Title

A Study of Pre-service Teachers’ Use of Academic Language and Discourse in Science Teaching

Proposal Type

Event

Presenter Information

Sanghee ChoiFollow

Keywords

Teacher Education, Academic Language, Science Teaching

Subject Area

Education

Description/Abstract

Recently science education supports research-based teaching and learning practices in order for prospective teachers to develop necessary skills to support the academic needs of all students. The use of language, written or oral, is critical in effective teaching and learning of science. According to new science education reform documents, notably the Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2012) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS, 2013), by the time all American students graduate from high school they should have the knowledge and skills to be able to engage in the public dialogue on “science-related issues and be critical consumers of scientific information related to their everyday lives (p.9),” In addition to this, the new national standards in teacher education highlight the importance of authentic student learning as crucial evidence of teacher candidate performance (NCATE, 2008).

That means prospective teachers are expected to develop abilities to support students’ oral and written use of academic language to deepen subject matter understandings. This study calls for further research on examining the use of pre-service teachers’ science specific academic language in their science instruction and its development through field experiences in the elementary classroom. Additionally, this study will assess the effect of pre-service teachers’ science specific academic language on student use of academic language. The following research questions were generated: 1) What patterns/levels emerge across pre-service teachers with respect to the academic language they use during science instruction?; And 2) To what extent do teachers’ use of science specific academic language impact student use of academic language.

This study suggested that teachers needed to develop more attention to the nature and general difficulty of the academic language of the science classroom. This study further revealed that the different levels and reasons for use of language during teaching seemed to derive from inadequate subject content knowledge and ineffective use of and lack of academic conversation skills. The amount of explanations of science specific academic language seemed to depend on length of teaching experiences and the level and scope of teacher training. Therefore, it is expected that further analysis of data for this study will reveal more evidence for discussion of the impact of the field experience on the development of academic language in science and impact of teachers’ use of science specific academic language on student use of academic language.

Bio

Dr. Sanghee Choi is a faculty member at the University of North Georgia. She is teaching science content courses for elementary and middle schools and science methods as well as research and curriculum/assessment courses to undergraduate and graduate students. She has five years of teaching experience in high school and she is entering her sixth year at the University of North Georgia. Her research interests include innovative curriculum development and teaching strategies for pre-service and in-service teachers for K-8, especially in the context of Professional Development Schools. She has been dedicated to bringing meaningful science learning for all as well as improving teaching effectiveness through local and state grant projects (e.g., Math and Science Partnership grant by the Georgia Department of Education) the GA. In 2014, she was awarded the UNG Presidential Professional Engagement Award with the project, “A Study of Pre-service Teachers’ Use of Academic Language in Science Teaching and Its Impact on Student Science Understanding in the Context of Field Experiences.” The outcome was presented at the 2015 annual American Educational Research Association (AERA) in April.

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A Study of Pre-service Teachers’ Use of Academic Language and Discourse in Science Teaching

Recently science education supports research-based teaching and learning practices in order for prospective teachers to develop necessary skills to support the academic needs of all students. The use of language, written or oral, is critical in effective teaching and learning of science. According to new science education reform documents, notably the Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2012) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS, 2013), by the time all American students graduate from high school they should have the knowledge and skills to be able to engage in the public dialogue on “science-related issues and be critical consumers of scientific information related to their everyday lives (p.9),” In addition to this, the new national standards in teacher education highlight the importance of authentic student learning as crucial evidence of teacher candidate performance (NCATE, 2008).

That means prospective teachers are expected to develop abilities to support students’ oral and written use of academic language to deepen subject matter understandings. This study calls for further research on examining the use of pre-service teachers’ science specific academic language in their science instruction and its development through field experiences in the elementary classroom. Additionally, this study will assess the effect of pre-service teachers’ science specific academic language on student use of academic language. The following research questions were generated: 1) What patterns/levels emerge across pre-service teachers with respect to the academic language they use during science instruction?; And 2) To what extent do teachers’ use of science specific academic language impact student use of academic language.

This study suggested that teachers needed to develop more attention to the nature and general difficulty of the academic language of the science classroom. This study further revealed that the different levels and reasons for use of language during teaching seemed to derive from inadequate subject content knowledge and ineffective use of and lack of academic conversation skills. The amount of explanations of science specific academic language seemed to depend on length of teaching experiences and the level and scope of teacher training. Therefore, it is expected that further analysis of data for this study will reveal more evidence for discussion of the impact of the field experience on the development of academic language in science and impact of teachers’ use of science specific academic language on student use of academic language.