n Journal of Educational Studies - Code switching in the learning of mathematics word problems in Grade 10




This study investigates the effects of code switching in the learning of mathematics word problems in Grade 10. The research used Cummins' language acquisition theory to inform the study. Ethnographic qualitative research design was employed whereby classroom observations and semi-structured interviews were used as data collection techniques. The use of multiple data collection techniques was to ensure credibility and dependability of the study. The sample consisted of 60 learners and 2 mathematics teachers. The sample was purposively drawn from a population of 1 235 learners and 49 teachers. The findings revealed that even though code switching could be beneficial in the learning and teaching of mathematics, it was difficult for learners and teachers to use it in a way that enhanced the learning of mathematics word problems because of the barriers in the use of mathematical language. It is recommended that teachers should exercise care when using code switching, especially when dealing with topics that involve mathematics word problems, as such topics are more aligned to particular forms of mathematical language that could not [easily] be translated to IsiXhosa.


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