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Research Article Open Access

Code-Switching: a Strategy for Teaching and Learning or a Problem in Botswana?

Abstract

This article discusses code-switching as used as a strategy for teaching and learning in selected Botswana primary schools. Codeswitching from Setswana (Botswana’s national language), to English (official language) and vice versa, was observed in both rural and urban primary school classrooms where the language of instruction is supposed to be English in Standard Two and subsequent primary school levels. Through the use of the qualitative approach, this study investigated how the language-in-education-policy is implemented in primary schools. Teachers were the key participants observed at different times and teaching different lessons. Data were collected using open ended questionnaires, classroom observations and interviews. The findings indicated that code-switching from Setswana to English or English to Setswana in this study was used where it was not necessary with ethnic minority learners who did not understand Setswana and where most learners were proficient and competent in English. The findings are significant in that they could help the teachers to reflect on the code switching practices they do unnecessarily and see if they benefit the learners or not and probably refrain from such. The conclusion was that code-switching becomes a problem when teachers

Eureka Mokibelo*

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