"Only When Absolutely Appropriate": Attitudes Toward Codeswitching in a Public Middle School

Keywords ESL, K-12 education, English Language Learners, Middle grades, Bilingualism, Codeswitching, Multilingualism, Second language acquisition, Translanguaging
Keywords ESL, K-12 education, English Language Learners, Middle grades, Bilingualism, Codeswitching, Multilingualism, Second language acquisition, Translanguaging


This study examines educator and student attitudes toward codeswitching in a K-12 public school and the perceived role of languages other than English in the learning environment. Although largely unfounded in recent research, it is commonly assumed by educational practitioners that successful second language (L2) acquisition requires the avoidance of the L1. This view commonly manifests itself in generalized monolingual expectations in public schools. In contrast, current research suggests that codeswitching practices are beneficial for language learners, as well as established bilinguals. This paper seeks to uncover educator and student ideas that permeate our public schools concerning codeswitching and L2 acquisition. In addition, this study offers a sociocultural perspective of multilingual language practices and advocates for codeswitching in school as a valid way for all students to use available linguistic resources. Finally, the need for more extensive educational opportunities regarding multilingual language use is emphasized and encouraged for students and teachers alike.

Author Biography

Mary McLachlan, North Carolina State University
Mary McLachlan is a candidate for the MAT program at NCSU concentrating in ESL. She is also a middle school teacher and is passionate about meeting the needs of ESL students in public school.


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