Title

Construction of scientific knowledge through scientific language

Date of Award

8-1-2003

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

Science Education has been emphasized as a major contributor to the industrial and technological development, for the last many decades, in Pakistan. A lot of effort has been made to build and equip laboratories with the hope that the materials provided here would be helpful in constructing students' scientific knowledge. On the one hand, due to the economic conditions of the country we have not been able to provide enough laboratory buildings and materials to the schools. On the other hand, the teachers have not been able to employ strategies to make the practical and theoretical work coherent. Practicals are performed after unconnectedly attending lectures in the classroom. The students are unable to find connection between the two by themselves. Therefore, practical work remain just for fun and a way to escape from the lectures in the classroom. The teachers' consider finishing the syllabus as their foremost professional obligation, which puts undue pressure on merely teaching the content in the science classroom. The teachers teach only the content and assume that the students will catch the language of science by themselves. When they are unable to do so it is declared that they are not bright enough or they do not work hard. The trend results in alienating students from the discipline. Even though some students achieve good marks, they are not able to develop the kind of understanding that is required in think and act like scientists. The data from this study illustrate how scientific language can be used to help students in constructing scientific knowledge. The study helps in understanding science as a dynamic process connected to a cultural and social context. Looking at science in this perspective of its tentativeness gives room for scientific language through which theories are refuted, challenged, critiqued and evaluated in the classroom. The study looks at different strategies the teachers employ in teaching science in the classroom and based on these findings suggest some strategies to science teachers to reconceptulize science education in the country. The point worth noting here is that we follow English as a medium of instruction without actually realizing, how much it contributes to the development of students' scientific understanding. The purpose behind this study was to have as intrinsic understanding of the role of scientific language in constructing students' scientific knowledge. Although the focus of the study was not to give recommendations for AKU-IED and PDC for improvement in teachers' education, implications are drawn which may assist in understanding scientific problems.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library

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