Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Frank Rossi


There has been a tremendous growth of the Hispanic population in the United States leading to a large population of Spanish heritage speakers in our schools. Language diversity in the United States has been maintained primarily because of continuing immigration from non-English speaking countries (Gollnick & Chinn, 2009). Many school districts have adopted several types of programs to educate this growing population. One of the major issues being faced in the classroom concerns language development of learners using code switching. “Code switching, or the alternation of two languages within a single clause, sentence or turn is a complex, rule-governed use of language which offers a unique opportunity for studying some of the more complicated aspects of bilingual speech” (Dearholt & Valdes-Fallis 1978). While some teachers believe that students should only speak in the target language, others are indifferent or flexible with regard to the language students’ use in the classroom. Many of these teachers do not know to handle the situation or haven’t received adequate training to understand this process. This research project investigated the teachers’ knowledge about code switching and how they deal with it in the classroom with the purpose to identify the need of further information about Code Switching and how to use it to their advantage in the classroom.

The method used to investigate this topic consisted of a questioned survey given to teachers of Grades K-8 from Eugenio María de Hostos Charter School. The survey consisted of the following questions: What is your definition of code switching? When do students code switch? Why do you think students code switch? What are your beliefs about code switching in the classroom? From 1 to 5 what are your feelings about students code-switching in the classroom? In what subject areas do you find students code switching? In what subject areas do you find yourself code switching? Do you perceive a higher success in students’ achievements when they code switch? What professional development would you like to see about code switching?

The results of this research have two implications. The first implication from this thesis project would be how educators can enhance instruction to use code switching as language enhancement. The second implication would help educators identify the content areas where students need language instruction to build the vocabulary in the target language.

Product Code Switching Training 3.pptx (4635 kB)
Training for teachers about the use of CS as a tool in the classroom