How Physics Teachers Use and Think about Language during Teaching: The Explanations and Implications

By Samuel Ouma Oyoo.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Findings from empirical research and literature review on difficulties science students encounter with words of the instructional language used in science have made it apparent that science teachers’ talk during teaching may be an important factor on the level of students’ understandings and retention of the science concepts. The manner of use of instructional language during teaching as a factor in quality of learning of school science has however remained a rare focus in science education research. This article reports and discusses findings in an investigation of physics teachers’ approaches to and perspectives on use of language during teaching. Direct classroom observations, face to face interviews as well as audiotaping of participant teachers’ verbatim classroom talk, were used as the methods of data collection. Interpretive approaches including content analyses of the verbatim classroom utterances of participant teachers were used in the analysis of the data. Participant physics teachers’ approaches to use of language during teaching and their opinions on their practice provide evidence of when physics teachers may contribute to making the learning of science concepts more difficult to their students. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings on initial preparation and continuing professional development of school physics teachers.

Keywords: Physics Teaching, Classroom Language Use, Initial Preparation of Teachers, Professional Development of Teachers

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp.169-184. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.217MB).

Prof. Samuel Ouma Oyoo

Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Communcation, Technology and Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, Maseno University, Maseno, Kenya

Formerly an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Educational Development, Eastern Africa of The Aga Khan University (AKU-IED, EA) located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, I currently belong to the Department of Educational Communication, Technology and Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, Maseno University, Maseno, Kenya. I coordinate and teach Physics Education Courses and Educational Research Methods at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. A graduate of both Nottingham and Leeds Universities in the United Kingdom, I also hold a PhD in Education from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. My research interests cover the general area of teaching and learning school science including approaches to research in science education.


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