New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Science and Language Integration

Marco A. Bravo, Santa Clara University (United States)

Abstract

Many teachers feel inadequately prepared to work effectively with English Learners (ELs), particularly in content areas (Gandara, Maxwell-Jolly & Driscoll, 2005). The challenge that elementary teachers face of engaging an increasingly linguistically diverse population of students in learning about the full array of academic disciplines is particularly significant in science, a discipline that few elementary teachers are well-prepared to teach. In the 2000 Horizon Research National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education, only 33% of elementary teachers reported that they felt well qualified to teach science, as compared to 60% for mathematics and 77% for language arts/reading (Weiss, Banilower, McMahon, & Smith, 2001; Fulp, 2002). In the same survey, only 4% of teachers had undergraduate degrees in science or science education, and 40% reported four semesters or less of college-level science coursework (Fulp, 2002; Weiss et. al., 2001). Given these low levels of preparation, it is not surprising that many teachers feel inadequately prepared to teach science. The more competent teachers feel, the more successfully they teach, and vice versa. (Pajares & Miller, 1994). In the present study, elementary grade teachers taught an 8-week curriculum that integrated language and science instruction. A teacher efficacy and knowledge measure were administered before and after the intervention to a comparison and treatment-group (n=36). Both teachers in the control and treatment condition gained in knowledge over time, F (1, 12) = 7.07, p < .03. While both groups represented gains from pre to post test, the treatment group had stronger gains than the teachers in the control group.

Keywords

Science, pre-service teacher, English learner, Vocabulary 

 

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