Huria: Journal of the Open University of Tanzania

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Stakeholders’ Opinions on the use of Code Switching/ Code Mixing as Coping Strategies and its Implications for Teaching and Learning in Tanzanian Secondary Schools

M Vuzo


This paper focuses on the opinions of stakeholders on the use of codeswitching for teaching and learning in Tanzania secondary schools althoughexaminations are set in English. English-Kiswahili code switching is employedintensively in the classrooms by both teachers and learners, as a coping strategy toattain meaningful learning. This practice is not permitted officially in Tanzaniaeven though it may be the only possible strategy at the moment to move away fromthe difficulty faced in using English only to communicate in teaching and learning.Specifically the study used interviews, observations and documentary analysis.Major findings from the stakeholders indicate that code switching appeared to be avery natural, obvious and necessary practice. There were various reasons advancedfor teachers and students code switching practices. In addition there were differentmanners in which the two languages were used; reasons for this are explained.Code switching was employed unsystematically despite stakeholders’ preference touse code switching. Code switching as it is used currently does not lead tocompetence in either Kiswahili or English. It is stressed in this paper thatcompetence in English and Kiswahili is beneficial. It is thus recommended toimprove the teaching of English and Kiswahili by using qualified languageteachers. It is also recommended that multilingualism rather than bilingualismthrough code switching is worth encouraging and facilitating. It is important forTanzanian students to learn several languages apart from English and Kiswahiliand gain reasonable competence in them.

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