ERIC Number: EJ872784
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Pacific CRYSTAL Project: Explicit Literacy Instruction Embedded in Middle School Science Classrooms
Anthony, Robert J.; Tippett, Christine D.; Yore, Larry D.
Research in Science Education, v40 n1 p45-64 Jan 2010
Science literacy leading to fuller and informed participation in the public debate about science, technology, society, and environmental (STSE) issues that produce justified decisions and sustainable actions is the shared and central goal of the Pacific CRYSTAL Project. There is broad agreement by science education researchers that learners need to be able to construct and interpret specific scientific discourses and texts to be literate in science. We view these capabilities as components in the fundamental sense of science literacy and as interactive and synergetic to the derived sense of science literacy, which refers to having general knowledge about concepts, principles, and methods of science. This article reports on preliminary findings from Years 1, 2, and 3 of the 5-year Pacific CRYSTAL project that aims to identify, develop, and embed explicit literacy instruction in science programs to achieve both senses of science literacy. A community-based, opportunistic, engineering research and development approach has been utilized to identify problems and concerns and to design instructional solutions for teaching middle school (Grades 6, 7, and 8) science. Initial data indicate (a) opportunities in programs for embedding literacy instruction and tasks; (b) difficulties generalist teachers have with new science curricula; (c) difficulties specialist science teachers have with literacy activities, strategies, genre, and writing-to-learn science tasks; and (d) potential literacy activities (vocabulary, reading comprehension, visual literacy, genre, and writing tasks) for middle school science. Preinstruction student assessments indicate a range of challenges in achieving effective learning in science and the need for extensive teacher support to achieve the project's goals. Postinstructional assessments indicate positive changes in students' ability to perform target reading and writing tasks. Qualitative data indicate teachers' desire for external direction and the need for researchers to expand the literacy framework to include oral discourse. A case study of teachers' use of a specific literacy task and its influence on students revealed indications of robustness and effectiveness. Experiences revealed procedural difficulties and insights regarding community-based research and development approaches.
Descriptors: Research and Development, Science Programs, Visual Literacy, Science Teachers, Scientific Literacy, Classrooms, Researchers, Teaching Methods, Literacy Education, Middle Schools, Science Instruction, Science Education, Science Curriculum, Middle School Teachers, Middle School Students, Science and Society
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Grade 6; Grade 7; Grade 8; Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A