Code Switching in Tai Dam Classrooms in Nakon Pathom, Thailand

By Chamaipak Tayjasanant.

Published by The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies

Format Price
Published online: April 01, 2014 $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Tai Dam, an ethnic language of Vietnamese immigrants, is among the minority languages facing a decline in their use among the younger generation in Thailand. Efforts have been made to preserve the ethnic language through education programs. Based on an awareness that the proper use of students’ first language serves useful pedagogical and social functions in multi-ethnic classrooms, the present case study thus examined: 1) the teacher’s beliefs about Tai Dam teaching and learning, classroom language and codeswitching; 2) his classroom language use, code switching types and functions; and 3) his students’ language use and functions. The observational and interview data, collected from one native teacher of Tai Dam and his students at two schools in Nakon Pathom, revealed: 1) the teacher’s belief in teaching Tai Dam to preserve the language and culture through traditional methods, using Tai Dam as a sole classroom medium; 2) his small number of switches to Central Thai, most of which were inter-sentential switches used to present new information; and 3) his students’ main use of Tai Dam for passive functions. Overall, the study shed some light to language teachers on appropriate codeswitching, and to policy makers in providing appropriate training to teachers of ethnic languages.

Keywords: Tai Dam, Classroom Interaction, Codeswitching, Pedagogic Goals

The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1, April 2014, pp.1-17. Published online: April 01, 2014 (Article: Print (Spiral Bound)). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 687.341KB).

Dr. Chamaipak Tayjasanant

Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand

Chamaipak Tayjasanant is an assistant professor at the Department of Foreign Languages at Kasetsart University, Thailand. She obtained a PhD in Education (TEFL) from the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at the University of Exeter, UK. She is currently in charge of teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate courses with particular interest in teacher cognition, and language, culture, nature and communication. Her recent articles were "Language teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding the appropriateness of communicative methodology: A case study from Thailand" published in The Journal of Asia TEFL, Volume 7 Number 2, Summer 2010; and "Thai University Students’ Understanding and Perception of English Metaphors in News Articles" published in The International Journal of The Humanities, Volume 9 Issue 10. Her other current work is in the area of language maintenance, and classroom interaction.