Barnard, R., Robinson, M., da Costa, N., & da Silva Sarmento, J. (2011). Plurilingualism in University English Classes: A Case Study from Timor-Leste. Language Education in Asia, 2(1), 43-55.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/7710
Codeswitching between languages in English language classrooms has been disparaged by textbook writers, methodologists and educational policymakers in many countries. This paper reports an action research project which examined language use in English classes in Timor-Leste. The first aim was to identify the extent of codeswitching by audio-recording four lessons and the second to explore the teachers’ attitudes in follow-up interviews. Transcript examples of codeswitching show that while one teacher used only English throughout the lesson, the others used varying amounts of Tetum, Portuguese, and Bahasa Indonesia. Extracts from interviews will report the teachers’ views. The data suggests that plurilingualism rather than multilingualism is a more appropriate term for the use of different languages in the increasingly complex linguistic context in which English is taught in many Asian classrooms. The findings also support recent published arguments (e.g., Cook, 2010) for a more positive attitude towards plurilingual use in English language classrooms.
Language Education in Asia