New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

How is Disciplinary Literacy Taught in the Science Classrooms? A Singapore Case Study

Tang Kok Sing, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)


This paper reports on a study of the classroom practices of four secondary school science teachers in Singapore in order to better understand how and to what extent is disciplinary literacy currently not emphasized in the teaching of science. The study found that the disciplinary language of science terminologies and explanation was only implicitly taught within the predominant practice of teacher-led talk, which occupied about 60% of the classroom time. Through a micro-discursive analysis of the teacher-led talk, it was further found that the implicit teaching of the disciplinary language was embedded in two common practices: (i) using an I-R-E (Initiate-response-evaluate) interaction pattern to frame science terminologies and explanation sequences and (ii) using implicit conjunctions (e.g., because, and, while, so) in the questions and answers of an I-R-E exchange. Based on these findings, future possibilities and suggestions for an explicit form of disciplinary literacy instruction for science teaching and learning are discussed.

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