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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The role of language in planning for science instruction : case studies of four teachers of the gifted Graham, Valerie Ann


This exploratory project investigated the perceptions of four elementary teachers of the gifted in regard to the role of language in planning for science instruction. Four case studies emerged from this project, a case study of each of the three volunteer teachers and my self-study. During one school year, the three volunteers, the school principal, the language consultant, my research advisor and I were involved in this project. The information in the four cases was derived from many sources including a series of seven videotaped science workshops with the three volunteers, ten videotaped discussions between the language consultant and me, nine videotaped individual interviews with the three volunteers, two videotaped interviews with the principal, my research journal and four cumulative teacher portfolios. Within each case study, I interpreted the transcribed "critical conversations" and other data that were relevant to my research problem. Specifically, I investigated what the teachers perceived regarding (1) their judgements about selecting and defining school science language and concepts, (2) their strategies for teaching and/or assessing school science language and concepts, and (3) the impact of the workshops. The findings indicate that each teacher noticed (1) that her judgements about selecting and defining school science language and concepts were an important part of planning for instruction, (2) the usefulness of translating back and forth between everyday science language and concepts and school science language and concepts, (3) that the workshops encouraged the exploration of alternative teaching and/or assessment strategies, and (4) that participation in this project coincided with some changes in her teaching practice.

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