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Code Switching in Literature
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Wrapping It All Up!
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Wrapping It All Up!
As English teachers, it is extremely important to know several things about your students, and knowing their background is amongst the most important, as their background often plays a large role in their reading, writing, and speaking. Where a person comes from can have a big impact on how well they write. Whether they use slang or use proper English, whether they use several run-on sentences or write with correct punctuation, whether they know about mechanics, structure, and style can all be a result of their background. What about students who have a background in both the American style of living, as well as in another? What if a student is fluent in English, but is also a native of another dominant language? These are all questions than came to mind while our group was considering what topic we wanted to choose for our wikipedia project.
What we came across was the concept of code-switching. Code-switching, simply defined, is the use of more than one language in conversation. Quite often, students will hold a conversation in one language and then slip into another language in the midst of what they're saying. A teacher's natural reaction might be a weird facial expression of misunderstanding, which may either cause the student to feel badly, or to maybe even think that his native language is not to ever be mixed with English (assuming that we are speaking of schools of students whose primary language is English). Knowing that code-switching will sometimes happen, and knowing that our role as teachers is to make students feel comfortable in their abilities, we began to research this concept.
Oddly enough, there was not very much on wikipedia about code-switching's affect on students in the English classroom. We searched a few articles, and come to find out, code-switching actually enhances students' writing. Just think about it: if you happen to be fluent in two languages, but your native language is English, you will most likely produce a greater, more exciting, more comprehensive paper if it is written in English rather than in any other language. The same is true for students. If they are allowed to code-switch, their papers will most likely be more engaging than if they are only allowed to use the lanugage that is most preferred in their classroom.
Above all else, our goal was to do some research and to add a new perspective to the wikipedia site. As we know, teachers, professors, and the like review and edit wikipedia pages frequently. Being that wikipedia is almost a "conversation" between professionals, we wanted to add our two cents and see what others had to say about our findings. We have edited the page, taken our snap shot, and are looking forward to what's to come of our "conversation".
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