Code Switching in Bilingual Classrooms

A Case Study of English Access Microscholarship Program


  • Sham Haidar Department of English, Air University, Islamabad.
  • Zunera Malik Department of Science and Humanities, FAST (NUCES) University, Islamabad.
  • Zara Rizwan Department of English, Air University, Islamabad.
  • Muhammd Waleed Butt Lecturer, NCBA&E, Gujrat


codeswitching, instructional strategy, multilingualism, classroom management, interpersonal communication, knowledge construction


This study analyzes the role of code switching in enhancing students’ understanding and increasing their progress rate in bilingual language teaching classrooms. Students of low socioeconomic status (SES) background studying in public schools in the capital city attend English Access Microscholarship Program at a public sector university in Islamabad after school timings. The United States Consulate runs English Access Microscholarship Program in many countries around the world to provide opportunities to low SES students of learning the English language. In this case study, we observed and audio recorded six one-hour lectures, interviewed twenty students and four teachers to understand their perspectives about code switching in classroom. We used Ferguson’s (2003; 2009) and Cahyani, De Courcy & Barnett’s (2016) categories of code switching as the theoretical framework to analyze the data. We coded the data with these categories along with searching for new aspects of code switching. We found that the most common reason for code switching was classroom management for maintaining the learning atmosphere. Moreover, a new category, which has not been discussed by Ferguson (2003; 2009) or Cahyani et al. (2016), labeled as ‘One-on-One Rapport Building’, is a new contribution of the study. Through code switching, the teachers were aiming to build a personal rapport with individual students.



2020-09-29 — Updated on 2021-03-21