Edited By Christiane Dalton-Puffer and Ute Smit
Margaret Bowering - The language of a science classroom for LEP learners 25
The language of a science classroom for limited English proficiency learners Margaret Bowering 1. Introduction Content-based learning in a second language such as English is fast be- coming recognised as an important feature of schooling in most parts of the world. In the case of science and other technical subjects this phe- nomenon has become more prominent with the growth of bilingual ap- proaches to schooling in new areas particularly in Eastern Europe and Asia. Skills in teaching science for example in a second language are now required far beyond the boundaries of the English speaking world. The need for better understanding of the teaching and learning proc- esses in these sorts of science classrooms is therefore apparent. Although second language acquisition and classroom interaction research and prac- tice speak to this topic, studies which consider the link between the teach- ing of science and the use of a second language itself are lacking. This gap in the literature, addressed in this study, is even more evident when the learners are in the early stage of mastering the language and yet have al- ready reached an adolescent level of cognition. This study of classroom language has been undertaken to address this issue. In the two lessons analysed in this paper a teacher ofESL science is teaching a small class of teenage limited English proficiency (LEP) stu- dents.1 2. Conceptual background and literature review In order to come to an understanding of how far these lessons represent an appropriate interpretation of...
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