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1 CROSSING BORDERS: HIGH SCHOOL SC IENCE TEACHERS LEARNING TO TEACH THE SPECIALIZED LANGUAGE OF SCIENCE By JENNIFER DRAKE PATRICK A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Jennifer Drake Patrick
3 To my husband and best friend, Rob
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to begin by thanking my doc toral committee for supporting me during this process: Dr. Zhihui Fang, Dr. Rose Pringle, Dr. Mary Brownell, and Dr. Di ane Yendol-Hoppey. Each of you pl ayed a significant role in shaping my experience at The University of Florida and influencing my gr owth and development as a researcher and teacher. I thank you for your leadership and commitment to education. I would especially like to acknowledge my chair Dr Zhihui Fang who encouraged me to design a study focused on disciplinary literacy and to write a grant to support my studies. Thank you for your direction. I would like to acknowledge the National Academy of Education for their support through the Adolescent Literacy Predoctoral Fello wship. I would especially like to thank Dr. Mark Conley for his insight and guidance. And of course, I have to say thank you to my fellow predoctoral awardees who served as both a support and an inspiration in this quest to complete my dissertation research. Now to begin with thanking my friends and family who supported me during this endeavor; the list is endless. I will begin with t hanking all of my dear friends who took care of my children, cooked dinners for my family, and listened to me throughout this journey: Hollee Garcia, Kris and Tom Karkkainen, Tammy Neeper, Misty and Ron Mansolilli, and the McCool family To each of you, I am indebt ed. I also want to extend a special acknowledgement to my dear friend and writing partner, Robbie Ergle. Without you this dissertation would not be. Thank you for your endless support and encouragement. I would next like to thank my family. Thank you to my mother-in-law Marie who was always checking in to offer support and sending Dunkin Donuts gift cards to
5 support my need for coffee. Thank you also to my sister and brother-in laws for their encouragement. I am eterna lly grateful to my parents Dan and Karen Drake whose model as parents and teachers guides me ever y day. Your support throughout this process has not gone unnoticed. Without reserv ation you trekked to Florida to watch the kids and help however and whenever needed. Thank you for your unconditional love and support in all of my efforts in life. And finally to my daily inspirationmy husband and children. Thank you to my three children who have been by my side along the way. Thank you Maggie, Trey, and Makayla for helping me to keep things in perspective and making Mommy laugh when she needed to. And to Rob. I do not even know where begin. First of all, your editing and formatting expertise contributed greatly to the completion of this document. But more importantly, you are my confidant, my best friend, and my lifeline. Your support and insight are unmatched. Th rough two deployments, two mo ves, and a dissertation, we made it. I am glad we are on this journey together and am grateful to have you in my life.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDG MENTS .................................................................................................. 4 LIST OF TABLES .......................................................................................................... 10 LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................ 11 ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................... 12 CHA PTER 1 INTRODUC TION .................................................................................................... 14 Background ............................................................................................................. 14 Science Li teracy ..................................................................................................... 16 Research Problem .................................................................................................. 19 Signific ance ............................................................................................................ 22 Purpose of the Study .............................................................................................. 23 Research Question ................................................................................................. 23 Study Delimitations and Limita tions ........................................................................ 25 2 LITERATURE REVIEW .......................................................................................... 26 Science Li teracy ..................................................................................................... 27 The Relevance of R eading in Sc ience .................................................................... 32 Research on the Integrat ion of Scienc e and R eading ............................................. 35 Disciplinary Literacy ................................................................................................ 40 The Specialized Langu age of Science .................................................................... 42 The Specialized Features of Science Language ..................................................... 45 Genre ............................................................................................................... 45 Procedure .................................................................................................. 46 Procedural recount ..................................................................................... 46 Science report ............................................................................................ 47 Science ex planation ................................................................................... 48 Science ex position ..................................................................................... 49 Register ............................................................................................................ 50 Technica lity ................................................................................................ 50 Abstract ion ................................................................................................. 52 Density ....................................................................................................... 54 Science Teachers Beliefs and Pr actice of Cont ent Lite racy ................................... 57 Role of Beliefs .................................................................................................. 57 Beliefs about Sci ence and Lite racy .................................................................. 59 Barriers to Integrating Reading and Science .................................................... 62 Professional Development and Science Teacher s Learni ng .................................. 66
7 Cultivating Change in Teachers Beliefs ........................................................... 66 The Nature of T eacher Lear ning ...................................................................... 68 Characteristics of Effective Professional Development .................................... 71 Summary ................................................................................................................ 76 3 RESEARCH METHODS ......................................................................................... 78 Research Q uestions ............................................................................................... 79 Theoretical Framework ........................................................................................... 81 Assumpti ons ..................................................................................................... 81 Research Pa radigm .......................................................................................... 81 Research Design .................................................................................................... 82 Setting .............................................................................................................. 82 Participants ....................................................................................................... 83 Process ............................................................................................................ 90 Data Coll ection ....................................................................................................... 92 Documents ....................................................................................................... 93 Intervie ws ......................................................................................................... 93 Informal C ontact ............................................................................................... 94 Participant Ob servati ons .................................................................................. 94 Data Anal ysis .......................................................................................................... 95 Validation St rategies ............................................................................................... 99 Role of the Researcher ......................................................................................... 100 Subjecti vity ..................................................................................................... 100 Trustworth iness .............................................................................................. 102 Responsib ility ................................................................................................. 102 Summary .............................................................................................................. 104 4 PROFESSIONAL DEVE LOPMENT MO DULES ................................................... 107 Context ................................................................................................................. 107 Focus on C ontent ........................................................................................... 107 Promoting Acti ve Learni ng ............................................................................. 108 Fostering Coherence ...................................................................................... 108 Duration ................................................................................................................ 108 Forma t .................................................................................................................. 109 Content of Modules ............................................................................................... 110 Module 1 ......................................................................................................... 110 Module 2 ......................................................................................................... 111 Expert re view ........................................................................................... 112 Practice based discuss ion........................................................................ 113 Closure .................................................................................................... 113 Assignment .............................................................................................. 113 Module 3 ......................................................................................................... 114 Expert re view ........................................................................................... 114 Practice based discuss ion........................................................................ 115 Closure .................................................................................................... 115
8 Assignment .............................................................................................. 115 Module 4 ......................................................................................................... 115 Expert re view ........................................................................................... 116 Practice based discuss ion........................................................................ 116 Closure .................................................................................................... 116 Assignmen t. ............................................................................................. 116 Module 5 ......................................................................................................... 117 Module 6 ......................................................................................................... 117 Expert re view ........................................................................................... 118 Practice based discuss ion........................................................................ 118 Closure .................................................................................................... 118 Assignment .............................................................................................. 118 Module 7 ......................................................................................................... 119 Expert re view ........................................................................................... 119 Practice based discuss ion........................................................................ 119 Closure .................................................................................................... 120 Assignment .............................................................................................. 120 Module 8 ......................................................................................................... 120 Expert re view ........................................................................................... 120 Participant based discussion .................................................................... 120 Summary .............................................................................................................. 121 5 SCIENCE TEACHERS PRIOR CONCEPT IONS ABOUT SCIENCE READI NG .. 124 Reading in Science ............................................................................................... 125 The Role of the Teac her ....................................................................................... 129 The Role of the Stude nt ........................................................................................ 134 Instructional Practices ........................................................................................... 139 Conclusi on ............................................................................................................ 143 6 SCIENCE TEACHERS NEW UNDERSTANDING ABOUT SCIENCE LANGUA GE .......................................................................................................... 144 Teachers Excitement for Learning Disciplinary Readi ng Prac tices ...................... 145 New Understanding about the C hallenges of Science Reading ............................ 147 Understanding about the Feat ures of Sc ience Language ..................................... 151 Technica lity .................................................................................................... 152 Abstract ion ..................................................................................................... 157 Density ........................................................................................................... 170 Genre ............................................................................................................. 180 Teaching the Specialized Language of Science in the Classr oom ....................... 185 Technica lity .................................................................................................... 185 Abstract ion ..................................................................................................... 193 Density ........................................................................................................... 204 Genre ............................................................................................................. 218 Conclusi on ............................................................................................................ 229
9 7 DISCUSSI ON ....................................................................................................... 232 Theorizing about Teacher Lear ning ...................................................................... 232 Description of System s ................................................................................... 234 Core Concept: Opportunities to Talk About Practice ..................................... 238 Motivation to Learn ......................................................................................... 252 Prior Kno wledge ............................................................................................. 255 Access to K nowledge ..................................................................................... 257 Science Teachers Willingness to Learn ......................................................... 259 Multiple Levels of S upport for In tegrati on ....................................................... 261 Curriculum N egotiation ................................................................................... 264 Facilitator Knowl edge and Ac tion ................................................................... 265 Conditions of Profe ssional Deve lopment ........................................................ 266 Influence of the School Cu lture ...................................................................... 268 Time ............................................................................................................... 269 Limitations ............................................................................................................. 270 Implicat ions ........................................................................................................... 271 Need to Foreground the Role of Language in Science T eaching and Learning ...................................................................................................... 271 Need to Equip Teachers with Knowled ge of Grammar and its Function in Science M eaning Making ............................................................................ 273 Encourage Border Crossi ng between Reading and Science Educat ors ......... 273 School Structures and Personnel That Support Innovat i on ............................ 274 Create Communities of Practice That Value Language in Schooling. ............ 275 Future Re search ............................................................................................. 276 Conclusi on ............................................................................................................ 278 APPENDIX A INFORMED CONS ENT FORM ............................................................................. 282 B PERSONAL STATEMENT .................................................................................... 285 C MIDTERM INTERV IEW QUEST IONS .................................................................. 287 D EXIT INTERVIEW PROTOCOL ............................................................................ 288 E OBSERVATION PROTOCOL ............................................................................... 290 LIST OF RE FERENCES ............................................................................................. 291 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................... 302
10 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 Teacher Information ......................................................................................... 105 3-2 Chronological List of Observ ations ................................................................... 106 4-1 Professional Develo pment Meeti ng Schedu le .................................................. 122 4-2 Vocabulary Thinkc hart ...................................................................................... 123 6-1 Density Sample ................................................................................................ 230
11 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 6-1 Caseys Co ncept Map ...................................................................................... 2317-1 Grounded Theor y Diagram ............................................................................... 2807-2 Model of Opport unities to Talk .......................................................................... 281
12 Abstract of Dissertation Pr esented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulf illment of the Requirements for t he Degree of Doctor of Philosophy CROSSING BORDERS: HIGH SCHOOL SC IENCE TEACHERS LEARNING TO TEACH THE SPECIALIZED LANGUAGE OF SCIENCE By Jennifer Drake Patrick December 2009 Chair: Zhihui Fang Major: Curriculum and Instruction (ISC) The highly specialized language of science is both challenging and alienating to adolescent readers. This study investigat ed how secondary science teachers learn to teach the specialized language of science in their classrooms. Three research questions guided this study: (a) what do science teachers know about teaching reading in science? (b) what understanding about the unique language demands of science reading do they construct through professional development? and (c) how do they integrate what they have l earned about these specialized f eatures of science language into their teaching practices? This study investigated the experience of seven secondary science teachers as they participated in a professional develop ment program designed to teach them about the specialized language of science. Data sources included participant interviews, audio-taped professional dev elopment sessions, field notes from classroom observations, and a prior knowledge survey. Results from this study suggest that science teachers (a) were excited to learn about disciplinary reading practices, (b ) developed an emergent awareness of the
13 specialized features of sci ence language and the various genres of science writing, and (c) recognized that the challenges of science reading goes beyond vocabulary. These teachers efforts to understand and address t he language of science in their teaching practices were undermined by their lack of basic knowledge of grammar, availability of time and resources, their prior knowledge and experiences, existing curriculum, and school structure. This study contributes to our underst anding of how secondary science teachers learn about disciplinary literacy and apply that k nowledge in their classroom instruction. It has important implications for litera cy educators and science educators who are interested in using language and literacy practi ces in the service of science teaching and learning.
14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Background There is widespread recognition that a focus on adolesc ent literacy is both important and necessary (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004; Heller & Greenleaf, 2007; Moje & Young, 2000; National Council of Teacher of English [NCTE], 2004; Vacca, 2002). With fast-paced changes and increasing technol ogical advances, adolescents must have advanced literacy skills to participate competitively in todays society (Heller & Greenleaf, 2007; Moje & Young, 2000). In a position statement on adolescent literacy from the International Read ing Association (IRA), Moor e, Bean, Birdyshaw, & Rycik (1999) state: adolescents enter ing the adult world in the 21st century will read and write more than at any other time in human histor y (p.3). Yet reports from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP ) show little improvement in secondary students reading. Nearly two-thirds of eighth and twelfth grade students are performing below the proficient level of reading (H eller & Greenleaf, 2007, National Center for Educational Statistics [NCES], 2007). This dissonance between how secondary students are performing in reading and the adv anced level of reading skills required by society are cause for alarm and warrants gr eater attention. Secondary students must receive instruction in reading within their c ontent classes in order to meet the literacy demands of current workplace and school environments (Fang & Schleppegrell, 2008; Moje, 2008). Numerous calls have been issued from researchers and organizations for secondary teachers to address the specific wa ys that literacy is used in content areas (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004; Heller & Greenleaf, 2007; IRA & NMSA, 2001; Moje, 2008;
15 Moore, Bean, Birdyshaw, & Rycik, 1999). Acco rding to the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE): Each academic content area poses its own literacy challenges in terms of vocabulary, concepts, and topics. Accordingly, adolescents in secondary school classes need explicit instruction in the literacies of each discipline as well as the actual content of the course so that they can become successful readers and writers in all subject areas (NCTE, 2007, p. 2). The NCTE further notes t hat the new forms, purposes and processing demands associated with secondary c ontent area reading require that teachers show, demonstrate, and make visibl e to students how literacy oper ates within the academic disciplines (NCTE Commission on Reading, 2004, p. 3). In order to do this, teachers must themselves develop an understanding of how language is characteristically used to construct content in their subject areas. Secondary teachers need to instruct student s how to read the content of subject areas like history, science, and math (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004; Heller & Greenleaf, 2007; Schleppegrell, 2004). Scholar s (e.g., Fang & Schleppegrell, 2008) suggest that as students move into the secondary school, t hey encounter texts that deal with more specialized topics and use langua ge that is more complex than those they typically read in the elementary school. The patterns, stru ctures, and grammar of these texts may be unfamiliar to secondary students. In order to engage students with s ubject area texts, teachers must address not only the content, but the way that language is used within the discipline to communicate information (Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008).
