Male and Female Secondary School EFL Teachers’ Code- Switching to L1 in their Classes: their Attitudes, Reasons and Beliefs about the Functions of Code-Switching

  • Assefa Dereje
  • Yigzaw Abiy


This study explored male and female secondary school EFL teachers’ attitudes, reasons and beliefs about the functions of code-switching to L1 (Amharic) in their classes. The participants of the study were all the available (38 male and 19 female) English language teachers in seven secondary schools in Bahir Dar City and satellite towns. A questionnaire with 55 items was used to gather data. The results revealed that the majority of female and male EFL teachers claimed 90% use of English and 5-10% Amharic in their English classes. 73.68 % female and 10.53 % male teachers had positive attitudes towards L1 use and their acknowledgement of its benefits also reflected their attitudes. Male teachers claimed that they frequented inter-sentential codeswitching while female teachers did intra-sentential type. Teachers’ reasons for codeswitching include their poor English competence, students’ poor English comprehension, and teachers’ interest to communicate with students and students’ anxiety reduction. The majority of male teachers preferred to use L1 for ‘secondary acquisition’ and ‘disciplinary functions, while the majority of female teachers preferred it for ‘rapport building (socializing)’ macro functions, and for defining new vocabulary and explaining grammar sub-functions. From the findings, it was concluded that English teachers use Amharic for different purposes. Male and female teachers, however, have why and when they use it. The disparity may suggest that there is dearth of pedagogical orientation and decision making concerning how they could use the L1 judiciously.

Keywords: Code-switching, L1, Macro-function, sub-function, attitude, reason, belief


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 1998-8907