This paper present findings from a pre-service teacher development project that prepared novice teachers to promote English language and literacy development with inquiry-based science through a modified elementary science methods course and professional development for cooperating teachers. To study the project’s impact on student learning, we administered a pre and post assessment to students (N = 191) of nine first year elementary teachers (grades 3 through 6) who experienced the intervention and who taught a common science unit. Preliminary results indicate that (1) student learning improved across all categories (science concepts, writing, and vocabulary)—although the effect varied by category, and (2) English Language Learner (ELL) learning gains were on par with non-ELLs, with differences across proficiency levels for vocabulary gain scores. These results warrant further analyses to understand the extent to which the intervention improved teacher practice and student learning. This study confirms the findings of previous research that the integration of science language and literacy practices can improve ELL achievement in science concepts, writing and vocabulary. In addition, the study indicates that it is possible to begin to link the practices taught in pre-service teacher preparation to novice teacher practice and student learning outcomes.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Abell, S. K., & Cennamo, K. S. (2004). Videocases in elementary science teacher preparation. In J. Brophy (Ed.), Advances in research on teaching: Using video in teacher education (Vol. 10, pp. 103–130). New York: Elsevier.
Aikenhead, G. (2006). Science education for everyday life: Evidence-based practice. New York: Teachers College Press.
Ash, D. (2007). Using video data to capture discontinuous science meaning making in non-school settings. In R. Goldman, R. Pea, B. Barron, & S. J. Derry (Eds.), Video research in the learning sciences (pp. 207–226). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Ballantyne, K. G., Sanderman, A. R., & Levy, J. (2008). Educating English language learners: Building teacher capacity (roundtable report). Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition. http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/publications/. Accessed 3 Oct 2013.
Banilower, E. R., Smith, P. S., Weiss, I. R., Malzahn, K. A., Campbell, K. M., & Weis, A. M. (2013). Report of the 2012 national survey of science and mathematics education. Chapel Hill, NC: Horizon Research.
Barton, A. C. (2003). Teaching science for social justice. New York: Teachers College Press.
Bianchini, J. A., Johnston, C. C., Oram, S. Y., & Cavazos, L. M. (2003). Learning to teach science in contemporary and equitable ways: The successes and struggles of first-year science teachers. Science Education, 87(3), 419–443.
Bravo, M., & García, E. E. (2004). Learning to write like scientists: English language learners’ science inquiry and writing understandings in responsive learning contexts. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.
Bryk, A. S., & Raudenbush, S. W. (1992). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Buck, G. A., & Cordes, J. G. (2005). An action research project on preparing teachers to meet the needs of underserved student populations. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 16(1), 43–64.
Business Higher Education Forum. (2006). Collaborating to address the Math and science shortage: A state university—business partnership. Washington, DC: American Council on Education. http://www.bhef.com/publications/collaborating-address-math-and-science-teacher-shortage-state-university-business. Accessed 3 Oct 2013.
Buxton, C. A. (2006). Creating contextually authentic science in “low-performing” urban elementary schools. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43(7), 695–721.
California Council on Science and Technology. (2010). The preparation of elementary school teachers to teach science in California: Challenges and opportunities impacting teaching and learning science. Sacramento, California: Author. http://www.ccst.us/publications/. Accessed 3 Oct 2013.
Cervetti, G. N., Pearson, P. D., Barber, J., Hiebert, E., & Bravo, M. A. (2007). Integrating literacy and science: The research we have, the research we need. In M. Pressley, A. K. Billman, K. Perry, K. Refitt, & J. Reynolds (Eds.), Shaping literacy achievement. New York: Guilford.
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology. (2007). Four decades of STEM degrees, 1966–2004: The devil is in the details. STEM Workforce Data Project. CPST report no. 6. Retrieved from https://www.cpst.org/STEM/STEM6_Report.pdf.
Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2010). Common core state standards for English language arts & Literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. Washington, DC: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). Securing the right to learn: Policy and practice for powerful teaching and learning. Educational Researcher, 35(7), 13–24.
de Jong, E. J. (2004). After exit: academic achievement patterns of former English language learners. Educational Policy Analysis Archives, 12(50). http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v12n50/v12n50.pdf. Accessed 3 Oct 2013.
Doherty, R. W., & Pinal, A. (2004). Joint productive activity and cognitive reading strategy use. TESOL Quarterly, 38(3), 219–227.
Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics. London: Sage.
