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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 194-201

Influence of student non-mother-tongue language learning on the achievement of intended learning outcomes: Would code-switching help?

Department of Medical Education, College of Medicine, Qassim University, Qassim, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Saleh Ali Alrebish
Department of Medical Education, College of Medicine, Qassim University, Qassim
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjhs.sjhs_140_20

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Background: A stressful learning environment can hinder student achievement. Building on sociolinguistic theory, student learning is enhanced wherever the mother-tongue language is the same as the teaching instruction medium language. The present study aimed to evaluate the influence of students' non-mother-tongue language learning in the achievement of learning outcomes. Materials and Methods: The present study is a perception study with interventional, quantitative, and educational research component comparing the learning of 1st-year medical students in pure English with their learning using code-switching. The data were collected during the 2018/2019 academic year through a quiz and a questionnaire. Eighty-six 1st-year students' perceptions were compared to those of 72 4th-year students using the same questionnaire. Both t-tests and Chi-squared tests were used for the data analysis with SPSS for Windows, Version 21; P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Code-switching students scored higher in the postsession quiz. One-third of the 1st-year students felt that learning in English was stressful, and they cited language issues as reasons for their low scores on examinations. They realized, however, that learning in English had positive consequences on their future careers and suggested that a bilingual approach be used, especially in the early stages and for complex topics. Fourth-year students were less apprehensive about learning in English. Conclusions: Ensuring appropriate English language proficiency during the admission process to medical schools and the use of simple, clear language during teaching with code-switching when needed are likely to decrease student stress during learning. This is likely to enhance students' achievement of the intended learning outcomes and maximize their performance after graduation.

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