Foreign languages in African science classrooms : Perspectives on and approaches to language use during teaching
Oyoo, Samuel Ouma
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Africa is perhaps the only continent in th e world where most formal education is conducted in instructional languages that are foreign to most learne rs and their teachers. In this article, the objective is to ar gue an appropriate perspective on and suggest approaches to the use of (the foreign) language by science teachers during teaching, which may lead to learners’ enhanced understanding of the scientific concepts towards enhan ced outcomes. This article is the outcome of sustained literature reviews of cross-national research on language in science education over the last 40 years. In this article, a plural nature of school science including it being a distinct language, foreign to all learners irrespect ive of their first language is adopt ed. It is intended to be of particular relevance to contexts where formal learning in science is conducted in a foreign language because of the language proficiency requireme nt as a necessary first step in learning in that language. However, due to the global trends in immigration, the popularit y of English, as the preferred classroom language of instruction, especially how th e language of instruction changes when used in the science context, and the adopted view of science as a distinct language, this article is of relevance to the general in ternational science education comm unity. The main objective in this article is therefore to foreground the role of th e instructional language as used by the science teacher. This article particularly targets the scie nce teacher within the we ll known need for teacher intervention in the lear ning of school science.