16 Disciplinary knowledge is primarily trans ferred through text (Fang & Schleppegrell, 2008). In science for example, scientists use text to gain access to past studies, record and report current results of studies, and write for future generations of scientists ( Hand, et al., 2003). In order for students to understand how language is used in specific disciplines, teachers must pr ovide opportunities for students to experience and discuss the language of various texts types so secondary students can begin to see how reading and writing are an int egral part of each subject (Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). Science Literacy Science literacy is at the forefront of refo rm efforts in science education. Both the National Sc ience Ed ucation Standards (National Research Council [NRC], 1996) and the Benchmarks for Science Literacy (The American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS], 1990) outline goals for te aching science literacy in K-16 science education. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) advocates that science literacy is a goal that we arguably all share in common (NSTA, 2000). This focus on science literacy was triggered by reports of students performances in science literacy at both the national and international level. At the national level, The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) measures student progress in science literac y. According to the most recent NAEP results in 2005, achievement in science litera cy is relatively stagnant. While there are improvements in average scores for 4th graders performance, they are only significant in the bottom half of the scale with an increase from 61% to 68% in the number of students performing at or above the basic level. However, the number of students performing at or above the proficient level shows no significant change. For 8th graders, scores remained unchanged in the 2005 assessm ent with only 59% of eighth grade
17 students scoring at or above the basic level. Finally, the twelfth-grade students scores significantly declined from 57% scoring at or above the basic level in 1996 to 54% in 2005. (NAEP, 2008, p. 1) At the international leve l, student performance from the United States ranges widely. The Trends in International Mat hematics and Science Study (TIMSS) reports that even though 4th grade U.S. students performed bet ter than the international average, they are not maintaining the same le vels of improvement in science literacy as their international peers. Eighth graders howev er did show improvement in their science achievement, outperforming 11 countries in 2003 compared to only five countries in 1995 (NCES, 2008, p.1; Gonz ales et al., 2004). Another international asse ssment reports three-year trends in 15-year olds performance in science litera cy. The Program for Inter national Student Assessment (PISA) results shows that U.S. students performed relative ly the same from 2000 to 2003. However, U.S. student s performed below the inte rnational average with 18 countries outperforming the U.S. (Lemke, et al., 2004). While subtle differences between these test fram eworks make direct comparisons di fficult, the alarm is just the samemethods of improving students scien ce literacy in the United States must continue to be explored (Hand, et al., 2003; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). The issue though lies in the complexity of science literacy. Despite the consensus that science literacy is a worthy goal, the c oncept of science literacy is broadly defined and explained (AAAS, 1993; De Boer, 2000; NRC, 1996; Wellingt on & Osborne, 2001). Norris and Phillips (2003) compare many defin itions of science literacy, noting the variety of ways that the concept is used: e.g. knowledge of and the ability to recognize
18 science content; knowledge for participation in science based social events, and the ability to use scientific knowledge for probl em solving (p. 225). Through their analysis, Norris and Phillips develop their own concept of science literacy, separating the idea into the derived sense, being educated and k nowledgeable about science content, and the fundamental sense, being able to read and write science content. Considering Norris and Phillips interpretation of science literacy, it becomes necessary for science teachers to go beyond just knowing and transmitting scientific information. Attending to the fundamental side of sci ence literacy requires science educators to be knowledgeable in reading and wr iting science themselves so that they may teach their students to do the same. Wellington and Osborne (2001) contend that science teachers must give prominence to the means and modes of representing scientific ideas, and explicitly to the teaching of how to read, how to write, and how to talk science (p. 138). Integrat ing discipline-specif ic reading strategies into secondary science teaching will bring attention to t he fundamental side of science literacy and provide students with authentic ex periences reading, writing, and talking about scientific information. In order for secondary students to achieve high levels of science literacy, they must be able to use reading to analyze, critique, question, and ex plore all types of scientific information. In science, reading is particularly chall enging for students. Students are more familiar with the structure and language of narrative texts. The language of science texts on the other hand typically serves to classify and explain information (Fang, 2005). Science texts have been described as using language that is simultaneously technical, dense, and abstract (Fang, 2005, 2006; Halli day & Martin, 1993). This highly
19 specialized language used in sci ence is vastly different from the narrative language that is more common in schools and therefore is often alienating to students (Halliday & Martin, 1993; Wellington & Osborne, 2001). Experts argue that the st udy of language in science is essential to develop students science literacy (Fang, 2006; G ee, 2004; Norris & Phillips, 2003; Schleppegrell, 2004; Yore, 2003). Learning sci ence involves not just knowing the subject matter but knowing how to recognize and interpret the unique linguistic features of science language (Fang, 2005; Gee, 2004). Rec ent scholarship in both reading and science education recommends that to promote science literacy among students, science teachers need to attend to not only the content of science, but also the specialized language features of science in their teachi ng (Fang, Lamme, & Pringle, 2008; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008; We llington & Osborne, 2001). Because the term science language can be interpreted widely by both literacy and science education scholars in various cont exts, it is necessary to define what science language means in this study. The concept of science language is used to mean how language is characteristically us ed by scientists to construct science knowledge. This study embraces the idea that the linguistic features of the language of science are unique and operate f unctionally to represent the particular ways that scientists communicate scientific informati on through written mode. Because of my focus on reading, science language as used in this study is concerned primarily with written science texts. Research Problem Secondary teachers must consider how l anguage is integral to the l earning and doing of science. Knowing the content of science is importa nt and necessary, but it is
20 not enough to be an effective science teacher. Science teachers must also be able to help their students gain access to scientific in formation through explicit instruction in how the discipline of science uses language to construct knowledge (Fang & Schleppegrell, 2008; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). One way to increase students access is to provide opportunities in science classrooms for students to practice reading various types of scientific information. Documentation however shows the daily re ading practices of secondary teachers are widely varied (Alvermann & Moore, 1990). In many classrooms, reading serves a supportive role, with the teacher serving as the main source of information through lecturing and giving notes. Reading is more often assigned than taught. In addition, the major source of reading at the secondary le vel is the textbook and the reading is typically centered on locating factual informa tion in the textbook to answer specific questions versus reading for understanding (Alv ermann & Moore, 1990; Yore, 1991). Another problem with reading in secondary schools is t eacher support. Secondary teachers report that professional development that addresses reading in the content area is too general and information is given t oo quickly (Muth, 1993; Vigil & Dick, 1997). Teachers are often given a few examples of reading strategies in a workshop and then expected to integrate it on their own into t heir teaching practice. Secondary teachers then view reading as something to do in addition to their already tight curriculum plans. (Allington, 2002; Bintz, 1997; Hagar & G able, 1993; Konopak & Readance, 1994, Sturtevant, 1996). It is critical that science teachers are convinced of the value of teaching students how to read the specialized discourse of science. When students leave high school,
21 much of their exposure to sci entific information will occur th rough written text. Students must gain access to the particulars of sci ence language while in school in order to independently evaluate and critic ize scientific information pr esented to them as adults (Wellington & Osborne, 2001). Support for implementing discip line-specific reading strategies into core subject areas at the secondary level is building (H eller & Greenleaf, 2007; Norris & Phillips, 2003; Fang & Schleppegrell, 2008; Moje, 2008; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008; Siebert & Draper, 2008), but the empirical research in this area is lacking. Unfortunately, research on the effectiveness of explicit in struction on science linguistic devices in educational settings is not available. H and and Prain (2006) question: Can the use of approaches [in science education] that ar e based on using language replicate how scientists use language and promote understanding of science concepts? The research to date is very thin on this question with mu ch work to be done (p.105). Research in the secondary setting has yet to address if teaching students how to read and write like scientists will improve their comprehension a nd lead to greater independence in science learning. Most of the empirical research that does exist at the secondary level with reading in the content area focuses on integrati ng generalizable reading skills and strategies into the curriculum (e.g., phonics, fluency, cognitive/metacognitive strategies) without attending to the discipline-specific language demands of content reading (Kamil & Bernhardt, 2004; Sawchuk, 2006). Although t hese skills and strategies are valuable and necessary, reading demands in areas su ch as science, math, and history are unique. It has been argued that the content areas require that teachers explicitly teach
22 students how to read those texts (Fang & Schleppegrell, 2008; Heller & Greenleaf, 2007; Moje, 2008; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). It is important to study the role of l anguage in learning to read science texts. This study goes beyond the traditional conceptions of reading infusion in content areas and explores how teachers come to understand the unique linguistic features of science texts and apply that knowledge to their teachi ng practice. This study will attempt to help science teachers understand how the study of language is central to the teaching of science and how explicit teachi ng of the language f eatures could contri bute to students reading comprehension of scientific information. Significance This research is significant because it addresses numerous calls from researchers and organizations for secondary teachers to addr ess the specific ways that literacy is used in content areas (Biancaros a & Snow, 2004; IRA & NMSA, 2001; Moore, Bean, Birdyshaw, & Rycik, 1999, Heller & Gr eenleaf, 2007). If teachers understand how language works in science, they can better in struct their students in how to comprehend challenging science texts and use language effectively to communicate scientific principles and understanding when writing and talking about science. This research is also significant in that it addresses the concern of secondary teachers that professional development in secondary reading instruction is not content specific. This study addresses the disciplin e-specific reading demands of science. Science teachers will be engaged in learning about the specialized features of science language and applying what they learn to teaching students how to comprehend science texts.
23 This study goes beyond the teaching of generalized reading strategies (e.g., think aloud, KWL, graphic organizer) in science curricu lums. It is valuable to science teacher education because it investigates how teacher s learn to teach t he specialized language of science through reading instruction. As more research is conducted on the specialized language of science, better programs can be developed to train teachers in how to teach students about the language of science. This research will contribute to the science education communitys knowledge about the role of language in teaching science by showing how these secondar y science teachers integrate their understanding of the role of language in learning how to comprehend science text. Purpose of the Study The purpos e of this study is to enhance secondary science teachers expertise in reading instruction. Recent scholarship in both reading and science education recommends that to promote science liter acy among students science teachers need to attend to not only the content of science but also the specia lized features of science language in their teaching (Fang, Lamme, & Pringle, 2008; We llington & Osborne, 2001). Through professional dev elopment and classroom obser vations, this study will document how science teachers learn about specialized features of science language and integrate that knowledge into their science teaching. Research Question Scholars c ontend that secondary cont ent teachers should understand how language works to develop knowledge in their c ontent area in order to effectively teach their students how to read the particular content (Fang & Shleppegrell, 2008; Moje, 2008; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). This study examines how secondary science teachers learn about the spec ialized features of science language. Therefore, the
24 overarching research question guiding th is study is: How do secondary science teachers learn about the specialized lang uage of science and apply it to teaching reading of scientific texts? The following sub-questions are addressed in the study: (1) What do science teachers know about teaching reading in science? (2) What understanding about the specialized features of science language do they construct through professional development? (3) How do they integrate what they have learned about these specialized features of science language into their teaching practices? This study will involve engaging seven secondary science teachers in ongoing professional development sessions focused on learning about the specialized discourse of science. Through shared readings, di scussions, and co-planning with peers and the researcher, these teachers will consider how explicitly teaching students about science language could impact their teac hing practice and student lear ning. Initial meetings will introduce the topic of t he language of science and prov ide professional reading materials that recommend that content teachers attend to the discipline-specific reading needs of the subject areas. Subsequent meet ings will address the specific ways that science manipulates language to construct sci entific knowledge and information, as well as strategies that teachers can use to dev elop students awareness of and insights into the language of science. Between professional development sessions, I will participate in the individual teachers classrooms as an observer. The purpose of these classroom visits is to observe how and if classroom teachers address the specialized language of science in their daily practice and to record what strategies and ideas they use from professional devel opment meetings.
25 Study Delimitations and Limitations There are delimitations related to the potent ial findings of this rese arch. First of all, the focus of the professi onal development on discipline-s pecific reading strategies in science could be applied to other content areas at the sec ondary level. Professional development for history, math or English teachers could be modeled after the plan for professional development used in this study. In addition, wh ile this study is directed towards practicing teachers, the info rmation could be adapted and used with prospective teachers in teacher education progr ams. The results of this study could inform teacher educators in how to train beginning teachers to integrate disciplinespecific reading instruction in to their content teaching. There are also potential limitat ions of this research. Because only seven teachers participated in this study, it is difficult to generalize their experience to all secondary science teachers. Each participant brought their own experiences and views to the study setting and learning process. It will be up to the reader of the research to decide how the participants experiences may be us eful or applicable to a new setting. Additionally, the setting of the school and the community is particular to this study. Again, readers will need to determine if appropriate comparisons can be drawn between settings. Another limitation is my goal for the participants in this research. My intention for conducting this study is to help secondary science teachers integrate the teaching of the specialized language of science into their daily classroom practice. Therefore, I was actively involved with the teachers learning process, not just silently watching and observing.
26 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW The purpos e of this study is to explor e how secondary science teachers learn to teach science as a specialized language in their own classrooms. Recent scholarship in both reading and science education recommends that science teachers attend to not only the content of science in teaching but t he way that language is used in science as well (Fang, Lamme, & Pringle, 2008; Wellin gton & Osborne, 2001). This chapter presents relevant research related to teac hing the specialized language features of science. The issue of science literacy has pervaded the science education community. Debate over what it means to be scientifical ly literate has prompted many scholars to offer definitions and explanations of the concep t. Therefore, the first topic addressed is the meaning of science literacy. A revi ew of what professional organizations and scholars are saying about what is means to be scientifically literate contributes to an understanding of the big picture of what is happening in science education. The next topic covered is the relevance of reading in science including current research on reading-science integration. It is important to understand how reading plays a role in science learning in order to develop and plan strategies to improve student learning. Looking closely at what has already been done in this area will inform the organization and planning of this study. Specifically, since this study is inte rested in how teachers learn about the specialized language of science, a review of what scholars are saying about the importance of teaching about the features of science language is necessary. Within this review, the specialized features of science language will be identified and discussed.
27 This review will conclude with a discussion of science teachers beliefs and attitudes about reading integr ation and teacher learning and professional development. Because this study includes planning profe ssional development for secondary science teachers, the studies in this section info rm the design and implem entation procedures of the professional development. Science Literacy In its most basic sens e, science liter acy means being able to read and write science (Wellington & Osborne, 2001). Howe ver, google the words science literacy and a multitude of sites show up offering various explanations of th e concept. Whereas some place emphasis in science literacy on being able to read everyday newspaper articles about science related issues, other s emphasize that science literacy involves a deeper understanding of the voca bulary and nature of scientif ic information (Gee, 2004; Wellington & Osborne, 2001). While it is genera lly agreed upon that being scientifically literate is important and desir able, various interpretations of how to develop scientific literacy have been offered by members of th e science community. This discussion of science literacy is going to focus on expla nations of science literacy that have been presented in direct relations hip to K-12 science education. The American Association for the Ad vancement of Science (AAAS) brought national attention to the issue of science literacy with the release of Project 2061 in 1989, a long term initiative to promote liter acy in science, math, and technology. AAAS (1989) calls for science for all Americans and broadly defines t he concept of science literacy as follows: Science literacy, which encompasses mat hematics and technology as well as the natural and social sciences, has many facets. These include being familiar with the
28 natural world and respecting its unity; being aw are of some of t he important ways in which mathematics, technology, and the sciences depend upon one another; understanding some of the key concepts and principles of sci ence; having a capacity for scientific ways of thinking; knowing that science, mathematics, and technology are human enterprises, and knowing what that imp lies about their strengths and limitations; and being able to use scientific knowledge and ways of thinking for personal and social purposes. (Introduction section, para. 21). This broad enco mpassing definition led the way to the AAAS next public ation of the Benchmarks for Science Literacy, a set of goals to guide educators in how to devel op students science lit eracy at each grade level. As national attention in education was drawn to science literacy, the National Research Council (NRC) then released the National Science Education Standards in 1995, supporting calls for science literacy fo r all and offering yet another interpretation of science literacy: Scientific literacy means a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read wit h understanding articl es about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions. Scientific literacy implies that a pers on can identify scientific issu es underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be able to evaluate t he quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies
29 the capacity to pose and evaluate ar guments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately (NRC, 1995, chap. 2). Even further, the National Science Teac hers Association (NSTA) advocates strongly for science literacy in their position statement, Beyond 2000Teachers of Science Speak Out (2003) As we enter the 21st cent ury, NSTA reaffirms the importance of scientific literacy for ALL st udents (p. 1). In this document, NSTA supports both the Benchmarks for Scienc e Literacy and The National Education Standards as worthy goals for helping science teachers to increase the science literacy of all students. These national organizations have forced the science education community to reconsider the relationship between scienc e and literacy. As evidenced by recent international conferences in science educ ation (Hand, Alvermann, Gee, Guzzetti, Norris, Phillips, Prain, & Yore, 2003; S aul, 2004) and several pr ominent publications (e.g. Norris & Phillips, 2003, Wellington & Osborne, 2001), this issue of integrating literacy and science has gained much attention in the field of science education. Many researchers and science educators have descri bed and identified what they believe are key features of scientific literacy (DeB oeur, 2000; Hand & Prain, 2006; Fang, 2006; Norris & Phillips, 2003; Yore, Bisanz, & Hand, 2003; Yore & Treagust, 2006). One of the most substantia l and highly referenced expl anations of science literacy is offered by Norris and Phillips (2003). They assert that reading and writing are essential elements of science. Be ing scientifically literate invo lves not just knowing facts and information about science, but being able to use reading and writing to learn science. Norris and Phillips separate this knowledge of science into the derived sense
30 knowing the content and information of science, and the fundamental sense, being able to write and read in science. So not only should science education focus on teaching about science, but it also must encompa ss how to do science. Wellington & Osborne (2001) support this notion, arguing that in order to foster students science literacy, science educators must explicit ly teach how to read, how to write, and how to talk science (p. 138). If the purpose of scienc e education then is to generate students who can read, write, and talk sci ence then a central consideration in promoting science literacy must involve a consideration of the role of language in science. The idea that teaching students to become scient ifically literate must involve direct instruction in learning the language of science has received support throughout the science education community (Fang, 2005, 2006; Lemke, 1990; Yore, Bisanz, & Hand, 2003; Wellington & Osborne, 2001). Halliday & Martin (1993) contend that science is often alienating to students because the distinct ive features of scient ific language are so divergent from students everyday language. In order to foster science literacy, students must engage in behaving like scientists, using sci ence language to evaluate, critique, and consider varying scientific i deas (Fang, 2005, 2006; G ee, 2004; Halliday & Martin, 1993; Schleppegrell, 2004). The va rying views of science literacy agree that students must know not only science facts but be able to use language to think more deeply about scientific issues and ideas. This consideration of sci ence and literacy in the fiel d of science education runs parallel to calls in literacy education for changes in how literacy is addressed in the content areas such as science, history, and math. The Reading Next Report (2004), contends that, the idea is not that cont ent-area teachers shoul d become reading and
31 writing teachers, but rather that they should emphasize the reading and writing practices that are specific to their subjects, so students are encouraged to read and write like historians, scientists, mathematicians, and other subject-area experts (Biancarosa & Snow, p. 15). Incorporati ng literacy instruction into the content areas is widely supported by literacy experts and national organizations (N ational Council of Teachers of English, 2007; National Middle School Asso ciation, 2001; Moore, Bean, Birdyshaw, & Rycik, 1999; Vacca, 2002). The notion of science literacy as it relate s to K-12 education is quite complex yet the various explanations and discussions offe red by professionals in both the field of science and the field of literacy support the notion that in order to foster science literacy in schools, it is both important and necessary to consider how language activities play a role in the learning and doing of science. A new vision for science education calls for both hands-on and minds-on learning (Hand et al., 2003). The addition of the mindson part addresses the need for students to be in volved in reading, writing, and thinking deeply about science concepts. This change in emphasis encourages teachers to provide opportunities for students to behav e like scientists, engaging in authentic science related reading and writing experienc es. In order to develop the science literacy of students, attenti on must be shifted in science education to include both hands on and minds-on experiences. According to Hand & Prain (2006), We need to come to some understanding of how we can engage students in classroom environments that move past replication (k nowledge reproduction) to intelligent habits in order to encourage them to act like real scientists (knowledge production) (p. 106). The role of literacy in science education must be reconceptualized.
