Developing Materials for L2 Science Learners

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Developing Materials for L2 Science Learners. Junia Ngoepe University of Limpopo South Africa. Outline. Goal(s) Students Background Teaching Team Curriculum Organisational Matters Course Content Materials. Introduction. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation



Developing Materials for L2 Science Learners Junia Ngoepe University of LimpopoSouth Africa Outline Goal(s) Students Background Teaching Team Curriculum Organisational Matters Course Content Materials

IntroductionPreviously disadvantaged English second language science learners at University of Limpopo (UL) need support. This can be in the form of specific materials for these students who have shown potential to succeed in Maths and the Sciences. 3Programme GoalBachelor of Science Extended Degree Programme (BSc EDP) as known as UNIFYThe long-term goal is to enable more black students to enter a science-based programme to make a good start with degree-level work This will lead to more graduates in the fields of Natural Sciences, Pharmacy, Optometry, Medical Sciences and Agriculture

English & Study Skills (ESS) Goal(s)The students academic and general proficiency in English should improve They should acquire language and study skills which will enhance their academic performance in Mathematics and the Sciences

Students Background They are at the threshold of studying at university Obtained a National Senior Certificate (NSC) qualification Have passed NSC General English (GE)But did not qualify to be admitted into the Science faculty at the University of Limpopo (UL)They have shown potential to succeed in the sciences They are L2 speakers of English

Student Background (Cont.) English is the language of tuition at UL They are taught science in EnglishThey have been educationally disadvantagedHad inadequate access to educational services and opportunities to develop their full potential as students in Mathematics and the Natural Sciences Most will be first generation university graduates in their families

Teaching Team Made up of language and content lecturersLocal and expatriate staff, at inception Qualified local teachers have taught at NSC level beforeLocals qualify to teach at University ( M & D levels)Language lecturers have some science backgroundExpatriates experienced in science education mattersLocals needed training in science education

CurriculumBiology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics & ESS, and Computer LiteracyProgramme curriculum is interdisciplinary in nature ESS is an intensive pre-study course (i.e. foundation) in an English medium institution Course starts with a diagnostic testThere are contact sessions and tutorials & practicals are included e.g. Project

Some Organisational MattersExperienced expatriate staffAccelerated staff development programme for locals Weekly sectional meetings for teaching progress as well as materials developmentOccasional content interdisciplinary meetings Marks board at end of every term to monitor student progressSome Organisational Matters ( Cont.)Mainly learner-centred approach BSc EDP sticks to teaching 150 students on average 5 groups of 30 students in each of the 5 core subjects5 contact periods per group per weekESS compulsory & non-repeat Double-marking practised e.g. Biology and English Woodlice experiment

Course Content ESS focuses on techniques and skills needed by students to become efficient and affective learners These skills include reading and interpretation as well as writing and expression skills The course also covers aspects of grammar which are of particular relevance to scientists or which have been identified as areas of weakness in students writing.

Course Content (Cont.)Emphasis is also placed on the writing of clear, straightforward and grammatically correct sentences, and putting them together to make a cohesive whole ESS also endeavours to encourage both writing and verbalisation of concepts taught in other sections

Materials Materials are potential tools for learning and are supposed to be generators of lively intellectually engaging activities (Pinto da Silva, 1993: 40)

Materials (Cont.)The ultimate objective is that the materials used as well as the tasks performed should replicate what usually takes place beyond the classroom boundaries (Ahellal, 1990: 38)

Materials (Cont.)Lecturers should continually be concerned with asking themselves whether their materials are producing the results they intend to achieve If not, how can they improve or replace themMaterials (Cont.)ESS science materials could be characterised by appropriacy, authenticity and be prepared in-houseThey are also a combination of internationally and locally produced materials ESS Materials5 study notes Reference materials Adapted for cohorts of studentsStudy ManualsGrammar and Word Classes ModuleWriting Module 1Writing Module 2Readings Comprehension Passages (Science Readings) Listening Comprehension and Mini-lectures booklet Grammar & Word Classes Module 8 Units:

Singular & Plural Form of the VerbThe Impersonal Scientific Style The Passive Modality Word Classes

Grammar & Word Classes (Cont.)Countable & Uncountable Nouns Using the Dictionary to Find Meanings Linking Devices General & Specific Sentences Supplementary Exercises

Writing Module 1 5 Units Cause & Effect Quantity & ComparisonRelationships Describing Structure, Content & FunctionThe Passive 2

Writing Module 2 2 Units Describing Graphs Note-taking & Note-makingReading Comprehension Passages14 Science Readings (include questions/tasks)Energy and related problems in Malawi The motor car and pollutionSick miners pay full price for gold Wake-up call for worlds health The rise and rise of Pakistans people

Reading Comprehension Passages (Cont.)Contraception for elephants a viable option? The worlds food Pollution and lung cancer Back to the days of deadly smock Will it get any worse? Reading Comprehension Passages (Cont.)Less is more Lead blights the future of Africas childrenGreenhouse gases and the global warming trend The social costs of excessive alcohol consumption Listening Comprehension Mini-lecturesThese lectures are for note-taking practiceThe lecturer simulates a lecture while students take notesMini lectures are The Field Trip, Energy, The Noble Gases, The Preservation of Food, etc. Students do pertinent exercises pre- or post mini-lectures attendance Reference MaterialsThe following reference materials complement study materials The Oxford Paperback ThesaurusLongman Dictionary of Contemporary EnglishOxford Dictionary of SciencePractical English Usage, International Students Edition

Reference Materials ( Cont.)UNIFY Student Handbook Periodicals such as New Scientist and The Mail and GuardianWebsites such as Google, Yahoo, Mamma and Wikipedia

Methodology Students sit for a language of science pre test Materials suitable for identified needs are used for the cohort of students Students sit for a language of science post test after materials were used Performance in the 2 tests compared

Results Students perform significantly better in post testSpecific materials be developed for cohorts of disadvantaged English language students in the sciencesThe number of disadvantaged students who succeed in Maths and the Sciences will increase, in the long termConclusion If language and content teaching staff work in concert towards improving second language science learners proficiency, the number of students who succeed in the sciences will increase. References AHELLAL, M. 1990. Using Authentic Materials in the Classroom: Theoretical Assumptions and Practical Considerations. English Teaching Forum, 28(2): 37-38. HUTCHINSON, T. & WATERS, A. 1987. English for Specific Purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. JANSEN, J., NTSHINGILA-KHOSA, R. & CRANFIELD, C. 2005. University of the North Mathematics and Science Foundation Year (UNIFY) Phase II. Final (Ex-Post) Evaluation. Unpublished Report. Pretoria: European Union Commission. NGOEPE L. J. 2007. The University of Limpopo Mathematics and Science foundation year course in English and Study Skills: an evaluation. Potchefstroom: North West University (Thesis PhD). PINTO DA SILVA, C.1993. ESP: Back to Methodology. English Teaching Forum, 31(2): 40-41.

Thank you Any Questions?