ERIC Number: EJ1029909
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 118
Science Language Accommodation in Elementary School Read-Alouds
Glass, Rory; Oliveira, Alandeom W.
International Journal of Science Education, v36 n4 p577-609 2014
This study examines the pedagogical functions of accommodation (i.e. provision of simplified science speech) in science read-aloud sessions facilitated by five elementary teachers. We conceive of read-alouds as communicative events wherein teachers, faced with the task of orally delivering a science text of relatively high linguistic complexity, open up an alternate channel of communication, namely oral discussion. By doing so, teachers grant students access to a simplified linguistic input, a strategy designed to promote student comprehension of the textual contents of children's science books. It was found that nearly half (46%) of the read-aloud time was allotted to discussions with an increased percentage of less sophisticated words and reduced use of more sophisticated vocabulary than found in the books through communicative strategies such as simplified rewording, simplified definition, and simplified questioning. Further, aloud reading of more linguistically complex books required longer periods of discussion and an increased degree of teacher oral input and accommodation. We also found evidence of reversed simplification (i.e. sophistication), leading to student uptake of scientific language. The main significance of this study is that it reveals that teacher talk serves two often competing pedagogical functions (accessible communication of scientific information to students and promotion of student acquisition of the specialized language of science). It also underscores the importance of giving analytical consideration to the simplification--sophistication dimension of science classroom discourse as well as the potential of computer-based analysis of classroom discourse to inform science teaching.
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Linguistic Input, Elementary School Teachers, Teaching Methods, Vocabulary Development, Academic Discourse, Oral Reading, Elementary School Students, Difficulty Level, Scientific Concepts
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A