32 The Relevance of Reading in Science When pupils leave sc hool they are far more likely to read about science than they are to ever do it. T he ability to read about science carefully, critically and with a healthy skepticism is a key element of scientific literacy. Moreover, it is a prerequisite of citizenship and playing a part in a democracy (Wellington & Osborne, 2001, p. 42). The role of text in learning science has been widely visited by scholars (Hand et al. 2003; Lemke, 2004; Norris & Phillips, 2003). Text serves the purpose in science communities of transmitting ideas, theor ies, and arguments between scientists. Therefore, the ability to read text in science becomes e ssential if one is to understand scientific information. Norri s and Phillips (2003) describe this relationship between reading and science as constitutive, wherei n without text and reading, the essence of science would not exist. Hand et al. (2003) further elaborat e on the role of reading in science: Without text and without reading, the social practices that make science possible could not be engaged: recording and preservi ng data; encoding accepted science for anybodys use, reviewing of ideas by scient ists anywhere; reexamining ideas at any point in time; connecting ideas to those developed previously (intertextuality); communicating ideas between those who have not met or lived at the same time; encoding variant positions; and focusing attention on a text for the purpose of interpretation, prediction, ex planation, or test. (p.612) In their review of language arts and science research, Yore, Bisanz, and Hand (2003) identify that the current trend in viewing reading in sci ence is interactive in nature (p.705). Meaning is constructed through t he interaction between the text, the reader, and the socio-cultural context. A traditional view of reading plac es the role of the text as
33 authoritative and the role of the reader to simply locate and recall info rmation in the text. In contrast, a constructivist view of readi ng positions reading as an active process in which the three components the reader, the text, and the socio-cultural contextintertwine to create unique interpretations and understandings of written materials. This constructivist view of reading is supported by both literacy (Bruner, 1986) and science experts (Norris & Phillips, 2003). Louise Rosenblatt (1969) triggered this notion of reading as transactional, describing the re lationship between the reader and the text as active, in which neither the text nor the re ader are supreme in the relationship. During the reading process, the reader brings prior knowledge, experience, and ideas and to the interpretation of the words in the text. So each interaction between text and reader is unique. Recent scholarship in li teracy includes the importance of the sociocultural context on the reading process, acknowledging the influence of the characteristics of the envir onment in which the information is being read (Bean, 2000; Moje, Dillon, & OBrien, 2000; Moje & Y oung, 2000; Pardo, 2004 ; Ruddell & Unrau, 1994; Vacca, 2002). The unique aspects of individual classrooms such as teacher directions, classroom organization, and communi ty valuesinteract with the transaction between the reader and the text to create meanings that are unique to that time and place. Viewing reading as a constructive proc ess then supports Norris and Phillips (2003) notion of a fundamental sense of scienc e literacy. In science, reading requires the reader to think about previous encounters with the same topic, to make judgments about the validity of the authors arguments, to apply appropriate reading strategies, to consider what other texts hav e said about the topic, to question, and to synthesize the
34 new information in order to create meaning (Y ore, 2004). If the ai m of science education is to replicate the way real scientists behave, then science teachers must engage students in reading (Wellington & Osborne, 2001, p. 42). Implications from this standpoint for the science classroom are wide. Immersing students in authentic science reading tasks can develop and advance science literacy. Scientific information is primarily shared with the general public through texts like newspapers, magazines, and the Internet Therefore, students need extended opportunities in classrooms to engage in readi ng real science information from a variety of scientific resources. Students must develop the ability to understand, analyze, and make judgments about the scientific information being read. Fostering this interaction with various texts encourages students to grapple with major scientific concepts and ideas; reading becomes a means to thinking critically and constructively about science. Unfortunately, active reading is often neglected in the science classroom (Palinscar & Magnusson, 2001; Wellington & Osborne, 2001). Reading in science is often isolated to looking up information in a textbook to answer questions or learning specialized vocabulary (Yager, 2004). In an informal survey, Guzetti, Hynd, Skeels, and Williams (1995) report t hat two-thirds to th ree-fourths of high school students never or rarely use textbooks beyond completing the assigned problems. Further, many students avoid reading in science because they find it challenging and alienating (Lemke, 1990; Wellington & Osborne, 2001). In thinking about science and reading, it is important to consider how the language of science is distinctive fr om the everyday language that students use. Gee (2004) argues for teaching students the academic language of science. Scientists have
35 particular ways of using language to c onvey meaning. The language choices of scientistsincluding vocabulary and gramma rconstruct knowledge in science. Making students aware of how scientists use l anguage in science will enhance reading comprehension of scientific inform ation (Fang, 2006; Gee, 2004). Research on the Integration of Science and Reading While desc ribing a middle school science cl assroom where the teacher attends to reading in science, Topping and McManus (2002) report that, S tudents in this class not only become interested in reading science, but they also learn ho w (p. 32). While many anecdotal accounts support the value of implementing reading in content areas (Creech & Hale, 2006), the empirical literature base on this topic is scant with most of the studies occurring at the elementary level. One of the first studies to show suppor t for integrating reading and science was conducted in an elementary setting with thir d grade students. Morrow Pressley, Smith, & Smith (1997) found that st udents who received language arts and literature-based instruction with science instruction outper formed students who did not receive the literature-based instruction. During instruction, students re ceiving the treatment were immersed in literacy activities like independent reading and writing, lit eracy centers, and teacher-modeled lessons. The treatment group also read childrens literature related to the science concepts being read about in their science textbooks. The combination of the traditional explicit instru ction from the textbooks with t he literature-bas ed instruction proved to be successful with those student s who received the treatment scoring significantly higher on all literacy measur es and two out of three science measures. In a similar study, Guthrie et al (1998) investigated the effectiveness of integrating science and literacy goals with third and fifth grade students. Th e CORI framework
36 (Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction) comb ined the use of motivational strategies, reading strategies, and science-related trade books (Guthrie, et al., 1998; Guthrie, Wigfield, & Perencevich, 2004). Students involved with CORI received explicit instruction of reading strategies within a thematic science unit. Strategies taught included using prior knowledge, searching fo r information, comprehending informational text, interpreting literary text, and selfmonitoring. Compared with students in a traditional basal centered program, Guth rie and colleagues f ound that students who were in the experimental groups showed po sitive gains. Students who received CORI were more likely to use multiple strategies when learning from texts. In addition, students who were proficient in their strate gy use demonstrated gained higher levels of conceptual knowledge. Finally, researchers f ound that the instructi onal conditions of CORI had a positive indirect effect on conceptual transfer. In another study, Romance and Vitale (1992) attained positive results in their investigation of an int egrated fourth grade language arts and science program. Students were immersed in a 2-hour time blo ck that involved explicit instruction in reading strategies such as cause-effect relationship, main idea, and questioning, multiple opportunities to read from a variety of materials, and handson activities. When compared with peers on standardized tests, students involved with the integrated curriculum performed significantly better. These studies indicate positive results in students performance when integrating reading and science at the elementary level. However, questions remain about the effectiveness of integrating reading into secondary curriculums. Generally, the elementary based studies involve integrating science in to a flexible schedule and
37 working with teachers who have some training in reading. At the secondary level, teachers are more focused on teaching content and have little knowledge about teaching reading within their content (OBrien, Stewart, & Moje, 19 95). In addition, the structure of secondary schools differs greatly from the elementary setting. Secondary teachers usually see many students for short per iods of the day maki ng it challenging to implement new strategies and id eas (Eccles & Harold, 1993). Recently, two studies conducted in middl e school settings emerged reflecting the same positive results from the integration of reading and science as discovered in the elementary research. A study conducted in a middle school setting found positive results from infusing reading instruction into the science curriculum (Fang et al., 2008). Over a year long period, science teachers and university personnel provided weekly reading strategy lessons in the middle sc hool classroom along with a home reading program. Students who receiv ed the reading infusion progr am outperformed students on a measure of science litera cy over those who did not par ticipate in the integrated curriculum. Another study also achieved positive result s from integrating reading and writing into the science curriculum (Gaskins et al ., 1994). Researchers merged reading and writing into the science curriculum of a mi ddle school that serves students with belowaverage reading scores. Teachers explicitly taught reading, writing, and thinking strategies to help students solve science problems. Strategies included asking questions, making predictions, comparing and contrasting information, reading from a variety of sources, and note-taking. Teacher interviews further provided support for the concept with teachers reporti ng higher levels of student engagement and more effective
38 instruction through use of the process model. A performance based assessment served as a pre-and post test measure. Researchers found that the impact of the integrated curriculum had positive effects on student learning. At both the elementary and the middle level setting, students showed positive gains from participating in integrated science and reading instruction. Providing opportunities for extended time for reading from various types of scientific texts and teaching explicit reading strategies appear to be useful methods for blending reading into science classrooms. However, the studies focus on generalizable reading strategies (e.g. prior knowledge, concept mappi ng, self monitoring, etc.) and are mostly integrated within a flexible program with an em phasis on language arts instruction also. It appears that none of the studies consider how the language of science impacts students comprehension of challenging science materials. Studies investigating the impact of using language-based activities to support students understanding of the academic language of science are still needed. The theoretical debate about how to prov ide instruction that supports students acquisition of academic languages is withstandi ng, yet there is a dearth of empirical studies in this area. It has been well-establ ished that the language of science is unique and complex (Gee, 2004; Halliday & Martin 1993) and students are having trouble with comprehension of science texts. It is possi ble that students lack of understanding of science language could contribute to their di fficulties with understandi ng science texts. Therefore, there remains a need to discove r the best methods for teaching students how to acquire and use this language effectively in order to improve their comprehension of thes e demanding texts.
39 A few studies look at language-based activiti es in content learning. Studies show that explicit teaching of text structur e awareness does positively impact students understanding of content (Cook & Mayer, 1 988; Richgels, McGee, Lomax, & Sheard, 1987; Spiegel & Barufaldi, 1994). Further in vestigations have considered how talking and writing can enhance content learning (Rivard, 2003; Riv ard & Straw 2000). Rivard (2003) confirms that involving students in language-based activities in science classrooms such as peer discussion and writt en explanations impr oves learning of content material. Recently, PurcellGates, Duke, & Mart ineau (2007) conducted a longitudinal study to explore the impact of authentic reading a nd writing experiences and explicit text genre instruction on the performanc e of second and third grade students. Over a twoyear period, students received instruction in science that inclu ded authentic literacy experiences or authentic literacy experiences pl us explicit instruction in how to read and write informational and procedural texts in science. Teachers under both conditions received ongoing professional development and support from university personnel in implementing the research conditions. While t he effects of authentic literacy activities on performance were strongly correlat ed with student performance, results demonstrated no significant impact of the explicit teaching of text genre on a majority of the performance outcomes. These result s conflict with the notion that academic discourses and genres are best learned through explicit instruction. In their discussion, the authors acknowledge t he complexity of their study, offering varying explanations for their findings. One explanation is the po ssibility that students as young as third grade may not be developm entally ready for explicit text genre
40 instruction and that possibly this type of in struction would be more effective at the secondary level where students have more expos ure to reading these types of texts. They also consider the possibility that exp licit teaching of genre function might be more effective if combined directly with explicit instruction in reading and writing strategies related to the genre. Purcell-Gates et al (2007) summarize We need to know much more about which aspects of which types of language knowl edge and growth are amenable to explicit in struction (p. 41). While this research raises questions about the call from many science and literacy experts to teach students explicit ly about features of science texts, it is only one study and it opens the possibilities fo r much more resear ch in this arena. The issue of how language is a part of academic learning is complex and the right combination of authentic literacy activities and explicit instru ction is still unknown. In addition, there is relatively little work done in secondary cl assrooms in regards to integrating language and science. More empirical work in this area needs to be conducted. Disciplinary Literacy Recent scholars in the field of literacy have started to look at the concept of disciplinary literacy, a new vision of the traditional concept of c ontent literacy (Moje, 2008; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). The idea of disciplinar y literacy embraces the notion that disciplines have particula r ways of using language and literacy to communicate informati on in that discipline. For example, in science the language and literacy tasks are specialized to meet t he needs of writing and communicating about science. Likewise, in history, the l anguage and literacy tasks serve to communicate historical information. Di sciplinary literacy focuses on how writers in particular disciplines use language and literacy to build knowledge of that discipl ine (Moje, 2008).
41 Shanahan and Shanahan (2008) conducted a two year study examining how disciplinary experts approached reading in their disciplines and then how that knowledge could be transferred to teaching high school students to read in particular disciplines. In the first y ear of the study, the resear chers formed teams around three disciplinary areas: chemistry, history, and mathematics. Ea ch team consisted of two disciplinary experts who were re searchers in the field, two teacher educators, two high school teachers, and two literacy experts. Teams were posed with two tasks in order to identify the specialized reading processes for each discipline. The team initially met and analyzed various texts to discover how t hey approached the reading of the text and then to explain the reasons the team felt the texts might be challenging to students. The next task involved asking each team me mber to read and thin k aloud about their own reading approach to reading in their disciplines. Findings from the first year confirmed t hat members of each t eam viewed reading similarly in relation to thei r discipline. Teams were then asked to propose a list of strategies that could be useful to help stude nts read in their discipline. The next phase of the study involved the high school teacher s from the teams taking those strategies into their classrooms. Thos e teachers then reported back to the disciplinary team with student samples and feedback for further analysis. This study concluded that traditional efforts that infuse general comprehensions strategies acro ss the content areas are in need of revision. Shanahan & Shanahan (2008) argue that this study reinforces that experts in particular discipli nes use language and literacy in ways that are specialized to that discipline and therefore t he strategies teachers use to help their students learn to read in a particular discipline should reflec t the way that experts in the fields read.
42 Literacy experts are rethinking traditiona l means of addressing reading in the content areas (Draper, 2008; Moje, 2008; Olson & Truxaw, 2009; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). The idea of disciplinary liter acy moves the focus from incorporating generalized reading strategies into subject areas to using discipline specific literacy strategies that come from withi n the discipline. This shift in thinking contributes to the complex question of how liter acy and content experts can work together to improve adolescents reading in secondary settings. Much work is needed to confirm the best ways to address issues of disciplinary literacy in classrooms. Empirical evidenc e supporting the teaching of disciplinary literacy in the cla ssroom is lacking. The Specialized Language of Science Numerous calls from researcher s and organizations hav e been made for secondary teachers to address the specific wa ys that literacy is used in content areas (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004; IRA & NMSA, 2001; Moore, Bean, Birdyshaw, & Rycik, 1999, Heller & Greenleaf, 2007). The National C ouncil of Teachers of English (NCTE) (2007) supports the need for secondary teachers to provide explicit instruction in both the content and the literacy demands of each academic area. Heller & Greenleaf (2007) further claim that it is essential th at secondary teachers understand the reading and writing skills that are unique to their discipline in order to show students how to use and apply the language of a particular content area. In order to do this, teachers must themselves develop an understanding of how l anguage is characteristically used to construct content in their subject areas. Scholars (e.g., Fang & Schleppegrell, 2008) have suggested that as student s move into the secondary school, they encounter texts that deal with more specialized topics and use language that is more complex than
43 those they typically read in the elementary school. Unde rstanding discipline-specific ways of using language is a key to l earning the content of the discipline. Current recommendations for content reading instruction focus on basic, generalizable reading skills and stra tegies (e.g., phonics, fluency, cognitive/metacognitive strategies) without attending to the specific language demands of science reading (Fang, 2008; Kamil & Ber nhardt, 2004). While research has shown some success with integrating reading strategy instruction into science curriculums at the elementary and middle school level, per formance in secondary testing and postsecondary testing on science literacy tasks de monstrates that students are graduating from high school without being scientifically lit erate. One explanatio n for this could be because the demands of reading science information at the secondary level are more complex and challenging than at the elementary level and t herefore teachers must go beyond these basic, generalizable reading skills and strategies to attend to the specialized discourse of science to cont inue developing students science literacy. Teachers often assume, however, that by the time students r each middle and high school they are able to read. Secondary t eachers focus their instruction on subject matter knowledge, often assigning reading as a task to be complet ed, not taught. As content specialists, teachers at this leve l are comfortable and familiar with the nuances of science discourse and often do not recogni ze that the patterns of the language in science are seemingly foreign to many sec ondary students. Teachers inattention to the matter of how to read science discourse often makes students feel alienated and disconnected from the course ma terial (Halliday & Martin, 1993).
