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Gesticulating science: Emergent bilingual students’ use of gestures
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2300-7224
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
2017 (English)In: Journal of Research in Science Teaching, ISSN 0022-4308, E-ISSN 1098-2736Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This article examines how emergent bilingual students used gestures in science class, and the consequences of students’ gestures when their language repertoire limited their possibilities to express themselves. The study derived from observations in two science classes in Sweden. In the first class, 3rd grade students (9–10 years old) were involved in a unit concerning electricity. The second class consisted of 7th grade students (13–14 years old) working with acids and bases. Data were analyzed by using practical epistemological analysis (PEA). When students’ language proficiency limited their possibility to express themselves, using gestures resulted in the continuation of the science activities. Furthermore, both peers and teachers drew on the used gestures to talk about the science content. In some situations, the meaning of the gestures needed to be negotiated. Regardless, the gestures were always related to language. Both students and teachers participated in this process, but the teachers directed the communication towards the goal of the lessons: learning how to talk science. The study contributes to the field by showing the importance of paying attention to and valuing bilingual students’ use of gestures as a way to express scientific knowledge. In addition, it demonstrates how teachers might draw on students’ gestures to teach science and discusses the importance of creating multimodal learning environments. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
science education, bilingualism, emergent bilingual students, gestures, mediating means, scientific language
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145303DOI: 10.1002/tea.21415OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-145303DiVA: diva2:1128313
Available from: 2017-07-24 Created: 2017-07-24 Last updated: 2017-07-31
In thesis
1. Bilingual students' learning in science: Language, gestures and phyiscal artefacts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bilingual students' learning in science: Language, gestures and phyiscal artefacts
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The objective of this thesis is to examine how language, gestures and physical artefacts are used in science classes with emergent bilingual students who do not share the same minority language as their classmates or teachers. The purpose is to contribute to findings that can enhance emergent bilingual students’ learning in science. The data consist of classroom observations in one 3rd grade (9–10 years old) and one 7th grade (13–14 years old) science class. In addition, the students in the 7th grade were interviewed. Whole-class instruction was carried out monolingually in Swedish. The students typically made meaning of the activities without any language limitations during conversations following an initiation, response and evaluation pattern (IRE). However, during longer conversations the students’ language repertoire in Swedish frequently limited their possibilities to express themselves. During group-work activities, students with the same minority language worked together and used both of their languages. One strategy used among the students to overcome language limitations was translating unfamiliar words into their minority language. In general, this supported the students’ learning in science. Occasionally, the students made incorrect translations of scientific concepts. The interviews with the students demonstrated how monolingual exams may limit emergent bilingual students’ achievements in science. When students’ language proficiency limited their possibility to express themselves, the students showed what they meant by using gestures. This resulted in the continuation of the lessons as both other students and teachers drew on the used gestures to talk about the science content. The physical artefacts implied that the students experienced the science content by actually seeing it, which the teacher then drew on to introduce how the phenomena or process in question could be expressed in scientific language. When students’ proficiency in the language of instruction limited their possibilities to make meaning, using physical artefacts enabled them to experience unfamiliar words being related to the science content and learn what they mean. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Mathematics and Science Education, Stockholm University, 2017. 78 p.
Series
Doctoral thesis from the department of mathematics and science education, 16
Keyword
science education, bilingual students, mediating means, language, gestures, physical artefacts, learning, meaning-making, practical epistemological analysis, translanguaging, continuity
National Category
Other Natural Sciences
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145410 (URN)978-91-7649-880-4 (ISBN)978-91-7649-881-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-09-15, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Submitted.

Available from: 2017-08-23 Created: 2017-07-31 Last updated: 2017-08-17Bibliographically approved

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Ünsal, ZeynepJakobson, BrittWickman, Per-OlofMolander, Bengt-Olov
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