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South African Journal of Education

Print version ISSN 0256-0100

Abstract

FERREIRA, Johanna G. Teaching Life Sciences to English second language learners: what do teachers do?. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2011, vol.31, n.1, pp. 102-113. ISSN 0256-0100.

South Africa has eleven official languages and legally learners receive tuition in their mother tongue until the end of Grade 3. From then on teachers are required to teach through the medium of English or Afrikaans. The implication is that the majority of learners in the senior secondary school phase study Life Sciences in their second language, which is English. This has a major effect on the performance of learners in Life Sciences. A review was done of possible strategies teachers could use to assist English second language learners. Focus group interviews were held with Life Science teachers in an attempt to determine what the impact of teaching Life Sciences to English second language learners is and what teachers can do to assist English second language learners master concepts and terminology. The findings and recommendations of this research are reported here.

Keywords : analogies; code switching; English second language learners; Life Sciences teaching.

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