Code Switching: Why It Matters and How to Respond


One-third of the children in Head Start and Early Head Start are dual language learners DLLs who are learning English while also learning their home language. Virtually all of these children will code switch. In other words, they mix two or more languages in the same sentence while speaking. It is important that teachers, home visitors, and other staff understand what code switching is, the role it plays in language development, and how to respond to it.

This easy to use workbook defines and describes code switching. It identifies who code switches and explains why code switching matters. It also includes numerous examples of how adults can provide strong language models for children when they code switch. The workbook format allows this resource to be used as a professional development tool that can be completed by an individual or used as activities in group training.

For the complete workbook for Early Head Start and Head Start programs, see Code Switching: Why It Matters and How to Respond [PDF, 5MB].

Source: National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness and the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

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