Report Roundup

Science in Plain English

"Teaching Science as a Language: A 'Content-First' Approach to Science Teaching"

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Students introduced to science concepts in everyday English before having them explained in more complex scientific language fare better on tests than students who are given more science-heavy terminology upfront, a study concludes.

Conducted by Bryan A. Brown and Kihyun Ryoo of Stanford University and published in the May 2008 issue of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, the research was based on observing 49 5th graders, who were randomly assigned to either a group taught with everyday language before scientific lingo was used or a control group taught with more precise scientific vocabulary.

The study used Web-based software to test students’ understanding of photosynthesis. The results showed that students taught in everyday language, or, as the authors put it, with a "content-first" approach, developed improved understanding of science, compared with the other group.

Vol. 28, Issue 01, Page 5

Published in Print: August 27, 2008, as Science in Plain English
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories