Improving Science and Literacy Learning for English Language Learners: Evidence from a Pre-service Teacher Preparation Intervention

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Units are available at http://j.mp/RBUq5O.

  2. 2.

    Effect size calculated with the following website: http://www.uccs.edu/~lbecker/.

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Acknowledgments

This study was conducted with support from the National Science Foundation DR K-12 program, Grant #0822402.

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Correspondence to Jerome M. Shaw.

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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

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Keywords

  • Student achievement
  • English Language Learners
  • Intervention study
  • Pre-service elementary teachers
  • Science and literacy integration