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Jumping pepper and electrons in the shoe: Physical artefacts in a multilingual science class
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.
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This article concerns how teachers can use physical artefacts as mediating means to support emergent bilingual students’ learning in science class. The data consist of non-participant observations in a Swedish 3rd grade (9-10 years old) science class. All students were bilingual, but in different minority languages, and the teacher was monolingual in Swedish. The study focused on four students, all of whom had Turkish as their minority language. During the observations, the science content was electricity and the lessons were conducted by using physical artefacts, such as wires, bulbs and batteries. The study takes its stance in the ideas of Dewey and sociocultural approaches, implying that students’ learning is viewed as situational. For the analysis, practical epistemology analysis (PEA) was used. The teacher used physical artefacts in two different ways. First, the physical artefacts implied that the students experienced the science content by actually seeing it. The students talked about their observations in everyday language, which the teacher then drew on to introduce how the phenomena or process in question could be expressed in scientific language. Second, 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 thus learn their meaning. The study findings contribute to knowledge concerning how teachers can create learning contexts where physical artefacts are used to mediate scientific meaning. 

National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Science Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145304OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-145304DiVA: diva2:1128314
Available from: 2017-07-24 Created: 2017-07-24 Last updated: 2017-07-31Bibliographically approved
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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