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PERC 2013 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Physics as a Mechanism for engaging English Language Learners
Abstract: English Language Learners (ELLs) are frequently left on the periphery of classroom interactions. Due to limited language skills, teachers and peers communicate with these students less often, decreasing the number of opportunities to engage. Exclusion can be avoided with learning activities that invite all students to participate and contribute their thinking. We argue that environments and activities that privilege scientific inductive reasoning increase possibilities for emerging bilingual students to engage. This study investigated first-grade students' discussions about factors that affect how objects float. Students came from a variety of language backgrounds; all were considered beginner/intermediate ELLs. Results show that the goal of inducing principles from actual phenomena encouraged students to communicate their ideas and reasoning, boosting students' confidence in expressing themselves. Following the hybrid space argument of Vygotsky's theory of concept formation, we see how external expression could lead to internalization of science concepts, and to develop English language skills.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Enrique Suarez
University of Colorado, Boulder
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Valerie Otero - University of Colorado, Boulder

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster