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Title: The accessibility of science instructions to Jamaican students
Author: Lodge, Wilton George
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 3743
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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The debates about the importance of the sociocultural and sociolinguistic influences that affect science textbooks and classroom instructions have been the focus of much attention by theorists and constructivist thinkers for many decades. Such debates are particularly salient in the context of Jamaica, where the language of instruction is Jamaican Standard English (JSE) and many of the students are first language speakers of Jamaican Creole (JC). Against a background of the Creole-speaking environment in Jamaica, this research investigates the circumstances in which Jamaican bilingual science learners might be at an advantage or at a disadvantage in understanding science instructions. Participants were selected from five school types in Jamaica: junior high, private, technical, traditional and upgraded secondary. Data concerning students’ and teachers’ attitudes and opinions were collected through interviews and questionnaires. More detailed linguistic information was collected through Cloze procedures, discussion tasks and a social semiotic analysis of the textbook studied. A wide literature was reviewed concerning the structure of scientific language, the Jamaican linguistic situation and school science textbooks. The findings provided evidence for four main assertions which arose from the research. First, the findings raised some salient considerations in terms of the extent to which science textbooks and classroom instructions are accessible, especially to students in the junior high, technical high and upgraded high schools. Secondly, even students who were proficient in JSE and were learning science in English experienced difficulties in dealing with the specialist vocabulary and in coping with the language demands and assumptions made by science teachers and writers of curriculum materials. Thirdly, the results provided substantial evidence which suggested that teachers and students held ambivalent attitudes to language use in science classrooms across the five school types investigated in the study. Fourthly, teachers and students were united in the belief that the language of science instructions posed significant barriers to the learning of science.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available