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08-03-2016 | Issue 3/2016

Journal of Science Teacher Education 3/2016

Understanding the Development of a Hybrid Practice of Inquiry-Based Science Instruction and Language Development: A Case Study of One Teacher’s Journey Through Reflections on Classroom Practice

Journal:
Journal of Science Teacher Education > Issue 3/2016
Authors:
Sarah Capitelli, Paula Hooper, Lynn Rankin, Marilyn Austin, Gennifer Caven

Abstract

This qualitative case study looks closely at an elementary teacher who participated in professional development experiences that helped her develop a hybrid practice of using inquiry-based science to teach both science content and English language development (ELD) to her students, many of whom are English language learners (ELLs). This case study examines the teacher’s reflections on her teaching and her students’ learning as she engaged her students in science learning and supported their developing language skills. It explicates the professional learning experiences that supported the development of this hybrid practice. Closely examining the pedagogical practice and reflections of a teacher who is developing an inquiry-based approach to both science learning and language development can provide insights into how teachers come to integrate their professional development experiences with their classroom expertise in order to create a hybrid inquiry-based science ELD practice. This qualitative case study contributes to the emerging scholarship on the development of teacher practice of inquiry-based science instruction as a vehicle for both science instruction and ELD for ELLs. This study demonstrates how an effective teaching practice that supports both the science and language learning of students can develop from ongoing professional learning experiences that are grounded in current perspectives about language development and that immerse teachers in an inquiry-based approach to learning and instruction. Additionally, this case study also underscores the important role that professional learning opportunities can play in supporting teachers in developing a deeper understanding of the affordances that inquiry-based science can provide for language development.

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