Science Teachers’ Use of Instructional Language for Effective Science Teaching

By Samuel Ouma Oyoo.

Published by The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 17, 2016 $US5.00

Questionnaire studies on students’ understandings of everyday words commonly used by teachers in science classrooms have revealed nearly identical difficulties that students encounter. While these difficulties have been irrespective of gender and the use of English as a first language, one important highlight is that every day English words cease to be mere English words when used in a scientific context. This paper presents difficulties that students encounter with everyday words when used in a scientific context and was conducted in South Africa. The study participants consisted of grade eleven science students (N = 715) and their respective teachers (N = 20). Data were collected through a questionnaire followed by a focus group and in-depth interviews with both categories of participants. One major revelation is that the approach taken by science teachers in teaching instructional language is a key factor in students’ ability to interpret the meanings of everyday words when used in a scientific context, hence how effectively students learn school science. The findings in this study suggest how to enhance science teachers’ use of instructional language for a more effective teaching of science.

Keywords: Effective Teaching of Science, Instructional Language, Science Teachers, South Africa

The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning, Volume 23, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.33-47. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 17, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 619.229KB)).

Prof. Samuel Ouma Oyoo

Senior Lecturer, Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education, , School of Education, The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa