Teachers’ Reflections on Science Instruction as a Language Activity
, Roger Johansson
Several researchers have characterized the use of language in science instruction as a 3-language problem, as the students move between home-, school-, and scientific languages and expressions. In this way it is possible to describe a science classroom as an arena for several discursive or hybrid languages where different expressions are negotiated and discussed. The 3-language problem has highlighted the importance of making hybrid spaces explicit for students by comparing and merging their everyday worlds and colloquial language with the languages of science. An important question is what language and discursive awareness science teachers express about how science communication in different contexts may constitute a hindrance or support for students’ engagement in science? We explore in what ways 10 science teachers reflect upon different communicative and language perspectives in science education in Sweden. The participating teachers work half time as teachers in primary and secondary school and attend a part time graduate school in education at the university. Interviews focused on experienced possibilities and difficulties when discussing science and technology with their students. Preliminary results suggest a general lack of or an implicit discursive awareness among teachers about science instruction as a language activity. However, several teachers exemplified new ways of outlining and forming contemporary scientific and technological knowledge for students.