Session S59b (Wednesday, 2pm, Wartik 106)

P773: An elephant in the room: Irish science teachers’ perception of the problems caused by the language of science - WITHDRAWN

Marie Ryan (University of Limerick, Ireland)

The language of science is a problem that students face in both second and third level education. Wellington and Osborne (2001) claimed that “language is a major barrier (if not the major barrier) to most pupils in learning science” (p. 2). Science has its own language and difficulties presented in acquiring and understanding the language act as barriers for many pupils. The purpose of this paper is to examine the level of awareness of Irish science teachers of the problems which the language of science poses to their pupils. Improving the quality of second-level science education is vital to producing scientifically-literate citizens. The old proverb says that “given a fish, one can eat for a day; taught to fish, one can eat for a lifetime”. We cannot improve second-level science education without addressing the underlying problem of scientific language. Helping students to master the language of science enables them to become fishers themselves, with a lifetime thirst for knowledge and the skills to seek and learn on their own (Staver, 2007).


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