New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Biological Terminology: an Opportunity for Teaching in Tandem

Jana Poupová, Charles University (Czech Republic)


Precise terminology enables efficient communication between scientists. Therefore being capable of understanding and using scientific terms is an inseparable part of scientific literacy and science teachers should help their pupils to improve this skill. However, several studies proved that the emphasis on scientific vocabulary in science education is too heavy and that science textbooks are overloaded with terms. This is especially true for descriptive terms in biology lessons. There could be so many new words introduced in a biology lesson that it looks rather like a foreign language lesson. If we view a scientific discipline not only as a specific way of thinking but also as a specific way of expressing, we can draw an inspiration for biology from foreign language classes. There is an effective method enabling foreign language learning: the so-called tandem learning. It is based on a bilingual teaching team providing the framework for activities of pupils working in pairs. This article describes how science teacher and language teacher (either native language or Latin teacher) can participate in tandem in order to help secondary school pupils understand biological names and terms better. Since many biological terms and names consist of Latin or Greek word root, knowledge of their formation could make learning easier. A set of tasks for pupils concerning etymology and word-formation of biological terms is described in this paper. These tasks were tested on a secondary school in Prague (Czech Republic). The activities make use of Latin and Greek words to be of international applicability but they can be easily replaced with names and terms in appropriate native language.

KeywordsTeaching in tandem, terminology, etymology, word-formation, biology;


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