Communicating in primary science: exploring the reported language practices of Australian primary teachers

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In recent decades a body of research has emerged supporting the effectiveness of a plethora of science teaching practices in improving learners’ science achievement and scientific literacy. However, if the benefits of evidence-based science practice are to be realised consistently and at scale we need to improve our understanding of how teachers use and develop language as part of authentic primary science teaching. To this end, this exploratory project aimed to investigate the reported language practices of 40 Australian primary science educators through qualitative interviews and online surveys. Thematic analyses showed that the sampled teachers were reportedly utilising an array of language practices with a strong grounding in scholarly evidence. The incorporation of scientific terminology and varied question prompts were majority themes, complemented by minority themes, such as Physical Classroom Setup, Group Work–Class Discussion, Reflection–Metacognition, Scaffolds and Reading Texts. Participants’ articulation of their language practices afforded some insight into the nuance and pedagogical complexity associated with their primary science teaching. Future research should incorporate more proximal data to examine the language practices of science educators.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalTeachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Feb 2024


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