chapter  9
27 Pages

Language in science teaching and learning

Children solve practical tasks with the help of their speech as well as their eyes and hands.

(Vygotsky 1978)

Although science is a ‘practical’ subject, science teaching occurs extensively through the medium of language, both spoken and written. The purpose of this chapter is to focus on that language and the way that teachers, texts and children use it. We start from three basic premises: (i) language is a major barrier in learning science; (ii) we can identify the main sources of difficulty; (iii) there are teaching strategies which can help to lower the language barrier.