English Language Project Topics

Code Switching and Code Mixing in Teaching English as a Second Language in Lower or Senior Secondary School.

Code Switching and Code Mixing in Teaching English as a Second Language in Lower or Senior Secondary School.

Code Switching and Code Mixing in Teaching English as a Second Language in Lower or Senior Secondary School.

Chapter One

Objectives of the Study

Main Objectives 

To determine the influence of Code-Switching and Code-Mixing between English and Hausa language in learning of English language subject for secondary schools in Nassarawa State.

Specific Objectives

The specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To find out the reasons for Code-Switching and Code-Mixing in the learning English language in secondary schools in Nassarawa State.
  2. To determine how Code-Switching and Code-Mixing contribute toward students’ success or failure on learning English language.
  3. To examine ways can be used to avoid Code-Switching and Code-Mixing in learning English language.




This chapter examines review of literature, which includes: English language in Nigeria, English subject and education in Nigeria and people’s perception towards the English language have been reviewed. The chapter reviews the importance of teaching the English language, challenges faced in teaching the English language, code-switching and code-mixing in education and English learners perspectives and issues on why teachers and students tend to code-switch and codemix have been discussed. Furthermore, this chapter reviews the theoretical framework of the study, which includes theory of language acquisition and theories of code-switching and code-mixing. Finally are the related studies and summary of the chapter two.

English Language in Nigeria

Talking about English in Nigeria or what Mwinsheikhe (2013) has in general categorized as the post-colonial language, instantaneously evokes notions pertaining to language contact. It was the British colonization of East Africa territories in the first half of the 20th century that brought English into the Region and consequently set off the contact process with indigenous local languages that would subsequently shape the dynamics of linguistic culture as still observed today (Bwege, 2012). The story of English in Nigeria which also implies the story of Hausa provides a perfect illustration of Clyne’s view regarding the concept of interrelationship which is here contextualized in the linguistic cultural landscape (Clyne, 2013). Mwinsheikhe (2013)  noted that after independence in 1961 Hausa was declared as the national language and in 1967 it become the official language and the medium of instruction(MOI) at the primary level of schooling. English language however, has remained a de jure MOI at secondary and tertiary levels of education. Also English language was taught as a subject in primary schools.

English language enjoyed a prestigious status as the language of high level of administration and higher education and Hausa language was subordinated to English as the language of lower level administration and lower education (Batibo, 2015). Campbell-Makin’s (2016) observation illustrates the difficult part of the debate that in Nigeria young people who can barely sustain a conversation  in English have insisted that English should remain the language of instruction for secondary schools (Roy-Campbell,2019). Actually English is spoken by only 5% of the population (Mwinsheikhe, 2018) and is regarded as the second official language in Nigeria. It is mainly used to communicate in international affairs such as politics, trade, diplomacy, science and technology information exchange and tourism (Rubagumya, 2019 in Mlay, 2016) English is the language used in every formal situation, particularly where foreigners, who cannot understand the national language are involved.

It is contended that, if you talk to Nigerians over the age of 50 years the chances are that, they will speak and write English very well and their accent and pronounciation will be good (Allen, 2018). But also Allen added that, today if you speak to people below the age of 50 years there is, a noticeable degradation of the English language ability commensurate with their younger age. There is a marked over-use of the present continuous tense which is grammatically incorrect and where the present simple should be used for example ‘he is having a good house instead (he has a good house) or he is coming from Nigeria (he comes from Nigeria) (Allen, 2018). Despite degradation of the English language ability, still the English language is highly needed in Nigeria as Julius Nyerere announced in a speech that  English was needed in secondary schools in order to encourage Nigerians to learn and value the language (Lwaitama and Rugelamira,2019).





This chapter examines the methods and techniques’ of the research that were used to carry out this study. This chapter begins by presenting the research design and the reasons for choosing the design. The following section is data collection techniques which include interview and class observation. Sampling and sampling techniques is the next section.

Research Design.

