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ERIC Number: EJ960314
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8555
Using Inquiry to Break the Language Barrier
Ricketts, Amy
Science Teacher, v78 n8 p56-58 Nov 2011
The more than five million English language learners (ELLs) in the United States represent over 10% of students enrolled in public schools--and this number is growing rapidly. From 1997 to 2007, growth of ELL enrollment exceeded that of overall enrollment by more than six to one. Regardless of where they teach, science educators will undoubtedly encounter ELL students in their classrooms and be expected to effectively teach science content to these students. The National Science Education Standards (NRC 1996) advocate for the use of inquiry in science teaching for all. Although teachers sometimes assume that limited English language skills make ELLs incapable of engaging in scientific inquiry, growing evidence supports the idea that a "synergistic relationship [exists] between science inquiry and language development," and that English proficiency is "not necessarily" a prerequisite for engaging in content learning. In fact, using inquiry with ELLs has been shown to not only enhance scientific thinking but also to facilitate English language acquisition and reasoning ability. One way for ELL students to engage in inquiry is through a school science fair project or other independent research endeavor. Teachers can make simple modifications to the traditional science fair to help ELLs achieve the dual goals of mastering science content and enhancing English language acquisition.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States