44 The science language of secondary learning is vastly different from the language of elementary school learning where concepts and ideas ar e more closely tied to students everyday lives. In secondary se ttings, science concepts and ideas are more distant from the everyday experiences of students (Fang, 2006; Veel, 1998). The language that constructs scientific knowledge principles, and world views is highly specialized in more advanced science reading (Halliday & Martin, 1993). In science, texts are predominately expos itory and analytical expressing logical relationships among abstract processes and ideas through strategies such as taxonomies and classification (Lemke, 1990). Therefore, students need guided and extended practice in reading the content area of science in the secondary school. As students move into more advanced literacy experiences in secondary science classrooms, they need to obtain strategies for engaging with the linguistic challenges of more advanced scientific texts (Christi e, 1998; Schleppegrell, 2004). Language constructs knowledge in particular ways in science to make it functional for the field of science. For example, scientists discuss sci ence concepts in an abstract manner that emphasizes the process and out comes, not the human agencies involved. This way of using language in science makes the information appear more objective and authoritative (Halliday & Martin, 1993; Schl eppegrell, 2004). Scientists use language to convince readers of interpretations of result s from scientific invest igations. Being able to recognize the ways that scientists us e language to present their ideas can help students grasp more advanced science concepts (Wellington & Osborne, 2001). While it is valuable to expose students to various authentic types of scientific texts, it is equally important to prov ide explicit instruction in ho w to comprehend these types of
45 texts. Mere exposure is in sufficient to guarantee that st udents gain the necessary skills to critically read and evaluate scientific informa tion. Therefore, it is imperative that students understand the features of scientific discourse The Specialized Features of Science Language Science is a discipline aimed at describing, explaining, analyzing, classifying, comparing, generaliz ing, hy pothesizing, theorizing, and arguing about phenomena in the natural world. In order to do this, scientists have unique ways of using language. The following section will explain and discuss two key constructs of science language: genre and register. Genre To begin, science disc ourse has a comple x organizational structure. As opposed to the typical predictable structure of narra tive writing, the structures used in science discourse are much more varied and complex, depending on the purpose of the text. These structures have been identified by linguist s as text genres, the way that language is organized to serve a particular social purpose, e.g., to inform, to instruct, to explain, to discuss. According to Veel (1997), there are seven major genres in science: procedure, recount, explanation, description, report, ex position, and discussion. Each of these genres has its own structural and gramma tical features. Under standing what these features are is critical to the developm ent of science literacy. Schleppegrell (2004) identifies the following text genres as mo st common in school science reading: Procedure, procedural recount, science repo rt, and science explanation (p. 115). Each of these genres is explained with an example below:
46 Procedure Schleppegr ell (2004) defines the purpose of the procedural genre to provide instructions for how to conduct experimental activities. The structure of this genre is unique and typically contains a series of s equential steps that tell the reader how to do something, like following a recipe. Other features of this genre can include a list of materials or a goal statement for the outcome of the exper iment. This genre employs a declarative mood with verbs written in the pres ent tense (e.g. you take off the top of the can and place it in the basket). In addition, command words like pour, cover and remove direct the reader in what to do. Also, transition words are commonly used in this genre like next, then, and after. This is typically one of the first genres students experience in science. The following example is extracted from directions for how to build a spectroscope found on the Explorator ium web site, an online educational site sponsored by the Explorator ium, a museum of science, art, and human perception founded in 1969 in San Francisco, CA. Next, using your scissors cut one of the index cards in half. You will use each half of the index card to make a s lit in the end of the shoe box. Place the two halves of the index card over one of the holes, creating a vertical slit (about 3/16" wide). Tape these piec es in place using masking or scotch tape. Next, cut out one eyepiece of the rainbow glasses (or a piece of diffraction grating) and place it over the openi ng on the shoe box. Lightly tape the diffraction grating in place. (excerpt from http://www.exploratoriu m.edu/explore/hand son.html ) Procedural recount The purpos e of this genre is to record information about what has happened in an experiment (Schleppegrell, 2004). The aim is to retell the events of an investigation. The structure of this genre usually contains st eps that explain the methods and processes
47 the writer used to conduct an experiment. Included also are statements of the purpose and the results. Language features of the procedural recount genre include use of action verbs in the past tense (e.g. we saw, we noticed, we observed). The declarative mood is used like in the procedure genre. In addition, references to specific nouns to name people and things are evident in procedur al recount. Another feature of this genre is the use of material processes to c onstruct events (e.g. ice floats on top of the water). Also, cause and effect statements are typically used to show relationship between events in an experiment Following is an example of a procedural recount about the water cycle. (Purpose) Today we did an experiment to demonstrate t he energy of the sun and to construct a model of the water cycle. (Steps) First we filled a third of a bucket with water that cont ained a cup of soil, a handful of salt and several leaves. We then put a mound of plasticine in the bottom of the bucket and stuck a plastic cup onto the mound with Blutack. Next we placed Clingwrap over the bucket and taped it down to make it secure. We put three of four marbles directly over the cup so that t he plastic sagged and left it in the sun for a few hours. (R esults)When we came back we saw that the water evaporated to the clingw rap where it cooled and condensed. Then the droplets joined t ogether and then it fell into the cup. This is called precipitation. The water was clean because the sun only pulls up water not salt. This means that we had made a model of the water cycle. (from http://www.decs.sa.gov.au/accountability/files/links/ProceduralReco unt_051 206 pdf) Science report The purpos e of this genre is to relate a set of facts about a topic. Halliday and Martin (1993) identify this genre as the most used in schools. Information in this genre is typically organized by classifying, divi ding phenomena into parts and wholes, or describing or listing its properties. The structure of this genre usually begins with a general statement that organize s and introduces the topic (i.e. animals are divided into groups based on what they eat) and then the rest of the report is organi zed by parts that
48 connect back to the main topic (i.e. carnivore, omnivores, herbivores). Participants in reports are usually generic (i.e animals, plants, cells). Th e language characteristics of this genre include use of technical terms, lik e carnivore, omnivore, and herbivore. The use of these technical terms creates new meanings that are unique to science and serve to represent specific scientific pheno mena. Relational process clauses describe the technical terms and make connections between ideas (e.g. the giraffe is an herbivore). Another distinct linguistic feature of the science repor t includes the use of timeless verbs in simple present tense (d ivides, plays, disti nguishes) and a large percentage of being and having clauses (e.g. have, are, were). Following is an example of science report: The animal kingdom is made up of many different animals. In a way they all need to work together in order to surv ive. Each animal needs another animal or plant for survival. It starts from the smallest of animals and continues on, all the way up to the largest. This togetherness is called the food chain. The smallest animals in the chain will b e the ones that do not eat other animals, but eat plants and fruits, vegetables, and seeds that co me from plants instead. These are called herbivores. The rest of the animals in the chain are called either carnivores or omnivores. Carnivores eat only meat, which, of course, is other animal. Omnivores eat from both food groups, so that means they eat what both carnivores and herbivor es eat. Humans are omnivores (from http://www.associatedconten t.com/article/375038/hom eschool_ science_lesson_p lans_food.html) Science explanation The purpos e of this genre is to describe how and why scientific phenomena occur. For example, how an ecosystem is structured. In this genre, a more authoritative voice is operated to provide a convin cing explanation. The organizational pattern is logical in order to develop and explain a theory for why a certain scient ific phenomenon is what it is. The theory is constructed through causeeffect relationships and logical sequencing
49 of events. Linguistic features of this genre include relational processes and technical language. In this genre there are a higher percentage of action verbs also (accumulates, forces, forms). Participants ar e usually generic in this genre. Following is an example: In a lake ecosystem, the sun hits the water and helps the algae grow. Algae produce oxygen for animals like fish, and provide food for microscopic animals. Small fish eat the microsc opic animals, absorb oxygen with their gills and expel carbon dioxide, which plants then use to grow. If the algae disappeared, everything else would be impacted. Microscopic animals wouldn't have enough food, fish w ouldn't have enough oxygen and plants would lose some of the carbon dioxide they need to grow. (from http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/ nwepecosystems.htm). Science exposition Halliday & Martin (1993) also note t hat while the above m entioned genres are the most common in school, the genre of exposi tion is also important in science text. Exposition is used to present arguments in fa vor of a position in science. The purpose of exposition is to persuade the reader to think or act in a particular way about a topic. Identifying structural featur es of this genre include a t hesis statement and arguments that reinforce the thesis statement. Grammatical features include adjectives and adverbs that convey value and judgment, tec hnical terms, logical conjunctives, and a variety of verbs. Following is an ex ample of exposition in science text: The red wolf was once the top predator in its habitat. Writings dating back several centuries refer to wolves simila r to the red wolf in what is now the southeastern United States. Many researchers believe that red wolves have shared the North American continent with humans fo r thousands of years. Native Americans revered the wolf. The red wolf was known as "Wa'ya" to the Cherokee; the "Ani'-Wa'ya" or Wolf People were t he principal clan. Summit predators play a positive role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. They help to ensure the natural hierar chy of animal species by keeping the numbers of prey populations in balanc e. Rather than eliminating large predators, humans must make a concer ted effort to preserve them as necessary elements in r egulating the food chain.
50 One of the most import ant reasons for protecting red wolves is the awareness that every specie s has intrinsic worth. The red wolf is a unique animal that contributes to the overall biodiversity of the ecosystem. But it has an aesthetic value as well as a practical one. Red wolves are beautiful. If they vanish from existence, we hum ans as a species are diminished. For all these reasons, we must protect and preserve this critically endangered animal. (http://www.fws.gov/redwolf/ft/ 005Rw_future_and_protection07.pdf ) Register The major scientific genres serve to organi ze scientific informati on in a way that reflects how scientists think about phenomena. Bu t in addition to the genres, it is also necessary to recognize the way that scientists use language within those genres to express scientific ideas. The te rm register is used to explai n how a writer uses language within a specific discipline. Schleppegrell (2004) defines r egister as the configuration of lexical and grammatical resources which realizes a particular set of meanings (p. 45). Scientists have unique ways of writing that make science discourse unique and challenging. Science language is simultaneously technical, abstract, and dense (Fang, 2005). Each of these register features of science discourse is elaborated below: Technicality Science is t echnical because it uses a set of vocabulary words that have been coined specifically for science (e.g., lithos phere, plate tectonics). These words make science unique and specialized. Technical word s such as photosynthesis that describe key concepts or nocturnal that describe an animals behavior are found only in science related reading and must be understood in or der to comprehend important science concepts. These types of technical terms can be separated into naming words (e.g., chromosome, cell, mitochondria), classifyi ng words, (e.g., carnivore, vertebrate, vascular), process words (e.g. photosynthesis reflection, reproduction), and describing
51 words (e.g., nocturnal, alkaline, acidic). Without these words science would be incomplete and imprecise (Fang, 2006). In textbook reading, these words are often highlighted or featured in distinct ways through illustrations or diagrams. For exam ple, the word photosynthesis might be accompanied by a diagram showing how a plant processes energy from the sun. In school, these words often become the focu s of vocabulary lessons in science. However, discreet learning and memorizati on of these words does not always aid students in comprehension. Often in scienc e texts, a heavy conc entration of these technical words occurs. In the following excerpt from an online biology textbook Rediscovering Biology 53% of the total words ar e accounted for by technical vocabulary. (1). Mutations in a target protein that affect binding of an antibiotic to that protein may confer resistance (from http://www.learner.org/channel/courses/biolo gy/textbook/index.html ) In addition to these specialized word s, though, science also uses common everyday words in technical ways. For exam ple, in geology, the word fault means the displacement of rock layers in the Earths surface, not that so meone made a mistake. Other examples of words that take on spec ialized meaning in science include medium, frequency, matter, charge, and volume. These words are familiar to students in their everyday language, yet when presented in science, these words construct new meanings. Even though these words appear simp le and decodable, they often interfere with students comprehension an d are overlooked by teachers as being problematic. The following sentences demonstrate how mu ltiple meanings of common words are used in science writing.
52 A liter is a measurement of liquid volume. (the amount of space an object occupies vs. loudness of a sound). Fishes that swim in schools are oft en safer than fishes that swim alone because it is harder for predators to see and select an individual fish. (groups vs. educational institutions). These technical words can hinder students comprehension if not addressed in instruction by teachers. In addition to the specialized vocabulary wo rds of science, the common ordinary words that are used in spec ial ways in science require attention in science reading instruction (Fang, 2006). Abstraction Another feature of sci ence is that it us es language that is more abstract than our everyday language. In everyday language the s ubject of sentences is often a pronoun (e.g. she, they, we). However, in science the subject of a sentence typically refers to a class of things (e.g., vertebrates, invertebrates ) or abstract identities (e.g., this process, consumption of material goods). Nouns that appear in science texts are oft en not persons, places, or things; they represent processes or qualities in what linguists refer to as nominalizations. Nominalizations such as distillation, signi ficance, and revelation allow scientists to abstract away from immediate, lived expe riences in order to create technical taxonomies, to synthesize detailed information, to build theories, and to develop a cohesive chain of reasoning (Veel, 1997). As such, nominalizations have been shown to pose comprehension challenges to adolescent readers. In academic texts, this process of c hanging verbs into abstract noun phrases is common. Scientists use nominalization to pr esent arguments or theories in a manner that appears objective. This strategy of us ing nominalized phrases allows scientists to
53 construct hierarchies of technical terms, to use classifying and describing to explain things, and to synthesize previous informati on about a topic so that it can be elaborated upon in further discussion (Halliday, 1998; F ang, 2006). For exam ple, the following excerpt from an online NASA article takes the verb consume and presents it as consumption. The process of using the materials listed in the first two sentences is condensed into an abstract noun phrase the c onsumption of material goods. The phenomena of how material goods are used is synthesized with the words the standard of consumption. Using the word consumpti on turns the verb consume into a thing and allows the writer to further develop arguments and explanati ons about the use of food. Closely tied to the question of having en ough food for survival is the idea of having enough fuel, clothing, and bu ilding materials for survival. The availability of everything from firewood to winter coats begins with plants. Consumption of material goods is an important factor in economic stability and security, as well as in maintaining or improving lifestyle levels. The more a population consumes, the more ef fort it takes to maintain that standard of consumption. Im hoff found that there were two big factors that lead to high consumption levels. The first is high per-capita consumption rates, as seen in much of the de veloped world; the second is large populations. Even a low per-capita consumption rate can result in a huge overall level of total consumption if multiplied over a large number of people. (excerpt from http://nasadaacs.eos.nasa.gov/a rticles/2007/2007_plants.html ). When a chunk of text is condensed into a noun clause like consumption of material goods some semantic informati on is buried. The reader must make connections between previously read information in order to diagnose that consumption of material goods is referri ng to using items such as winter coats, building materials, and firewood. The proc ess of nominalization in science language can obscure meaning by creating words that are more ambiguous and abstract to the reader.
