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Disciplinary literacy
Language use in science
Scientific literacy
Language demands of science
Teachers’ perceptions and knowledge
Issue Date: 
Office of Education Research, National Institute of Education, Singapore
Seah, L. H. (2020). Building on teachers’ knowledge about students’ language-related challenges in science. National Institute of Education (Singapore), Office of Education Research.
Language plays a significant role in the learning of science. While teachers in science classrooms generally recognise the importance of language in the learning of science, many of them pay little explicit attention to the language issues. Students’ language-related challenges are at least two-fold: not being able to fully understand the meaning embodied by the language; or the lack of linguistic resources and skills to articulate their understanding accurately. Those students who have difficulty making sense of the scientific language may eventually develop insufficient level of scientific literacy required for higher educational opportunities in science.

To date, existing intervention studies with similar aims to integrate literacy and science instruction have focused mainly on the strategies and conditions for enhancing students’ use of the language in science. It follows that there is a need to examine the extent to which teachers are able to identify the nature of students’ language-related challenges in order to respond with targeted pedagogical support. This research provides the baseline understanding that in turn informs the intervention component of this project. The assumption underlying such a research focus is that the identification of the nature of students’ language-related challenges empowers teachers to diagnose and address students’ related challenges; and make informed pedagogical decisions about which form of interventions will better serve the needs of their students, thereby leading to a better understanding of how language operates to make meaning in science.
Note: Restricted to NIE Staff.
Project number: 
OER 65/12 SLH
Grant ID: 
Education Research Funding Programme (ERFP)
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Education, Singapore
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