Investigating the influence of non-technical words to the teaching and learning of science: a case study of a primary school in Taveta sub-county

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Fredrick Mtenzi

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Mussa Mohamed


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Teaching of science has been found to be most challenging. These challenges are believed to be due to lack of apparatus used for teaching, class size, and inadequate curriculum materials but also the language used to teach science. During the process of teaching, learners face the problem of not understanding the meaning of non-technical words and how they create regular explanation of the knowledge itself. Non-technical words refer to words that have one or multiple meanings in our daily language but carry exact and specific meaning, and different when used in scientific context. Studies have shown that learners only experience challenges of familiarity of the technical words which eventually they are able to cope reasonably with the situation and understand. Where a more severe problem lay, was in the use of non-technical words in science, in a familiar language which turn to be is highly specific, and often-changed in unfamiliar way. This dissertation will present the findings from a case study that aim at investigating the influence of non-technical words in teaching and learning of science focusing class five and six by science teachers. A specific sampling was done of class five and six teachers to be observed in a science class presentation, interviewed, and carry out a document analysis as a follow up of lesson presentation. Analysis of the results show that science teachers are aware of the existence of non-technical words but not aware of the functional value of these words in explaining scientific concepts, and therefore do not concentrate to identify and explain the meanings of these words contextually. Although teachers acknowledged that use of experiments to do, observe, and discuss phenomenon would allow learners to understand and communicate own science ideas, a study is also recommended to find out the competence of primary science teaching using experiments.

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