54 Nominalization is a commonly used gra mmatical tool in environmental texts because it suppresses agency, allowing t he social agents responsible for the environmental problems to not be identified. In the above excerpt nominalizations such as consumption of material goods conceal s the party (e.g. people, businesses) responsible for doing the consuming and impacti ng economic stability. This omission of social actors allows the text to focus on what is happeningthe rate of consumptionversus who is doing itthe population. Being aware of how scientists use language to condense words into abstract noun groups c an help students in understanding scientific texts. Density Not only is science dis course technical and abstract, it is also dense. Scientists can pack a large amount of information into one sentence. The density of science discourse is achieved primarily through the us e of long, complex no un phrases, such as the underlined portion of the following sentence extrac ted from a biology text: The complement of proteins found in this singl e cell in a particular environment is the proteome These lengthy noun phrases are common in scienc e writing and increase the print processing demands for readers. This writing is different from typical everyday language where ideas are separated into multiple sentences. In science writi ng, ideas are often expressed in single sentences. Consider the following sentenc e from a biology textbook explaining characteristics of cancer cells Although cancer comprises at least 100 different diseases, all cancer cells share one important characteristic: t hey are abnormal cells in which the processes regulating normal cell division are disrupted (from)
55 In everyday language, this information might be expressed as follows: Cancer is made up of 100 different diseases. But, all canc er cells have one thing in common. The cancer cells are different from normal ce lls. Cancer cells do not have the same cell division process as normal cells. Notice the shorter, simpler nouns and multiple sentences used in everyday language compar ed to the longer, more complex nouns consisting of just one sentence used in the scientific description. The density of a text can be measured by an index called lexica l density. Lexical density is based on the number of content words per non-embedded clause. The greater the number of content words, the great er the lexical density. Halliday & Martin (1993) explain lexical density as, a measure of the densit y of information in any passage of text according to how tightly the lexical items (content words) have been packed into the grammatical structure (p. 76). Embedded clauses are used to create the co mplex, information loaded sentences of science texts. The embedded clause is a clause that does not function independently. The following sentence contains two clauses. Mutations in a target protein that affect binding of an antibiotic to that protein may confer resistance. The main clause is, Mutations in a target protei n may confer resistance. In this sentence the clause that affect binding of an antibiotic to that protein is embedded to delineate the type of mutation being discussed. This embedded clause allows the writer to add more information to the sentence. Noti ce the underlined word s in the sentence. There are 9 content words in one sentence. If the writing was simplifiedtwo sentences could be used. Mutations in a target prot ein affect binding of an antibiotic. Those
56 mutations to that protein may confer resistanc e. In this case t he average drops to 4-6 content bearing words per sentence. As lexical density increases, the level of difficulty of a text increases. In conversational language, the lexical density is lower, usually 2-4 words per clause. But, in more formal, written language the lexical density it typically much higher, averaging 46 lexical words per clause. In looking specif ically at science writing, the lexical density is even higher than the typical written language, averaging 10-13 lexical words per clause (Halliday & Martin, 1993, p.76). Consider the following passage from a biolog y textbook. The lexical density of this passage is 10.6. There are 3 clauses and 32 content words. The proteins made by tumor suppresso r genes normally inhibit cell growth, preventing tumor formation. Mutations in these genes result in cells that no longer show normal inhibition of cell growth and division. The products of tumor suppressor genes may act at the cell membrane, in the cytoplasm, or in the nucleus. The high lexical density of science writing makes it challenging to read. Scientists use lengthy, complex noun groups to pack a lot of information into each clause. The use of embedded clauses in science writing ma kes it more formal and specialized. If teachers gain an understanding of density in science writing they can help students to break it down into understandable parts. To summarize, the technical, dense and abstract nature of science discourse heightens the need to focus on the unique ways language is used to communicate scientific knowledge and values in science r eading instruction. Understanding the structure and purpose of text genres as well as, the regi ster features of science discourse can lead teachers to help students to improve their comprehension of science reading materials. This could lead to the overall increase of students science literacy.
57 Science Teachers Beliefs and Practice of Content Literacy Beliefs are deeply link ed to teachers pr actices (Fang, 1996; Hall, 2005; Johnson, 2006; Munby, 1982; Pajares, 1992; Waters-Adams, 2007). Research indicates that in order to transform instructional routines teachers beliefs about teaching must be considered (Fang, 1996; Luft & Roehrig, 2007; Munby, 1982; Richardson, Anders, Tidwell, & Lloyd. 1991; Richards on, 1996). In this review of the research, I will first discuss the role of beliefs in shaping scienc e teachers practice. Next, I will discuss science teachers beliefs about science and liter acy. I will then consider barriers to integrating literacy into scienc e teaching at the secondary level. I will close this discussion with a consideration of recommen ded practices for changing teacher beliefs about the integration of reading and science. Role of Beliefs Research on teacher beliefs is subs tantial (Fang, 1996; Luft & Roehrig, 2007; Munby, 1982; Nespor, 1987; Pajares, 1992; Richardson, 1996). The onset of constructivist teaching paradigms has inspir ed researchers to explore how teachers beliefs are tied to their practice. E xtensive research has examined the impact of beliefs on teacher thinking and decision making (Linek Sampson, Raine, Klakamp, & Smith, 2006; Munby, 1982), the relationship betwe en belief systems and knowledge (Pajares, 1992) and the alignment of beliefs with teachers instructional choices (Powers, Zippay, & Butler, 2006; Richardson et al, 1991; Rudde ll, 1997; Waters-Adams, 2006). It is generally agreed that an acknowl edgement of teachers beliefs is necessary in order to affect changes in educational practices (Pajares, 1992). The construct of a belief however is complex. Teachers belief systems about education are wide-ranging including beliefs about how to affect student performance,
58 student behavior and learning, causes for school climate issues, confidence to execute specific tasks, the nature of knowledge, and t he nature of specific disciplines (Pajares, 1992). Though there is strong ag reement that beliefs impact behaviors (Bandura, 1986, Ernest, 1989, Fang, 1996; Luft & Roehrig, 2007) zeroing in on how teachers beliefs impact teaching practice is complicated in the least. Studies indicate that many factors influenc e teachers beliefs. Teachers often rely on teaching methodologies that they have experienced as students to inform their beliefs about teaching and learning (Linek et al., 2006; Willis & Harris, 1997, Tsai, 2002). Other factors such as experiences in teacher preparat ion programs, school environment, teaching experiences, and profe ssional learning events strongly influence what teachers believe about teaching (Fang, 1996; Linek et al., 2006; Luft & Roehrig, 2007). The compilation of individual teacher experiences creates unique and particular belief systems, challenging those who plan for teacher learning. Pajares (1992) argues that investigations into teacher beliefs need to be contextspecific, taking into consideration individual teachers experiences working within their content. In science education, recent re search focuses on how science teachers beliefs impact their acceptance and implement ation of reformbased inquiry methods into their teaching (Levitt, 2001; Tsai, 2002) A recent study by Waters-Adams (2006) testifies to the importance of beliefs to teachers actual teaching practices. Through action-research, Waters-Adams studied four teachers understanding of the nature of science and their science instruction. He observed that the teachers espoused positions about the nature of science were in conflict with their daily instruction. Even though each teacher claimed to view knowledge in science as hypothetico-deductive, all
59 teachers delivered science lessons as a body of knowledge to be learned, relying more on their own personal experiences with l earning science rather than what they had learned about teaching science. Waters-Adams further examined teachers general beliefs about teaching, learning, and curricu lum and discovered again that teachers practices did not reflect their espoused belie fs about education. The teachers eventually aligned their understanding of the nat ure of science with their actual teaching practice through extensive reflection on the relationship between their belief systems about education and science and their practice. Wa ter-Adams conclude that science teachers need to engage in articulation about their belie fs about teaching and the nature of science in order to fully understand and impl ement their instructional choices. This information about how beliefs about content influence instructional choices is important when plann ing for integrating reading into sc ience teaching. If teachers actual teaching practices are influenced by t heir experiences then it is important for researchers to understand how science teacher s believe that reading is a part of science learning. Possibly, the science teacher must first believe that reading is a necessary part of knowing and doing science in order to be willing to try instructional strategies that support int egrating reading and science. Beliefs about Science and Literacy It is widely acknowledged that teachers embedded beliefs about teaching an d literacy influence their instructional decisions (Ernest, 1989; Hall, 2005; Munby, 1982). In an extensive review of the literature on content reading, Hall (2005) summarizes that it may not be just a lack of knowledge in wh at to do to infuse reading into content instruction, but also an issue of inherent teacher belief systems that impacts content
60 teachers classroom practice. It is impor tant to understand the beliefs teachers hold about the role of reading in learning and teaching their discipline. There is considerable evidence that teacher s instructional practices are linked to their philosophies about their content. Dillon, O-Brien, and Moje (1994) followed three exemplary science teachers for one year lo oking at how they incorporated literacy activities into their science teaching. Data from field notes, audio-transcripts, and interviews were cross analyzed. Res earchers noted that t eachers used literacy strategies to enhance their own philosophies of science. For example, one teacher used cooperative learning gr oups, study guides, daily wr iting, and discussions to encourage science learning. His study guides reinforced his belief that students should use reading in science to learn from science materials. This teacher further modeled how to break the textbook reading into sm all chunks and ask questions during reading to demonstrate his belief about the role of reading in science learning. Another teacher in the study controlled more of the learning in his classr oom. He began more of his lessons with lectures and depended less on the textbook reading and more on lecture notes and group work in laboratory activities Dillon, O-Brien, and Moje (1994) conclude that the teachers us ed literacy as an instructional tool to support their personal philosophies about science and science learning. In another study, Moje (1996) discovered t hat a chemistry teacher valued literacy in her classroom as a tool to organize and remember information. The researcher spent two years as a participant-observer in a vete ran chemistry teachers classroom looking at the social and cultural influences on t he use of literacy strategies. Data sources included field notes from observations, interviews with seven student informants,
61 informal conversations with teacher and st udents, audio-and videotranscripts from daily lessons, and artifacts such as handout s and student work samples. Her analysis noted that literacy in this classroom was used as a tool for organizing thinking and learning about chemistry and that the teachers philoso phy of science influenced how she perceived literacy as being useful in her c ontent area. For example, strategies like SQ3R and concept mapping were frequently used. This was evidence of the teachers value in having students use read ing strategies to organize t heir learning. Moje further learned that many of the ideas the teacher implemented in her classroom were drawn from the teachers ow n life experiences as a student and as a teacher. From her study, Moje (1996) recommends that literacy educat ors spend more time understanding the way a content teachers beliefs about their c ontent influence how they uses literacy in their content area, not just their beliefs about literacy. In another study, Ritchie & Cook (2001) fo und similar` results from their 5-week observation of a grade-8 science class. T he researchers analyzed data for evidence of dialogic discourse and trans formative understanding, arguing that in order for students to be part of the science discourse communi ty they need to engage in the types of conversation in the classrooms that promote scientific literacy. From their observations, researchers noted, however, that most of the conversation was univocalthe teachers dominant mode of teaching was lecture. These actions were connected to the philosophy of the teacher w ho believed that he was the authority in the classroom and at the middle school level; students just need a basic level of understanding, which was seen by the expectation that students would be able to recall textbook definitions of terms. The researchers further noted that st udents were not able to sustain dialogic
62 conversations during lab work. Most comm ents were procedural or relied on textbook definitions or information to try and understand a phenomenon. The researchers conclude that the teacher highly influences ho w students participate in literacy activities in the classroom and that the teacher needs to serve as a model for how to engage in scientific discourse. These studies taken together reinforce t he notion that personal philosophies and beliefs about teaching, learning, and content are highly influential in the instructional choices that teachers make. In each case teachers used literacy tasks to support their beliefs about science and science learning. Th is research confirms the importance of understanding how science teachers view the role of reading in learning science. Barriers to Integrating Reading and Science There is evidence through research that science teachers and other content teachers generally believe that reading is an important component of their discipline (Digisi & Willett, 1995; Lipton, 1978; Stieglitz, 1983; Vig il & Dick, 1987). Yet, it has been well-documented that infusing reading into secondary content areas has met wi th limited success and some resistance (Alvermann & Moore, 1991; OBrien, Stewart, Moje, 1995; Vigil & Dick, 1987). Research has considered various ex planations for this dissonance between what teacher s report to believe about r eading in their content and their actual use of reading as part of their teaching practice. Yore (1991) for instance concluded that many science teachers lack substantive knowledge about how to teach students the meta cognitive and cognitive skills required to read science effectively. Through surveys and interviews, Yore established that science teachers value reading and the reading process and further, accept that it is their responsibility to attend to teachi ng students how to read science content.
63 However, the interviews did detect that t eachers believed their primary goal was to relate science content to students. Yore recommends that science journals need to report more science reading applications to inform the science teaching community about how to infuse reading into their curriculums. This study is important because if teachers do believe that ultimately reading is an integral part of their discipline, it may be easier to convince science teachers to adapt their instruction to include explicit focus on how to read science content. A later study on how high school biology teachers use their textbooks further supports the notion that science teachers believe that reading is an important means of learning science but are uncertain of how to incorporate reading into their daily instruction. Digisi & Willett (1995) found that teachers used textbook reading for a variety of reasons including to reinforce prev iously taught concepts, to supplement and extend ideas, and to introduce new topics. However, reading was rarely used as a means for independent learning and teacher s reported minimal use of using the textbook as a tool to assess how well studen ts could read science materials. Digisi & Willett note that high school biology teacher s reported use of t heir textbook does not align with current research about best practi ces in reading in c ontent areas. The researchers recommend that reading and science educators collaborate to develop models for how to infuse reading strategies into science learning so that students learn how to construct meaning form their science texts. These studies are promising for teacher educators hoping to impact current science teachers use of reading in their curriculum. In both studies, teachers appear to have an inherent belief that reading is valuab le in teaching and learning science. The
64 roadblock to implementing reading effectiv ely though is in teachers knowledge and confidence in how to make it a part of their daily instruction. If this is the case, then professional development in science should include more ex plicit instruction in how reading can be incorporated into the instructional routines of science teachers and provide strong support for science t eachers who are willing to try. In addition to the research directly addre ssing what influences secondary science teachers use of reading, it is important to consider some general findings from research across content areas about barriers to teachers incorporation of reading into content curriculums. Research identifies two barriers that impact teacher s attitude towards implementing reading into c ontent instruction: time and school structure. Teachers often report that they do not hav e time to learn about reading (Sturtevant & Linek, 2003; Simonson, 1995). They view reading at the secondary level as an addon to what they are already doing and blam e teachers at the elementary level for students lack of reading skills (Campbell & Kimeck, 2004). Another issue of time is that there is often not enough room in the daily schedule for teachers to communicate and collaborate with peers regarding literacy issues (Daisey & Shroyer, 1993). Also, because the secondary setting is traditionally still separated into multiple periods throughout the day, teachers stat e that there is not enough time within the instructional period to incorporate strategy instruction (OBrien, Stewar t, & Moje, 1995; Sturtevant, 1996). Teachers report feeling pressure to keep on schedule with curriculum mandates makes it challenging to devote instructional time to how to read content (Allington, 2002; Bintz, 1997; Sturtevant, 1996).