This study employed descriptive or diagnostic research design. Because the researcher aimed to observe the real situation of Code-Switching and Code-Mixing was taking place in teaching English language in the classroom. The aim of descriptive research design is to obtain complete and accurate information in the said study; the research design must make enough provision for protection against bias and must maximize reliability (Kothari, 2014). Also descriptive research study often results in the formulation of important principles and knowledge and solution of significant problem.




This chapter deals with presentation and analysis of data through class observation and interviews of different respondents who participated in the study. The study was comprised of 6 class observations done in 3 secondary schools, 24 interviews which involved 6 teachers and 18 students from three secondary schools.

The findings from class observations and interviews shall be presented based on the specific research objectives (under section 1.3) of this study which reads as follows:

  1. To find out the reasons for Code-Switching and Code-Mixing in the learning of English language in secondary schools in Nassarawa State.
  2. To determine how Code-Switching and Code-Mixing contribute toward students’ success or failure of learning the English language.
  3. To examine ways which could be used to avoid Code-Switching and Code-Mixing during the learning English language




The first section of this study is introduction. The second section presents the summary of the major findings. The third section is discussion of the major findings in relation to the research questions and the influence of code-switching and codemixing in learning the English language, in secondary schools as well as measures to be taken to avoid it. The last section is the conclusion, recommendation and suggestions for further studies.

Summaries of the Major Findings

The study has revealed that code-switching and code-mixing influences students’ failure in learning the English language in secondary schools. This is to say the use of both English language and Hausa language makes students not to understand English language as well as not be able to communicate through English language. The findings show that no efforts have been used by teachers to correct wrongly pronounced words, there is poor command to make students in speaking English language, students lack confidence when speaking, also students learn half English half Hausa language. Another is errors in making English sentences, contradiction on how to build English vocabularies because rules of English language differ from Hausa language and lastly but not least code-switching and code-mixing cost students in examinations which are set in English language and require students to use English language only.

The findings show that teachers are the ones who influence students to switch from English to Hausa language because students are aware with the language which is required to be used that is, English. But teachers claim that the purpose is to assist students to understand the subject matter and forget the other side of assisting students to exercise their linguistic repertoires. Also findings show that there is low competence of teachers in English language, the education system of using Hausa language from primary schools while in secondary it changes to English, translation of vocabulary which seems to be difficult to students were noted as the main reasons for code-switching and code-mixing.

Moreover, the findings revealed that there were other ways to avoid code-switching and code-mixing in learning the English language. Those were, teachers should not involve in code-switching and code-mixing when teaching the English language, giving motivation to students who answer questions in class, high efforts to correct mistakes done by students through speaking. Others include, teachers should use simple language by explaining more when students remain silent after asking questions, use of student- centred method to increase student’s participation in speaking the English language, use of Individual Education Programme, and to restrict students to speak English language inside and outside the class.


The study has investigated the influence of code-switching and code-mixing in the learning of English language in secondary schools using Nassarawa State as a case study. It could be concluded that code-switching and code-mixing influenced student’s failure to learn the English language. This is to say code-switching and code-mixing led to lack of confidence to individuals when speaking the English language, limited students practice in speaking the English language, rose contradictions on how to build English sentences, resulted to students’ ability in answering examinations in English, retarded the ability of students to master and understand the English language.

Also, the study found that teachers were the main cause of code-switching and codemixing because they were the ones who could have limited the situation. Furthermore, ways to avoid code-switching and code-mixing were discussed such as, teachers not engaging in code-switching and code-mixing for students to emulate. It was suggested that class motivation, the use of simple language to elaborate questions, use of Individual Education Programme, teachers to give students a lot of exercises and restricting students from using other languages except English language inside and outside the class would make students succeed to learn the English language and avoid code-switching and code-mixing.

Also, the study raises some issues which deserve further consideration for the government, policymakers and schools. More efforts should be placed for English teachers to avoid code-switching and code-mixing so as to improve teaching the English language.

Therefore, practical measures need to be taken by the Government to ensure English teachers got short training courses on how to avoid code-switching and code-mixing, and application of those ways, and for them to improve their English language.


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