Bridging the Literacy Gap: Teaching the Skills of Reading and Writing as They Apply in School Science
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RMIT University, Bandoora, VIC, AUSTRALIA
Publication date: 2009-01-22
EURASIA J. Math., Sci Tech. Ed 2009;5(3):289–304
Whereas science teachers in the last century were trained to place empirical activities at the heart of school science (Yore, Bisanz & Hand, 2003) and give relatively less attention to language issues, fundamental literacy (as defined by Norris & Phillips, 2003) is now recognised as having a crucial role in learning science. However, there have been few research reports detailing just how experienced secondary science teachers go about teaching the language and literacies necessary for school science, especially for students who have low literacy skills. This paper explores the literacy-teaching practices of a teacher of “learning support” students during a double-period Earth science class. While the focus was on the science content, many reading and writing skills were taught either as part of the lesson plan or incidentally, thus ensuring that all students could participate more fully. Implications for science teaching and teacher professional development are discussed.