65 Issues around school structur e further antagonize the su ccessful integration of reading into secondary curriculums. Resear ch has overwhelmingly confirmed that school leadership plays a major role in whether or not conten t teachers integrate reading into their instruction (Richardson et al., 1991). In addition, the philosophy of individual departments and how congruent fellow teachers beliefs are about reading integration impact whether a t eacher feels comfortable tryi ng new strategies (Dieker & Little 2005; Sturtevant, 2001). In addition, the curriculum throughout secondary classrooms is increasingly mandated by dist ricts and driven by assessments, resulting in high stakes accountability (Hagar & Gable, 1993; Konopack & Readance, 1994). Teachers feel tremendous pressure to cover content and prepare students for standardized tests leaving them feel disempow ered to make changes to their instruction (Dieker & Little, 2005; Jacks on and Cunningham, 1994; Sturtevant, 1996). Other issues related to school structure include cla ss size and student behavior. Although many schools now employ reading specialists or coaches to help conten t teachers meet the needs of their students, often this relationship is strained and ineffective due to lack of training and time for planning (Lipton & Liss, 1978). Findings from these studies suggest that content teachers are willing to infuse reading into their content areas, but a lack of knowledge in how to do it or external barriers like time and school structure inhibit the successful implementation of reading into daily instructional practices. This body of research about science teac hers beliefs and practices in content literacy is important in the planni ng of this study. First of all, if the goal of my research is to transform science teachers use of discourse strategies in their te aching, the role of teacher beliefs about science discourse must be considered. I must employ a means of
66 discovering and addressing how the teachers in th is study believe that reading plays a role in the learning and doing of science. I must also diagnose teachers current use of reading in their teaching and build on what they already know and believe about reading as a necessary part of their daily instructi on. In addition, I must observe and consider how the school structure and leadership eit her support or inhibit these teachers risk taking in trying new strategies in their classrooms. A common vehicle for c hanging teachers beliefs and practice is through professional development (B rownell, Leko, Kamman, & St reeper-King, 2008; Guskey, 2002). In the following section I will addres s how effective professional development can impact changes in science teachers accept ance of and practice of using reading in their content area. I will begin by considering what conditions of professional development cultivate changes in teacher beliefs. I will then examine the nature of teacher knowledge and its development. Next I will consider factors that encourage teachers transformation of thei r instructional practice. Professional Development and Science Teachers Learning One of the main ways to impact the practi ce of teachers in the field is through professional development e fforts. Recent research on effective professional development shows that certain conditions c an positively impact the beliefs and practice of science teachers. Cultivating Change in Teachers Beliefs Teacher belief systems are powerful constru c ts, yet recent studies reveal that particular conditions of professional devel opment both support and promote change in beliefs. Professional development that encourages peer collaboration, critical conversation, and reflection allows teachers to examine how their beliefs coincide with
67 what is being studied (Brownell et al., 2008; Feiman-Nemser, 2001; Richardson, 2003). In addition, longevity is a key component. Su stained professional development provides teachers with ample time and evidence to support changes in beliefs (Dupuis, Askov, & Lee, 1979; Glasson & Lalik, 1993). Finally, active participation in the professional development process provides teachers with a safe place to practice and experiment with new ideas, building their confidence to tr y it out in their ow n classrooms (DarlingHammond & McLaughlin, 1995; Desimone, Birman, & Yoon, 2001; Garet et al., 2001). In a study of 6 science teachers, Glasson & Lalik (1993) determined that teachers beliefs of the role of language in lear ning science changed as they engaged in sustained reflective thinking and conversation about the integration of the learning cycle model into their science teaching. The professional development model included opportunities for teachers to talk about practice try new strategies in the classroom, and reflect on the effectiveness of those techni ques. One teacher cit ed noticing changes in student motivation due to her changed methods and beliefs about the place of language and action in science. In this case, the condi tions of longevity, reflection, and active participation made an impact on the science t eachers beliefs and ultimately, their practice. An overriding question though in the beliefs and professional development literature is what comes first, change in beliefs or change in practice? Guskey (2002) claims that the most powerful element in changing teachers beliefs is change in student outcomes. From his research, Guskey concludes that evidence of student improvement must precede change in teacher beliefs. Professional development can serve as a catalyst to learn about new ideas, but it is not until teachers see a positive impact on
68 student learning that they are willing to change their beliefs. Fang et al. (2007) observed this cycle of change in two middle school science teachers who participated in a university-based partnership in reading inte gration. These teachers spent 15 weeks working with university personnel to implem ent weekly reading lessons into their science curriculum. It was not until teachers saw the impact of the weekly lessons on the improvement of students test scores in reading and science literacy that they fully bought into the concepts presented to them through the collaboration and embraced the new teaching strategies into t heir repertoire of teaching. Though teacher beliefs are powerful and deeply rooted, evi dence shows that beliefs can be altered through professional devel opment if the right c onditions are met. In planning for this professional development in science litera cy, I will need to provide time for teachers to practice the ideas that I share. In addition, Opportunities during the professional development for teacher to ta lk about their practice and reflect on the usefulness of the strategies will be vital to ge tting them to accept re ading as part of their science teaching. The literature shows that teachers may be resistant due to time and school structure, so it is impor tant that I incorporate as m any of the conditions from the literature that support teachers changing thei r beliefs when planning my professional development model. The Nature of Teacher Learning The concept of teacher learning is comple x, yet the one point that is agreed upon by scholars is that teacher learning is important and necessary (Feiman-Nemser, 2001). Teachers need opportunities to continue lear ning about teaching. Without access to extended learning opportunities, teachers will find it difficult to meet the challenges of
69 educating students in a world that is c ontinually changing with information and technology (Ball & Cohen, 1999; Fieman-Nemser, 2001). Investigations into how teachers lear n have been widely conducted. Emphasis has shifted from early process-product investigations (Shavelson, 1983) that tied teacher knowledge to how teachers m anaged, planned, organized, and evaluated to more recent research that investigates teachers knowledge of their subject matter and their responses to students understanding of that subjec t. There has been a move between looking at teacher thinking in c ontext-free and context -rich environments: studies have gone from laboratory settings (C opeland, 1975) to actual classrooms of teachers (Dillon, O-Brien, Mo je, 1994) trying to unravel the web of teacher knowledge. Contributions to the teacher knowledge literature come from many directionscognitive psychology (Borko & Livingston, 1989; Chen & Rovegno, 2000), academe (Grossman,1990; Shulman,1986) and teachers themselves (Codell, 1999; Paley, 1981, 2000). Each perspective brings its own epistemologica l underpinnings, adding to the complexity of what we know about how teachers learn best. An examination of teacher knowledge by Cochran-Smith & Lytle (1999) provides a powerful framework for thinking about t he development of t eachers knowledge. Cochran-Smith & Lytle categorize three ways that teachers ac quire knowledge: Knowledge-for-practice, knowledge-in-pract ice, and knowledge-of-pra ctice. Knowledgefor-practice assumes that there is a developed knowledge base of effective practices and teachers should learn these practices and then apply them to their classrooms. This type of learning is more formal and comes from that collective wisdom of professional knowledge that has been generated over the y ears. In contrast to
70 knowledge that is out there to be acquired and applied, kno wledge-in-practice describes knowledge that is constructed through the act of teaching. In this paradigm, knowledge is situational and teachers develop their teacher knowledge by reflecting on their practice. Knowledgeof-practice integrat es ideas from the other two describing knowledge as constructed in a particular location, but relevant to others beyond the classroom, suggesting a collective undertaking of defining teacher knowledge between classroom teachers, the larger school community, and researchers alike. CochranSmith & Lytles distinction between the three types of knowledge has been used to frame recent thinking about the relationshi p between theory and practice in teaching (Bondy & Brownell, 2004; Mc Cleskey & Waldron, 2004). In planning for this study, I will consider the Cochran-Smith and Lytle concept of knowledge-of-practice. This idea values the notion of knowledge as collective. It gives power to the teacher voice and the proce ss of questioning, challenging, and adapting information to fit particular t eaching contexts. These teacher s continually question what they do along with the information they receiv e from others, recogni zed experts or not, to ensure they are creating and implementing practices that will help all their students succeed. Bondy & Brownell (2004) describe t eachers who work in the knowledge-ofpractice paradigm: For these teachers, knowledge is in tegrated, open to question, and often constructed with others. As such, k nowledge generation fo r teaching is a collective and intellectual adventure t hat enriches teachers' abilities and understandings rather t han simply improving their technique. (p. 50) Even though I am presenting information to this group of science teachers in hopes of transforming their knowledge, it is through avid discussion and questioning that I want them to consider the worthiness and practicality of the ideas presented. The
71 goal of this research is to understand how science teachers learn about the specialized discourse of science. Through the professional development medium, I hope to provide a context for stimulating conversation and analysis. Characteristics of Effect ive Professional Development Most often, the means of teacher learning for pr acticing teachers is through professional development. However, despite the general belief that professional develo pment will transform teacher practi ce, many teachers view professional development as ineffective and an unproductive use of their time (Cohen & Hill, 2000; Kennedy, 1998). Professional development is typically delivered in a one-day staff development session to many teachers with the main goal of transmitting expert information to teachers, with the expectation they will trans fer the knowledge to their classrooms (Fieman-Nemser, 2001; Garet et al., 2001). Secondar y content teachers especially report discontent with this type of professional devel opment in content reading, claiming that it is too generalized and does not offer content specific information (Campbell & Kmiecik, 2004; Daisey & Shroyer, 1993). Recent research though offers insight into how to make professional development an effective process. The concept of i nquiry based professional development is receiving much support (Richardson, 2003). Inqui ry suggests that teachers should have active involvement in their learning proce ssasking questions, co llaborating with peers, and deeply exploring new ideas and current practices (Darling-Ha mmond & McLaughlin, 1995; Fieman-Nemser, 2001; Richardson, 2003). Researchers are further recommending long-term professi onal development to assist and support teachers in making changes to their instructional prac tices (Anders, Hoffman, & Duffy, 2000). This can include coaching, observations, and follow-up sessions to analyze and critique
72 practice (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1 995; Guskey, 2002). Other significant characteristics cited are modeling of lessons and opportunities to practice the new ideas within the professional development setting (Fenstermacher, 1987). In a large scale study on professional development, Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman and Yoon (2001) identify characteristics of professional development that foster improvement. Garet et al. gathered data from surveys administered to over 1000 teachers who had participated in Eisenhower funded professional development. The authors distinguish three core f eatures of professional developm ent that contribute to its success: (1) focus on content knowledge; (2) opportunities for active learning; and (3) coherence with other learning activities. They also identify struct ural features of effective professional development including (1) reform-based; (2) duration; and (3) collective participation. Interestingly, Ga ret et al. found that the most important components to focus on were the three co re features, duration, and collective participation. Traditional and reform-based st ructures of the sa me duration procured similar results in this study. Similar results were achieved in a later study where researcher s investigated the effects of different characteristics of pr ofessional development on how well teachers were able to implement an international sci ence inquiry curriculum (Penuel, Fishman, Yamaguchi, & Gallagher, 2007). Penuel et al collected data from 454 participating teachers. Researchers found that perceived coherence and time during professional development for planning implementation we re significant to teacher learning. Teachers also reported greater change when their professional development involved collective participation. In this study, reform-l ike orientation was significant in teachers
73 reporting change. However, Penuel et al. i ndicate a difference in how they define professional development struct ures from Garet et al. (2001): We prefer to focus more on the design of the activities within type, acknowledging that a workshop can be designed using reform-oriented principles and a coaching relationship can be traditional (p.928). Reform-like orientation includes profe ssional development that is highly focused on helping teachers prepare dire ctly to make an impact on their practice. In this case, the support for integrating the program technology was also significant to how well teachers implemented the curriculum. This study is unique because it addresses teacher learning within the specific context of learning a science inquiry curriculum. In addition to the large scale studies that identify characteristics of effective professional development, several smaller scale studies have yielded similar results. Particularly, two studies in content reading at the secondary level illuminate effective characteristics of professi onal development such as lo ngevity and support. Dupuis, Askov, and Lee (1979) found that long term professional development had a positive effect on teachers willingness an d ability to use reading st rategies in their content classrooms. The Content Area Reading Project, a one year in-service program, was designed to change the attitudes and knowledge of junior high school teachers towards reading in the content area. Fifty-seven teachers participated. The in-service training involved bi-monthly field-based instruction by university personnel and on-site trained supervisors to support the daily incorporation of reading inst ruction. The researchers identified a comparison group for each site involving teacher s who were working in the same school but not a party of the project. Both the experimental and comparison
74 group were administered a pre and post attitude survey and project participants also completed a preand post skills test to m easure acquisition of knowledge of reading instruction as well as final evaluations from the on-site supervisors about the observed changes in practice. Significant changes in attitude occurred for program participants. Smaller changes were seen in the scores for the skills test, but supervisor evaluations supported observed changes in teachers instruct ional practices. Dupuis, Askov, & Lee recommend at least year long professional development and suggest that possibly even longer time may be needed to fully suppor t changes in teaching practices. In an in-service program implemented over two years, Wedman & Robinson (1988) achieved similar results. Fifty sec ondary content teachers participated in training to help content teachers incorpor ate reading strategies into t heir daily practice. Preand post tests showed significant changes in teachers understanding of using reading in their content areas and their acceptance of thei r responsibility to use reading strategies. Recent studies also find that effective professional development is contentfocused (Brownell et al., 2008). In a pr ofessional development study designed to improve teachers scientific knowledge, Rosebery et al (1996) found that teachers gained a deeper understanding of science through extended opportunities and support to enact a new curriculum. Teachers partici pated in a summer workshop followed by a year-long seminar focused on improving scientific knowledge. Over the course of the year, discourse analysis revealed that teachers were using more scientific terms in their conversations and were more likely to try mo re progressive ideas on their classrooms. In a study by Watson & Manning ( 2008), researchers engaged teachers in professional development to develop and improve their teaching skills in scientific
75 inquiry. The professional development consisted of 20 hours of workshops broken down into 4 segments spread over several months. The format of each workshop involved an equal amount of ti me to expert input where new ideas were presented to teachers and practice-based discussions wher e teachers examined ar tifacts from their classrooms and reflected on using the new ideas in their classrooms. Teachers reported that the expert study part of the workshops helped to clarify the need and purpose for doing science inquiry whereas the practic e-based discussions were important for having concrete lessons and ideas to take back to their classrooms. While some teachers from this study did embrace the content and apply it to their classrooms, others were not as successful. From analysi s of interviews, transcriptions form workshops, and portfolios, researchers found that two factors were especially powerful in accounting for the variability in teachers learning. The first was teacher perception of the value of the workshop in addressing their needs and the second was the level of support teachers felt from their individual school in trying new ideas. These findings are consistent with other studies that show teacher perceptions and school support make a difference in transformation of teacher knowledge. Findings from these studies clarify seve ral features of effective professional development. First of all, time is important. Professional development needs to be continuous in order to give teachers an opportunity to interact with one another and the new ideas presented. In addition, teac hers need on-going support and encouragement as they engage in infusing reading into their c ontent classrooms. This support can come from peers, administration, or coaches. Professional development needs to build community. The environment of the learning needs to give teachers a chance to talk,
76 reflect, and ask questions. Finally, effectiv e professional development is contentfocused, linking teacher, curriculum, and st udents together. The impor tant features of professional development have more to do with gui ding purposes and ideas, the pedagogy of the leader, norms of discourse that favor discovery, and connections to teachers context, content, and students (Fieman-Nemser, 2001. p. 1047). Summary The literature presented in this chapter serves as a foundation to support the design an d implementation of this study. This study will engage science teachers in learning about the specialized features of science language and applying what they learn to instructional practice through the context of professional development. This research is significant because it attends to calls from experts to discover ways that secondary teachers can improv e the academic literacy of secondary students (Fang & Schleppegrell, 2008; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008; Hand et al., 2003; NCTE, 2007). This study particularly will assist science t eachers to better promote science literacy for all students. If teachers under stand how language works in science, they can better instruct their students in how to comp rehend challenging science texts and use language effectively to communicate scient ific principles and understanding. This research is also significant because it applies current recommendations from the literature about how to plan effective professional development. This study addresses the concern of secondary teachers that professional devel opment in secondary reading instruction is too generalized by designing sci ence related activities for the professional development. Information presented in this review s upports the need for teachers to address the specialized language of science in secondary science teaching. The goal of improving
77 science literacy for students permeates the literature (Fang, 2006; Norris & Phillips, 2001; Wellington & Osborne, 2001; Yore, Bi sanz, & Hand, 2003). The studies on reading-science integration howev er establish that while re search at the elementary level has been successful in showing t he value of infusi ng reading with science instruction (Morrow, et al., 1997; Guthrie. et al. 2004; Romance & Vitale, 1995), little evidence is available for how this process of integration works in secondary education (Fang et al., 2008). It is crucial that resear ch discovers how to best infuse reading into secondary science teaching and improve secondary students science literacy. The literature on teacher belie fs and professional development is valuable to this study because it clarifies the influence of beliefs on teacher learning and identifies the features of effective prof essional development. This literature demonstrated a need to create a safe, collaborative environment with opportunities for teac hers to challenge and discuss their beliefs about reading and scienc e learning. However, as Guskey (2002) identified, beliefs may not change until after teachers see that the teaching ideas make an impact on student learning. In structuring the professional development for this study, the idea from the Watson and Manning (2008) article of exper t study and practice-based discussions will be employed. This concept aligns with Cochran-Smith and Lytles (1999) definition of teacher knowledge-of-pract ice. Knowledge is situati onal and teachers develop their teacher knowledge by reflecting on their practice This is important because the goal of this research is to transform teachers understanding of languag e and science and how it can influence their science teaching.
