Language skills and science concepts development through literacy-based science teaching

  • Pole Paul Awei

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    This study is only a small contribution to the solution of what I think is a bigger problem area needing more investigations and remedies. The reality in PNG classroom situations is that, oracy and reading skills development for students is non-existent from high schools and secondary schools to higher levels of education. This is in line with curriculum statements, which do not provide for oracy or reading skills development at all levels from high school onwards. The most emphasized forms of language arts areas through which learning takes place are listening and writing. Essentially, having identified the problem, I set out to carry out the following related investigations.

    The initial aim of this study was to, through a given course in science, develop science students' reading, writing, listening, and oracy skills. At the end of study the goal was to test students to gauge whether this approach to teaching had increased students' understanding of science concepts, and whether this approach to teaching had increased science students' motivation to study science. However, given the time limit for data collection in the field, and for the reasons noted above, and other field constraints the aim of study was narrowed down to only two.

    Firstly, to seek to develop, through the 'Light and Geometrical Optics' course, science students' reading and writing skills. (See chapter 3.3.3 for details about this course, its origins and authorship). Secondly, to gauge whether this teaching approach promoted students' increased understanding of science concepts. In developed countries like Australia a study of this nature was conducted three to four decades ago, (e.g. Bourke et al, 1976). However, in PNG the need for this study has been realized only recently because of the current situation with English being the official language of education but not of the home or street.

    Reading and writing skills development materials within the course, 'Light and Geometrical Optics', developed to effect increased understanding of science concepts targeted the following specific skills development.

    a. Comprehending Words.b. Understanding Instructions.c. Comprehending Short Passages.d. Comprehending Long Passages.e. Indentifying Purpose.f. Comprehending Statements.g. Comprehending literal meaning.h. Comprehending implied meaning.
    Date of AwardNov 2004
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDarol Cavanagh (Supervisor)

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