Freeman, D., Garcia, E., Herrera, S., Murray, D., Valdés, G., & Walqui, A. (2004). Preparing teachers to teach English language learners: I. What do we know. Panel presented at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting, San Diego, CA.
Gándara, P., Maxwell-Jolly, J., & Driscoll, A. (2005). Listening to teachers of English language learners: A survey of California teachers’ challenges, experiences, and professional development needs. UC Berkeley: University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute. http://escholarship.org/uc/item/6430628z. Accessed 3 Oct 2013.
George, D., & Mallery, P. (2003). SPSS for Windows step by step: A simple guide and reference. 11.0 update (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Goldman, R., Pea, R., Baron, B., & Derry, S. J. (2007). Video research in the learning sciences. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Grigg, W. S., Daane, M. C., Jin, Y., & Campbell, J. R. (2002). The nation’s report card. Reading, 2003-521. Retrieved from http://www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard.
Hart, J. E., & Lee, O. (2003). Teacher professional development to improve the science and literacy achievement of English language learners. Bilingual Research Journal, 27(3), 475–501.
Hilberg, R. S., Tharp, R. G., & DeGeest, L. (2000). The efficacy of CREDE’s standards-based instruction in American Indian mathematics classes. Equity & Excellence in Education, 33(2), 32–40.
Hosoume, K., & Barber, J. (1999). Terrarium Habitats. Berkeley: Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California.
Joyce, B., & Showers, B. (1995). Student achievement through staff development: Fundamentals of school renewal (2nd ed.). White Plains, NY: Longman.
Landis, J. R., & Koch, G. G. (1977). The measurement of observer agreement for categorical data. Biometrics, 33(1), 159–174.
Lara-Alecio, R., Tong, F., Irby, B. J., Guerrero, C., Huerta, M., & Fan, Y. (2012). The effect of an instructional intervention on middle school English learners’ science and English reading achievement. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(8), 987–1011.
Lawrence Hall of Science. (2007). Soil habitats assessment system. Berkeley: Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California.
Lee, O., Buxton, C., Lewis, S., & LeRoy, K. (2006). Science inquiry and student diversity: Enhanced abilities and continuing difficulties after an instructional intervention. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43(7), 607–636.
Lee, O., & Luykx, A. (2006). Science education and student diversity: Synthesis and research agenda. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Lee, O., Maerten-Rivera, J., Penfield, R. D., LeRoy, K., & Secada, W. G. (2008). Science achievement of English language learners in urban elementary schools: Results of a first-year professional development intervention. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45(1), 31–52.
Lee, O., Quinn, H., & Valdés, G. (2013). Science and language for English language learners: Language demands and opportunities in relation to next generation science standards. Educational Researcher, 42(4), 423–433.
Loucks-Horsley, S., Hewson, P. W., Love, N., & Stiles, K. (1998). Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Lynch, S. (2001). “Science for all” is not equal to “one size fits all”: Linguistic and cultural diversity and science education reform. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(5), 622–627.
Lyon, E. G. (2013). Learning to assess science in linguistically diverse classrooms: Tracking growth in secondary science preservice teachers’ assessment expertise. Science Education, 97(3), 442–467.
Menken, K., & Antunez, B. (2001). An overview of the preparation and certification of teachers working with limited English proficient (LEP) students. Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education.
National Academy of Sciences. (2010). Expanding underrepresented minority participation: America’s science and technology talent at the crossroads. A research report co-sponsored by the Committee on Underrepresented Groups and the Expansion of Science and Engineering Workforce Pipeline; Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy; Policy and Global Affairs; National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12984.html. Accessed 3 Oct 2013.
National Center for Education Statistics. (2010). The condition of education 2010 (NCES 2010-028). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
National Center for Education Statistics (2011). The nation’s report card: Science 2009. National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition. (2007). The growing numbers of limited English proficient students. Office of English Language Acquisition, Washington DC: U.S. Department of Education. http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/search/?cx=009395468658320509053%3Ais72in2vyqy&cof=FORID%3A10&ie=UTF-8&as_q=growing+numbers. Accessed 3 Oct 2013.