78 CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODS Scholars c ontend that teachers of sec ondary content areas must emphasize discipline-specific read ing practices within their daily inst ructional routines if students are to improve their reading comprehension of subject related materials (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004; Heller & Greenleaf, 2007; Moje, 2008) In order for secondary teachers to change their instructional practices and adopt di scipline-specific reading practices into their daily instructional routines, teac hers themselves must examine their own knowledge and beliefs about reading and develop an understanding of how language is characteristically used to construct content in their subject areas. The purpose of this study was to understand how secondary science teachers learn about the challenges presented to students by the specia lized language of science texts. In this study the term science language re fers primarily to written science text. Through participation in pr ofessional development sessions, teachers examined the complexity of the language of science and considered various instructional techniques to help students overcome the comp rehension challenges presented by scientific text s. By understanding how thes e science teachers learn about the specialized language of science, teacher educators and staff developers can better prepare science teachers to integrate discipli ne-specific language and literacy practices into their classroom instruction, with the ul timate aim of promoting the development of solid science literacy for all students. Through qualitative study, researchers can discover the meaning individuals assign to particular experiences and move toward greater understanding of how the world works (Creswell, 2007; Patton, 2002; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). In this study,
79 qualitative research offered a means for c apturing the complexity and depth of the teachers experiences (Creswell, 2007). T he research questions necessitate a deep exploration of the participants actions, in teractions, responses, and questions as they participated in the sequence of professi onal development m odules and implemented what they learned. A system atic analysis of the partici pants experiences provided insight into how this particular group of teachers developed their understandings of the function of language in science text and trans lated that understandi ng into classroom practice. A detailed picture of the teachers l earning contributed to the understanding of how secondary science teachers acquire kno wledge about the comple xities of science language. This chapter includes the research questi ons and theoretical framework for this study. Included also is an expl anation of the research design including participants, site selection, data sources, and collecti on and data analysis methods. This chapter concludes with a discussion of the role of the researcher and trustworthiness of the research design. Research Questions Secondary subject texts are challenging to read. Each content area uses language in particular ways to construct discipl ine-specific knowledge and values (Fang & Schleppegr ell, 2009). Secondary reading pedagogy needs to address these disciplinespecific ways of using language (Moje, 2009; Olson & Truxaw, 2009). However, current efforts to infuse reading instruction in secondary content areas fail to address the discipline-specific reading demands and continue to focus on a set of basic, generalizable reading skills and strategies (F ang & Schleppegrell, 2009). In order to effectively teach students to read subjec t texts, content ar ea teachers need to
80 understand how language is characteristically us ed in their discipline. In this study, I investigated the influences on secondary science teachers learning about the specialized language of science and the subsequent integration of that knowledge into their science teaching. The overarching re search question for this study is: How do secondary science teachers learn about the s pecialized language of science and apply it to teaching reading of scient ific texts? The specific ques tions guiding the study are: What do science teachers know about teaching reading in science? What understanding about the specialized language features of science do they construct through professional development? How do they integrate what they hav e learned about these specialized language features into their science teaching practices? Addressing these questions contributes to a greater understanding of how secondary science teachers are enabled to examine new ways of integrating reading into their science teaching. The first ques tion intended to tap the teachers existing beliefs and knowledge about integrating readi ng into their science teaching. The second question aimed at capt uring the teachers thoughts and reactions as they learn about the specific language demands of sec ondary science texts. The final question brought to light the complexities involved in making pedagogical innovations as the teachers put into practice what they hav e learned about new ways of teaching reading in science. Taken together, the three res earch questions contributed to an in-depth understanding of how this group of sec ondary science teachers developed their understanding about the language of science. Through their participation in a professional learning community, the sci ence teachers were able to examine the challenges presented to both t eaching and learning by the complex nature of science language.
81 Theoretical Framework Assumptions Teacher learning is complex. In order to develop a rich, detailed picture of how science teachers learn about the specialized language of science, qualitative inquiry is an appropriate choice. Through a qualitative stance, I explored how these teachers made sense out of learning about the specialized language of science. Choosing qualitative research presupposes several assumptions (Creswell, 2007). First of all, reality is accepted as subjecti ve; multiple perspectives from participants are embraced and encouraged (Creswell, 2007; Patt on, 2002). Next, qualitative researchers assume a place within the research setting, trying to get a better understanding through some level of interaction with the participants. Another assump tion of qualitative research is that the research is value-laden (Creswell, 2007). Because of this belief, the researcher explicitly positions herself within the study reporting personal views, experiences, and biases that can influence the interpretation of the research. Creswell (2007) further notes that qualitative res earch assumes a certain rhetoric that encourages writing that is both personal and literary (p. 18). Finally, qualitative research assumes inductive logic to study a topic. The researcher listens, watches, and analyzes the research context with a flexible plan and a belief that theory and understanding will emerge as data are collect ed (Patton, 2002; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). These assumptions about qualitative research transc end the various approaches that different qualitative researchers em ploy (Creswell, 2007). Research Paradigm This study was shaped by Constructivi sm. Constructivism stems from the epistemological pos ition that knowledge is formed through an individuals interaction
82 with the environment (Crotty, 1998). Knowledge is not transmitted between sources, but negotiated and refined through the relati onship of the individual and his surroundings. An individual constructs knowledge through personal experiences; therefore, knowledge a nd understanding are influenced by the historical and cultural norms of an individuals life situation (C reswell, 2007). Through interaction with the environment and others, individuals construct meaning and understanding about particular situations (Crotty, 1998). Because meaning is constructed, there is no right way to make sense of a particular situation. Utilizing a constructivi st paradigm in this research allows a focus on participants perspective on how understanding the specialized discourse of science is relevant to their teaching practices. Constructivism places value on each teachers perspective and experience, realizing and accepting that individuals will have unique and distinctive res ponses to how they learn about a topic. In this study, I was interested in how teachers learn and make sense of the specialized language of science and transla te their understanding into classroom practices. Considering the mu ltiple views of participants experiences contributed to a better understanding of how knowledge of science language was formed and transformed during the professional dev elopment experience and how future professional development ex periences can be designed to impact teacher learning. Research Design Setting Green High School is a large public suburban high school located in northeast Florida that serves grades nine through twel v e. The student population of nearly 3000 has an ethnic make-up of approximately 60% wh ite, 26% black, 10% Hispanic, and 4% Asian/other. Twenty-two percent of the students are on free or reduced lunch. The high
83 school is one of six county high schools in a school district serving around 32,000 students. The town where the high school is si tuated has a population of roughly 9000 people with a median home cost of approximately $190,000. The primary sources of work in the area include retail trade, health care, construction, and recreation. In addition, Naval Air Station Jacksonville is located approximately th ree miles north of Orange Park and employs nearly 20,000 m ilitary and civilian personnel. The administration at this school promotes teachers leaning about reading in the content areas. They have supported an after school reading learning community program that offers teachers an opportuni ty to do a small group study with other teachers about pertinent topics in education. Several texts that addressed secondary reading have been used in this setting includi ng books by Chris Tovani, Janet Allen, and Kylene Beers. In addition, there is a reading specialist on staff who provides support to all the content teachers. She also has c onducted workshops for the faculty addressing reading issues like fluency and vocabulary. Participants Selection of participants was based primarily on practical considerations such as willingness and access (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). The principal of a local high school willingly reviewed a brief description of t he research project. During the pre-planning days of the 2008-2009 school ye ar, the principal then conv ened a meeting of the 28 teachers in the science department. I att ended the meeting and presented information about the study to the teachers. In the meeting, I revealed the focus of the study on disciplinary literacy and emphasized the overarching goal to enhance secondary science teachers expertise in
84 reading instruction. An explanation of the structure and the time commitment was provided to the teachers. It was emphasized that partici pation involved approximately 15 hours of meetings after school and one hour of time each for indivi dual interviews at the mid-term and ending points of the study. In addition, participation involved a minimum of 6 classroom observations. Seve n science teachers chose to participate in the study. In addition, participants were offered inc entives to be a part of the project. Participation involved a significant amount of time after school as we ll as time in the classroom to implement ideas. Through a grant from The National Academy of Education, each participant was offer ed a $300 stipend as well as two books about science and literacy. Thus, parti cipants in this study were motivated by the incentive as well as their own interest in exploring iss ues surrounding the integration of reading into secondary science curriculums. Participants in this study involved six females and one male. All teachers were members of the same science department at this high school. The range of teaching experience was from five year s to thirty-four and the grade levels taught spanned from ninth to twelfth grade. Further, partici pants represented various areas of science, including biology, anatomy, physical science, and marine science. Table 3.1 summarizes the demographic information of the participants. The first participant was Bette. She had been teaching for five years. Bette came into teaching through an alternative program within the county. When she initially entered college she was a pre-med major. She earned her bachelors degree in biology with a minor in chemistry and Spanish. A fter graduation, Bette chose to pursue a
85 career in teaching and completed her cert ification while in the classroom. She had experience teaching Earth/space science to eighth graders and high school biology. During this study, Bette taught five sections of honors biology to ninth and tenth grade students. Prior to this study, Bette had participated in a year of workshops that met once a week to discuss best practices in education. This was part of her certification program. Bette stated that reading strategies were a part of the content covered during the workshops. Strategies that she recalled included jigsaw and vocabulary strategies. She said that her other source of informa tion about how to teach reading in science was her fellow teachers. One of the teachers had shared the i dea of using a logograph to teach vocabulary and she had ad opted that into her teaching practice. She had not attended any workshops that specific ally dealt with reading in science. The next participant was Casey. Case y had been teaching for 15 years. She began teaching the Health Career s applied technology courses and did this for six years at another school before coming to her curre nt position to teach science. She has taught health, biology, and anatomy and physiology. She taught at two high schools and was an adjunct professor at Florida Co mmunity College where she taught dental hygiene courses: Dental Radiology, Dental Materials, and Expanded Functions. Prior to becoming a high school teacher, she was a dental assistant for five years and a dental hygienist for 10 years. She completed a traditional four-year teaching program, graduating with a BAE in Health Education. She also holds an AS in Dental Hygiene. During this study she taught five sections of anatomy and physiology to tenth and eleventh graders.
86 Casey had participated in after school workshops that addressed reading. Workshop topics included fluency, vocabular y, and graphic organizers. She worked with the building reading specialist to implement a reading activity once a week for one month designed to promote fluency. She explained that she read a passage aloud and then the students read for one minut e with a partner recording how far they got and then they calculated how many words they were reading per minute. In addition, Casey had read two recently published texts about reading: I Read It, But I Dont Get It by Chris Tovani and When Kids Cant Read by Kylene Beers. She had not attended any workshops that specifically dealt with reading in science. Lisa was another participant. She had been t eaching for 34 years in this high school. Her first teaching assi gnment was teaching science in a Catholic junior high in 1974. In 1976, she started work at Green High School. Lisa has taught a range of classes to tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders including biol ogy, severe learning disabled biology, marine biology I, marine biology II and physical science I. Lisa completed a four-year college program receiving a Bachelor of Science in secondary education with a concentration in biology and a minor in chemistry. During this study, Lisa taught five sections of marine science to eleventh and twelfth grade students. Prior to this study, Lisa had participated in the after-school workshops facilitated by the reading specialist covering topics like fluency and vocabulary. She had participated in the learning community and read I Read It, But I Dont Get It by Chris Tovani and Why Johnny Cant Read by Rudolf Flesch. Lisa had approached the school advisory council about purchasing novels for the science classrooms and had just received multiple copies of books by Steve Alten such as MEG: Primal Waters Trench,
87 the Loch, and Domain and the book Hot Zone by Richard Preston to distribute to the science classes. She had not attended any wo rkshops that specifically dealt with reading in science. Mona also participated in the study. She had a combined total of 17 years of teaching experience. However, after her first 12 years of teaching, she took a break for 23 years and worked as a technical writer and a regulatory affairs specialist. She reentered teaching five years ago. Her Bac helor of Science degree is in science education. During this study, Mona taught physical science to ninth grade students. Mona did not have any prior experience with coursework or workshops that addressed reading in the content areas. S he indicated that she followed the FCAT guidelines for doing reading in science and had consulted the Reading Essentials supplement to her physical science textbook using a few activities. Mona had not read any recently published texts about reading in the content or received any particular information about science and reading. She had not attended any workshops that specifically dealt with reading in science. The next participant was Bill ie. She had been teaching at this school for six years. Prior to teaching, Billie worked for the Department of Children and Families. She entered teaching through an alte rnative certification program, beginning a teaching job and earning her certification while in practice During this study, Billie taught five sections of ninth grade physical science. Billie had received information about reading in the content areas while she was participating in her certific ation program. Topics she re called included note taking, graphic organizers, and vocabulary strategies. Billie said that she used guided reading
88 worksheets to help her students read the te xtbook. Billie participated in the school based reading learning communities and had read three books: I Read It, But I Dont Get It by Chris Tovani and When Kids Cant Read by Kylene Beers and Building Background Knowledge by Robert Marzano. She had not attended any workshops that specifically dealt with reading in science. The next participant was Brad. Brad had been teaching for eight years, one year in middle school and seven years at the high school level. He had spent one year in a private high school. Brad has taught all le vels of biology, anatomy, environmental physics and medical skills. This was his first y ear at this high school. Prior to teaching, Brad worked in a pharmacy for six years and attended pharmacy school. However, he did not complete his studies and chose to pursue a career in teaching science. Brad earned a Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in education. During this study, he taught five sections of biology to tenth graders. Brad had participated in one workshop that addressed reading in the content areas in 2004. This workshop was facilitated by McRel, a private, nonprofit corporation that contracts to deliver prof essional development to schools. Brad said he received a book that addressed reading strategies for vocabulary like graphic organizers. In the workshop Brad said they reviewed several of the strategies in the book and showed participants how to use the book. He said he did use several of the ideas such as graphic organizers and strategies for a ccessing prior knowledge. Brad had not attended any workshops however that specif ically dealt with reading in science. The final participant was Patsy. Patsy taught for 12 years. She started teaching at the junior high level for three years and t hen moved to the high school level. She had
89 experience teaching a variety of classes in cluding physical science, biology I, biology I honors, Earth/space science, and advanced placement biology Prior to teaching she worked as a research specialist for five years at UF Shands Jacksonville Health Science Library where managed their journal collection performed online computer searches for the medical staff at UF Shands-J acksonville Hospital, obtaining interlibrary loan articles for medical staff, and filed state travel claims for library supervisors/director. Bette also served as the sole Medical Librarian for the newly formed Humana Hospital library for one year where she managed a team of medical doctors for the Librar y Procurement Committee Patsy held a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology from UCLA. She ear ned 19 graduate hours from JU to obtain her teaching certificate and also held Nati onal Board Certification in adolescent and young adult science with a specialty in biology. During this study, Patsy taught three sections of honors biology to tenth grader s and two sections of Advanced Placement biology to eleventh graders. Patsy had read I Read It But I Dont Get It by Chris Tovani and Yellow Brick Roads by Janet Allen during her participation in a school based reading learning community. In these workshops the group did a book study and discussed best practices in teaching. Patsy incorporated the idea of using logograph to teach vocabulary in her classroom from the texts she read. Patsy also indicated that she read information about science literacy while preparing for her Nati onal Board portfolio. She had not attended any workshops however that specific ally dealt with reading in science.
