanGuo
Tutor: JiangQiuXia
School: Northwest Normal University
Course: Curriculum and Pedagogy
Keywords: trilingualism EFL teachers code-switching code-switching in classroom
CLC: H319
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2007
Downloads: 1126
Quote: 12
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We find ourselves in a world with various nationalities and multilingualism in which cross-lingual communication is rather frequent. In bilingual and multilingual communities, it is a common sociolmguistic phenomenon that communicators switch their linguistic codes among two or more languages. Classroom is a special communicative field in which learners and teachers construct knowledge and culture, and communication in classroom is fulfilled through classroom discourse. In multilingual context, class discourse is largely realized and maintained by means of code-switching which also characterizes teachers’ classroom discourse. This study treats teachers’ code-switching in EFL classroom in trilingual context.Chapter One of the dissertation is an introduction to the research background, significance and originalities of the present study. It is advanced firstly that trilingual education is based upon the multicultural education pedagogically and upon the development of bilingual education theoretically and practically. In addition, the research into trilingual code-witching becomes all the more important and significant due to the fact that trilingual education is a newly-developed research subject. The present study is of considerable significance in that it not only enriches the research of code-switching both in general setting and in classroom context, fosters conceptualization and implementation of trilingual education, but provides the implications for the EFL education for ethnic minority learners. Chapter One ends with the characteristics and originalities of the study. The study is original in the following aspects: 1) the conceptualization of the contributive patterns and generative model of EFL teachers’ code-switching in trilingual classroom; 2) the analysis of the cultural ecology in trilingual education; 3) the provision of the interpretation of the characteristics of teachers’ discourse in trilingual classroom; 4) the illustration of the curriculum, linguistic value, and cultural pursuit of trilingual education; and 5) the characteristics and originalities of the research design.Chapter Two is devoted to the review of literature concerning code-switching in the past five decades. This chapter starts with the origin of code-switching, the definitions, diachronic development and categorization of the notion, followed by the clarification of the three confusing terms: code-switching, borrowing and nonce borrowing, and finally ends with the introduction to the research traditions and approaches of code-switching in different branch disciplines of linguistics. Some classical theories and researches are presented in sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, grammar, conversation analysis as well as pragmatics respectively.Chapter Three of the dissertation reviews the representative theories and case studies in regard to classroom code-switching in the past two decades. This chapter first focuses upon the characteristics of the research in this regard, and then treats a variety of issues involved in class communication such as the function of class discourse, the communication research of code-switching in classroom, as well as the conversation analysis approach, the ethnographic approach, and socio-cultural approach. Theoretical presentation and case study reviews will both be applied to treat each topic.Chapter Four is a provision of issues concerning the research design such as rationale, research questions, research framework, research methods, the area, schools and teachers for case study, and the collection, processing and analysis of the data. Theoretically, this study is based upon educational anthropology, contact linguistics, classroom discourse analysis and theory of linguistic adaptation. The research questions are designed to include the distributive features, contributive patterns and generative model, and educational reflections of code-switching in trilingual classroom. The research framework consists of three steps (distribution description-model conceptualization-educational reflection), double perspectives (linguistic and non-linguistic) , and six causal factors (ethnic identity and educational background, relative trilingual proficiency, duration of language contact, value judgment of and attitude towards three languages, value judgment of and attitude towards three cultures ). A variety of methods are applied to approach the subject matter, to be specific, both case studies and theoretical research are employed for the general research design, the methods of educational anthropology such as field work, class observation and interview are used to collect data, and descriptive statistic analysis and discourse analysis are applied to process and analyze the data. The case subjects are selected from The High Boarding Tibetan School of Maqu County and The Primary Boarding Tibetan School of Maqu County, the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gannan, Gansu Province. The end of this chapter describes how the data are processed and analyzed.Detailed descriptions are also available to deal with the research questions, the framework conceptualization, approaches, the selection of sample schools, classes and the subject of the case studies, and the gathering and processing of the data. This part further explains the research pattern consisting of "three steps, double levels and six causal factors".In light of the statistics, Chapter Five of the dissertation provides a descriptive analysis of the distributive features of the code-switching in this study from five perspectives: the three languages involved in switching, the three structural categories, the two functional categories, the duration of language maintenance, and the six causal factors.Based upon the descriptive analysis in Chapter Five, Chapter Six first sorts out the three principal causal factors (ethnic identity and education background, relative trilingual proficiencies and duration of language contact) from the six possible ones, and then works out the functional model and mechanism between the three factors and the code-switching one by one, and in the end, develops an integrative model to interpret how the three factors affect the switching pattern in an integrative way. In developing each model, we follow a tertiary operational procedure of "cross-tabulation of frequencies distribution-scheme interpretation and description-data exemplification" as well as a logical order of "statistics-theories-data".In Chapter Seven, we conceptually reflects upon some key issues in relation to code-switching from the perspective of education science. We firstly treats the relationship between code-switching and teachers’ classroom discourse, then provides a cultural-ecological interpretation of the trilingual code-switching in classroom, and finally reflects upon the professional development of trilingual EFL teachers.It is concluded in Chapter Eight that:1) linguistic proficiencies in three languages play a considerable part in code-switching of EFL teachers in trilingual context; the inter-sentential switching outweighs the intra-sentential switching both in frequencies and percentage; discourse-related switching also outweighs participant-related switching in frequencies and percentage; the EFL is maintained longest in EFL classroom and the language maintained second longest depends upon learners’ higher proficiency in Chinese or Tibetan.2) Ethnic identity and educational background is the major causal factor of EFL teachers’ Chinese-English switching in trilingual classroom; duration of language contact and relative trilingual proficiencies are the two principal contributors to the English-Tibetan switching; while Tibetan-English switching is mainly driven by EFL teachers’ ethnic identity and education background, as well as the duration of language contact; English-Chinese switching is also largely motivated by the duration of trilingual contact; and Chinese-Tibetan switching is determined by trilingual proficiency to a considerable extent. Meanwhile, psychologically, the switching is mainly motivated by a procedure of psychological projection, trilingual system conceptualization and the mentality of trilingual selection.3) The educational reflections upon this study indicate: firstly, in trilingual context, the teachers’ classroom discourse is characterized by the multilingual involvement, flexibility in strategy option as well as the extension and strengthening of the domination of teachers’ discourse. Secondly, the discourse movement and code-switching are largely affected by two cultural ecological mechanisms: enculturation and cultural manipulation. Thirdly, the status quo of EFL trilingual teachers are characterized by unbalanced trilingual proficiencies, poor cultural awareness, and little knowledge of trilingual education and trilingual code-switching, therefore, suggestions are advanced in the end to provide them further education. Fourthly, in trilingual context, the EFL curriculum for ethnic minorities is characterized by plurality of aims, complexity of organization and variety of resources. Meanwhile, it is of great necessity to understand the linguistic values of EFL education for ethnic minority learners. To be specific, firstly, we should not only have a deep understanding of the distribution, construction, function as well as communicative effects of the three languages, but also have a comparative study of the three languages and thus provide the standardization and guidance for the trilingual education. In the end, it is advanced that trilingual EFL provision for ethnic minority should pursue to develop learners’ multicultural value system in which first language culture and mother language culture take the central position and EFL culture plays a vital role.

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CLC: > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Language teaching
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