National Research Council. (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Committee on a Conceptual Framework for New K-12 Science Education Standards. Board on Science Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Oakes, J., Joseph, R., & Muir, K. (2004). Access and achievement in mathematics and science: Inequalities that endure and change. In J. Banks & C. Banks (Eds.), Handbook of research on multicultural education (2nd ed., pp. 69–90). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Ovando, C. J., & Combs, M. C. (2012). Bilingual and ESL classrooms (5th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
Parsad, B., Lewis, L., Farris, E., & Greene, B. (2001). Teacher preparation and professional Development (NCES 2001-088). Washington DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics,
Pointer Mace, D., Hatch, T., & Iiyoshi, T. (2007). Teaching in and teaching from the classroom: Using video and other media to represent the scholarship of teaching and learning. In R. Goldman, S. Derry, R. Pea, & B. Barron (Eds.), Video research in the learning sciences (pp. 397–410). Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Rivet, A. E., & Krajcik, J. S. (2008). Contextualizing instruction: Leveraging students’ prior knowledge and experiences to foster understanding of middle school science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45(1), 79–100.
Rodriguez, A. J. (1998). The dangerous discourse of invisibility: A critique of the national research council’s national science education standards. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 34(1), 19–37.
Rosebery, A. S., & Warren, B. (2008). Teaching science to English language learners: Building on students’ strengths. Alexandria, VA: National Science Teachers Association.
Roth, K. J., Garnier, H. E., Chen, C., Lemmens, M., Schwille, K., & Wickler, N. I. (2011). Video based lesson analysis: Effective science PD for teacher and student learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48(2), 117–148.
Santos, M., Darling-Hammond, L., & Cheuk, T. (2012). Teacher development to support English language learners in the context of common core state standards. Stanford, CA: Stanford University. http://ell.stanford.edu/papers/policy. Accessed 3 Oct 2013.
Schwartz, D. L., & Hartman, K. (2007). It is not television anymore: Designing digital video for learning and assessment. In R. Goldman, S. Derry, R. Pea, & B. Barron (Eds.), Video research in the learning sciences (pp. 335–348). Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Segal, J., Demarest, E., Prejean, A. (2006). Teaching for understanding: A guide to video resources. Washington DC: National Education Association Research Department. http://wwwns.isea.org/assets/docs/Teaching_for_Understanding__A_Guide_ToVideo_Resources.pdf. Accessed 2 Dec 2013.
Shaw, J. M. (2009). Science performance assessment and English learners: An exploratory study. Electronic Journal of Literacy Through Science, 8(3). http://ejlts.ucdavis.edu/volume/8.
Sherin, M. G. (2004). New perspectives on the role of video in teacher education. In J. Brophy (Ed.), Advances in research on teaching: Using video in teacher education, 10 (pp. 1–27). New York, NY: Elsevier JAI.
Speck, M., & Knipe, C. (2001). Why can’t we get it right? Professional development in our schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Stoddart, T. (2013). Restructuring pre-service teacher education to respond to increasing student diversity. Research in Higher Education Journal, 9, 1–14.
Stoddart, T., & Mosqueda, E. (in press). Teaching science to English language learners: A study of pre-service teacher preparation. Teacher Education & Practice, 26(4).
Stoddart, T., Pinal, A., Latzke, M., & Canaday, D. (2002). Integrating inquiry science and language development for English language learners. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39(8), 664–687.
Stoddart, T., Solis, J., Tolbert, S., & Bravo, M. (2010). A framework for the effective science teaching of English Language Learners in elementary schools. In D. Sunal, C. Sunal, & E. Wright (Eds.), Teaching science with Hispanic ELLs in K-16 classrooms. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Suriel, R. L., & Atwater, M. M. (2012). From the contribution to the action approach: White teachers’ experiences influencing the development of multicultural science curricula. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(10), 1271–1295.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). American community survey [2005–2009]. Retrieved from www.census.gov/acs/.
Villegas, A. M., & Lucas, T. (2002). Preparing culturally responsive teachers rethinking the curriculum. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(1), 20–32.
Young, J. W., Cho, Y., Ling, G., Cline, F., Steinberg, J., & Stone, E. (2008). Validity and fairness of state standards-based assessments for English language learners. Educational Assessment, 13(2–3), 170–192.
Zhang, M., Lundeberg, M., Koehler, M., & Eberhardt, J. (2011). Understanding affordances and challenges of three types of video for teacher professional development. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(2), 454–462.
This study was conducted with support from the National Science Foundation DR K-12 program, Grant #0822402.
About this article
Cite this article
Shaw, J.M., Lyon, E.G., Stoddart, T. et al. Improving Science and Literacy Learning for English Language Learners: Evidence from a Pre-service Teacher Preparation Intervention. J Sci Teacher Educ 25, 621–643 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-013-9376-6
- Student achievement
- English Language Learners
- Intervention study
- Pre-service elementary teachers
- Science and literacy integration