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Code switching and the use of first language (L1) in the classroom has been a controversial topic in the field of linguistics and education. Past research has shown that bilingualism has benefits, and code switching in the classroom enhances student learning and achievement, as well as positive social consequences. However, research inclusive with Hmong middle school speakers is limited. This study seeks to answer the questions of when and why Hmong middle school students use L1 during group work. The findings come from classroom-based research using various methods to obtain information. A questionnaire, recorded speech samples, and interviews regarding the speech samples were analyzed to make conclusions about the use of L1 in the classroom and student perceptions of using L1. The results of the study suggest bilingual students use L1 for academic and social purposes, and that code switching serves a beneficial purpose for these students.