90 Process In this secti on, the process of designing t he professional develop ment effort will be briefly described. Chapter 4 will elaborate on the particular aspects of the professional development design. Research upholds that it is effectiv e for teachers from the same school to collaborate in a contentfocused professi onal development progr am (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995; Fieman-Nemser, 2001; Ric hardson, 2003). Research further supports involving teachers in long-term pr ofessional development to provide sustained opportunities for reflective thinking about t heir teaching practices (Glasson & Lalik, 1993; Guskey, 2002; Wedman & Robinson, 1988). This process is especially important in convincing secondary teachers to embrace teaching reading in their content areas because of the documented resistance to and lack of support for reading infusion in secondary content area classrooms (O Brien, Stewart, & Moje, 1995) The goal for this study was to exami ne how secondary science teachers from varied backgrounds learn about the specia lized features of science language and integrate the ideas into t heir teaching practice. Research supported the use of the medium of a professional develop ment program in order to in vestigate this experience. The professional development plan encouraged the science t eachers exploration of pertinent topics related to the functi onal analysis of science language. The researcher designed a series of workshops that provided teachers with an opportunity to examine how language func tioned in science to develop theories, concepts, and ideas. In this study, seven science teachers participated in monthly meetings with the researcher from August 2008 through April 2009. The purpose of this professional development effo rt was for teachers to deve lop their understanding of the
91 language demands of science reading and stra tegies for coping with these reading challenges. Experts contend that there are many featur es of scientific langu age that make it distinctive from other content areas such as history or math (Fang, 2006; Fang & Schleppegrell, 2009). These features include the large amo unt of technical terms, the abstract words developed to explain theories, the large amount of information packed into sentence that make the writing dense, and the complex organizational patterns that scientists use to explain scientific phenomen a. These features of science language served as themes for the professional develop ment sessions. Following is a list of the topics covered in each session of t he professional dev elopment effort. Module 1: Unique linguistic challenges of secondary science reading Module 2: The technicality of science language and coping strategies Module 3: The abstractness of science language and coping strategies Module 4: The density of science language and coping strategies Module 5: The genres of science language and coping strategies In between meetings, the researcher visi ted the classroom weekly offering support through informal observations and conversations This ongoing cycle of meeting, trying out new ideas and talking about the challe nges and successes of implementing these ideas engaged teachers in reflective thin king about how their understanding of how language is used in science contribut ed to their teaching practice. Professional development sessions included examination of relevant journal articles and book chapters as well as present ations about the specialized features of science language. In addition, teachers brought science textbooks and other sources of classroom reading materials to each session in order to analyze the ways language was
92 used in these texts, discuss the challenges sc ientific language may present to students, and consider strategies for copi ng with these language demands. In addition to these professional developm ent modules, the researcher conducted an initial session to assess the teachers knowledge and beliefs abo ut teaching reading in science and a post session to collect a summa tive response to the entire professional development experience. Chapter 4 details t he context and content of the professional development effort. Data Collection Data are an important part of the research process beca use it is from data that theory and knowledge are constr ucted (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Creswell (2007) refers to data collection as a process involving the following activities: locating a research site, gaining access and establishing rapport, purposefu l sampling, collecti ng data, recording information, resolving field issues, and stori ng data. In order to conduct this study, permission to access a site was gained through the approval of an In stitutional Review Board at The University of Florida. Next, I contacted a local high school principal and presented information about the study to 28 members of the science department. The principal visited the meet ing and encouraged members of her science department to participate in the study. Once the site and participants were confirmed, a letter was sent to participants explaining the research process and requesting their permission for involvement as well as a copy of the IRB (Appendix A). Convenience sampling was used to acquire participants from a willing pool of 14 teachers who showed interest in the study. In this study, a variety of data source s were used to gather information to help explain how secondary science teachers le arn about the specia lized language of
93 science. The primary source of data in this study was tr anscripts of professional development sessions and individual interviews with participants. Secondary data sources included informal classroom observations and follow-up conversations with teachers, email communications, and concep t maps. Data consisted of approximately 25 hours of audio-recordings which documen ted 14 hours of professional development sessions, 7 hours of interviews, 2 hours of informal conversations, and 2 hours of classroom interactions. In addition, there were over 70 pages of field notes from participant-observations and nearl y 500 pages of transcription. Documents Teachers completed an initial written surv ey to capture their knowledge, beliefs and prior experiences with readi ng in science (Appendix B). Interviews Teachers participated in two semi-structu red i nterviews during the research process. Duration of the interviews wa s between 20 and 30 minutes. Each interview was recorded with a digital-voice recorder and then transcribed. Interview questions were developed based on information that was presented in the professional development sessions. A mid-term intervie w was conducted to assess teachers views and understanding of the content of the pr ofessional developmen t. (Appendix C). A final interview further assessed what the teachers learned from t heir experience and probed for how they will continue to implement and develop their learning about the specialized language of science (Appendix D). The interviews provided insight on what influenced the learning process of individual teachers.
94 Informal Contact Throughout the duration of the research, informal conversations with individual teachers provided feedback about thei r understanding and experi ence teaching about the specialized language of science. I recorded field notes about the content of these conversations in a research log. This information provided insight into the successes and barriers teachers encountered as they atte mpted to integrate the new ideas into their daily teaching routines Participant Observations Participant-observation served as a secondar y resource in this study. Observation of the teachers in the cla ssroom demonstrated if there wa s consis tency between what teachers said about their classrooms in t he professional develop ment session and what was actually happening. In addition, observa tions showed how and if teachers were implementing any of the strategies addr essed in the professional development meetings. Finally, being a par t of the classroom shed light on the teachers daily routines. In addition, I could provide c onstructive feedback about integrating reading into their current teaching practices. Tabl e 3.2 provides a chronological listing of the observations completed during this study. Classroom observations took place on a weekly basis contingent upon a mutually agreed upon time by the teacher and the researc her. Observations lasted for at least 30 minutes. DeWalt &DeWalt (2002) believe that the role of a participantobserver can be varied in the level of involvement. Since the purpose of the observation was to collect data about the teachers use of strategies and concepts in the cl assroom, researcher participation on most occasions was relatively low. Unless prompted by questions from
95 the teacher, the researchers role was to watch and listen. However, in some cases, teachers requested to see a model lesson or team teach a lesson. Detailed field notes were recorded th rough long-hand during observations. The observation protocol included both descriptive and reflective notes. (Appendix E). In the descriptive column I recorded information about observed classroom activities that involved reading or attended directly to a strategy discussed in professional development sessions. In the reflective column, I recorded wonderings and thoughts about what was happening in the classroom as it pertained to the research study. Topics considered in reflection were how issues identified in the literature such as class size, class behavior, structure of the school day, and pressure from state testing impacted the teachers im plementation process. The following questions were informally di scussed after observations: What do you think went well with your lesson? What would you do differently if you tried this again? Data Analysis Data was analyzed us ing methods char acteristic to grounded theory studies (Creswell, 2007; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). The process of grounded theory allows the researcher to interact wit h the data and extract a theory directly from the raw data (Crotty, 1998). The purpose of this analysis wa s to identify themes from the data and generate a theory about the participants proc ess of learning about the language of science. The constructivist theoretical fram ework lens to this grounded theory study allowed the researcher to consider how t he participants ideas, views, feelings, assumptions, beliefs, and experiences contributed to the overall learning process of this group of science teachers.
96 Grounded theory provides a systematic way of realizing the interplay between the researcher and the data (Str auss & Corbin, 1998, p. 13). For this study, grounded theory is an appropriate choice because it provided a systematic means of making sense out of the interactions between the teachers participation in the professional development and the integration of the i deas in their classrooms. Grounded theory analysis allowed categories to emerge and scaffold into a working theory about how science teachers come to apply their understanding of the l anguage demands of scientific language to their teaching practice. In this study, the process of data analysis involved repeated readings, codings, and comparis ons of data sources (Creswell, 2007; Glaser & Strauss 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Applying the techniques of coding and constant-comparison allowed the researcher to build a theory of what facilitated and inhibited the learning of secondary science teachers in this study. To analyze the data, the pr ocess of coding was employed. Strauss & Corbin (1998) describe this process as both fluid and dynamic, allowing the researcher to discover categories, relate categories, and fi nally organize the categories in order to create a theory. There are three stages in the process of coding: open coding, axial coding, and selective coding. The first stage of open coding involved examination of the data for preliminary categories and variables that emerged to explain how the teachers make sense out of the information present ed in the workshops (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). The researcher started the process by using line-byline analysis to look at the interview and professional development tran scripts. Initial analysis involved searching for themes and categories in the teachers sense making (e.g., barriers, struggles, excitement, insights, resistance, issues, and c oncerns). Examples of codes at this point
97 included: blame on student behav ior, reluctance to incorpor ate reading, networking, doubting. This stage allowed t he researcher to reduce lar ge amounts of data to more manageable parts. Prevailing categories emer ged based on like features and properties allowing the researcher to pl ace the data along dimensions. In addition to the open coding, the researcher used memoing at this point to record responses about the ongoing analysis and reflect on the secondary data sources (i.e. field notes, email communications, researchers log). Memoing is the process of writing down notes about the evolving theory (Creswell, 2007). This technique was particularly useful because it helped the researcher to keep track of her own thoughts, questions, and changes in ideas as t he research progressed. The next stage of analysis involved axial coding which adds depth and structure to the analysis (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). The goal at this stage is to discover relationships and connections between the categories as the researcher works to put the data back together in a new way. Answer ing questions at this point like how did teachers use the techniques in their classroo m? provided insight into the relationship between the teachers report of their understanding of a co ncept like abstraction and their actual application of it in the cl assroom. Using an organiza tional tool like the paradigm described by Strauss and Corbin (1998) allows the researcher to create categories around the conditions, actions, and c onsequences that are significant to the phenomenon being studied and essentially build a theory. At this stage, data was analyzed for links between categories that might aid in conceptualizing what conditions might best lend to a teacher embracing and implementing the strategies presented about the specialized language of science. Examples of codes at this point included:
98 feedback from instructor, peer interactions, and time for expert re view. Initial codes were collapsed into larger categories and analysis of the data continued looking for evidence of support for the axial codes. At this stage, the open and axial coding happened simultaneously. The last stage of coding was selective codi ng. Selective coding is the process of integrating and refining theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1998, p. 143). The goal at this stage was to identify a central category and an ex planation for how the sub-categories fit together within that ca tegory. In this study, centra l themes emerged connecting the major categories identified in the analysis pr ocedures to explain how secondary science teachers learn about the specia lized features of science l anguage. The core theme in this study was the factor of opportunity to talk Through data analysis it was revealed that this was the most salient factor in teachers learni ng process. Memos and all data analysis up to this point contributed to t he identification of t he selective codes. In this study, data was analyzed both within cases and across cases. Findings from within case analysis i dentified the experiences of each science teacher. Crosscase analysis was then used to analyze data along the lines of themes such as technicality, abstraction, density, and genres. Th is analysis procedure contributed to the development of a theory about how the teachers conceptualized and interpreted the specialized language of science and related it to their practice of teaching science. The analysis procedures in this study were on-going and iterative throughout the data collection period. The systemat ic coding process allowed i dentification of themes and categories to build a theory about how this group of science teachers learned about the specialized language of science and integrat ed it into their teaching practice.
99 Validation Strategies Qualitative research strives to accurately represent the experiences and stories of the research participants. It is important that the researcher uses various techniques for assessing the accuracy of the findings (Cre s well, 2007). Other terms that have been used in qualitative research to try and capt ure the essence of getting it right in qualitative research include trustwort hiness (Angen, 2000), credibility and authenticity (Linco ln & Guba, 1985). One strategy for establishi ng validity is through spending time in the field with participants (Creswell, 2007). Extended expo sure to participants through observations and interaction allows the research to bu ild trust and understanding of the research environment. I spent 6 months working with the science teachers in this study. Between weekly classroom visits, tri-weekly meetings, interviews, and informal conversations, a relationship was establishe d with the participants that encouraged their candid and honest responses. A common technique used in qualitative st udy to establish validity is thick description of the study setti ng and participants (Creswell, 2007). This is important because it allows others who read the resear ch to evaluate how and if the results can transfer to their own situations. A vivid, rich description of t he details of the participants and their interactions during professional development wa s provided in this study. Another strategy employed wa s identifying researcher bias. This is important because it clarifies how the researcher s experiences influence motivation and interpretations of events. I included a reflec tion on my experiences in order to establish researcher bias.
100 Member checking was also employed to va lidate this study. Member checking involves asking the research participants to review the researchers conclusions and interpretations (Creswell, 2007; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). At th e beginning of each session, interpretations of the teachers ex periences were reviewed and examined. In addition participants were offered an oppor tunity to respond to the themes and descriptions of their partici pation in the professional development sessions during individual interviews. Further transcribed interviews were sent to the teachers for review and feedback. Role of the Researcher Subjectivity I am trained as a reading specialist and have taught reading and languag e arts from grades 6-12. My experiences are widely varied in settings from a suburban middle school setting in Columbus, Ohio, to a city high school setting in Duval County Florida, and an inner-city middle school in Baltimore City. In addition, I taught for two years at a high school in the county where I conducted this research. Two experiences particularly shaped my inte rest in secondary content reading. In my position as a mentor-liaison with the J ohns Hopkins University, I was afforded the opportunity to work directly with middle school teachers from all content areas in implementing best practices in reading into the teaching routines. I taught onsite courses, conducted monthly-st aff developments, and participated in individual teachers classrooms by modeling and co-teaching less ons. Informal feedback from teachers who embraced the ideas shared through these ex periences motivated me to find more avenues for reaching out to se condary content teachers.
101 The next experience that shaped my passi on for secondary reading was my role as a reading fellow on a grant at the University of Florida. Through closely working with two middle school science teachers, I was able to see the transformation in their teaching. As a reading fellow, I collabor ated with the teachers on weekly reading lessons, observed the daily classroom practice, and modeled lessons in their classrooms. The end of the pr oject led to positive changes in student performance and did convince the teachers to integrate reading in to their science instruct ion. In fact, the teachers even presented information from our project to their fellow teachers in the district, further motivating me to replicat e this experience with other secondary area content teachers. These experiences definitely shaped my role as a researcher and warrant disclosure to research participants. The role of language in learning has always been of interest to me. As a language arts teacher, I was continually challeng ing my students to consider how language functions to communicate ideas. From analyzing texts to producing writ ing, I maintained a focus in my teaching on language. In a presentation at NCTE I paired with a colleague to share strategies to use in t he secondary English classroom to encourage students to think about language. One strategy we advocated was to view different broadcasts of the same event and consi der how the speakers both used language uniquely to express contrasting viewpoints about a topic. My interest in language as a central part of learning language arts translated easily into seeing language as important in understanding science. Thr ough several courses during my doctoral program at the University of Florida, I came to understand more clearly how scientists use language in science. It made sense to think about the various genres in science
102 and how their organization offers some predictabi lity in the reading of science. I came to see that if I understand how scientists or ganize and use language to express ideas, I can improve my comprehension of science mate rial. This belief in helping my own understanding of science led me to believe that if we can work with students to see more explicitly how language is used as a tool, this may improve not only their understanding of science, but possibly their interest too. Despite my knowledge of reading, however I do not consider myself an expert in teaching science. Though I have worked closely with science teachers in various settings, I have not taught science. The c ontent, especially of some of the more advanced levels of science like physics and anatomy, is challenging to me. It is for this reason that I am interested in working clos ely with science teachers to see if we can inform one anothers instructional practices thr ough our joint effort to promote scientific literacy for all students. Trustworthiness In order to establish trustw orthiness with this group of seven science teachers, it was important to share my assumptions, be liefs, and experiences with the participants at the onset of this study (Lincoln & G uba, 1985). During our first session, we had an open discussion to learn more about one another. Sharing my experiences helped to develop a rapport with teachers so that they felt comfortabl e sharing their stori es and ideas with me (Creswell, 2007). Responsibility Many qualit ative researcher s are participant-observers to a range of degrees in studies. In this study, my degree of parti cipation was high since I facilitated the professional development effort as well as t he classroom observations. As a facilitator,
103 I planned the professional development sessi ons including the session format and the materials used. My role as the facilitator was to prompt the participants thinking about the specialized discourse of science and what it means to their teaching practice. The sessions involved opportunities for partici pants to shape the conversation and ask relevant questions about the topics covered. As a facilitator, I also modeled sample teaching lessons and prompted teachers to analyze the validity and usefulness of the strategy to their teaching. In addition to facilitating the professiona l development sessions, I served the role of participant-observer in the teachers classrooms. If th e teacher invited me to coteach or model a lesson in the classroom, then I participated in the class. This role allowed me the flexibility to respond to each individual teachers comfort level with the process of learning about the specialized discourse of science. My role in this research is somewhat complicated because I want to convince the participants to change their teaching practice to include explicit instruction in the specialized discourse of science. As a readi ng specialist, I believe that reading should be a practiced skill in secondary content cl assrooms. Students c ould enhance their content learning by reading a va riety of texts, informational and narrative. In addition, the secondary content teacher should have t he knowledge to assist students in comprehension of content area texts. However, as a researcher, I acknowledge the constraints and difficulties of doing this in the secondary setting. Often the teachers do not have a variety of reading materials at their disposal, nor have they been provided with enough information and support to try the new instructional practice s. I believe that efforts need to be made to
104 discover how secondary content teachers can best integrate reading instruction into their daily instructional routines, hence the development of this study. Summary This study documents the experience of seven secondary science teachers as they participated in learning about how language functions in science. Through their participation in a professional dev elopm ent program, teachers examined the complexities of science language and integrated new strategies for addressing these complexities into their classr oom. The details of the profe ssional development effort are described in Chapter 4. Chapters 5-7 r eport the findings and the grounded theory about how secondary science teachers learn about the specialized features of science language. Included in the findings are ex cerpts from teachers interviews and conversation during professional development sessions to show how the teachers explored and learned about the language of science and strategies for use in their classrooms.
105 Table 3-1. Teacher Information Name Gender Age Teaching Experience (Years) Teacher preparation Courses Taught Grades Taught Bette Female 30 5 Alternative Biology honors 9 th 10th Casey Female 53 15 Traditional Anatomy and physiology 10 th 11th Lisa Female 56 34 Traditional Marine science 11 th 12th Mona Female 55 17 Traditional Physical science 9th Billie Female 28 6 Alternative Physical science 9th Brad Male 35 8 Traditional Biology 10th Patsy Female 53 12 Alternative Biology honors 10 th 11th
106 Table 3-2. Chronological List of Observations Date Teacher Topic Time (Minutes) 9-08-08 Mona Initial 50 9-08-08 Brad Initial 50 9-08-08 Lisa Initial 50 9-09-08 Bette Initial 50 9-09-08 Billie Initial 50 9-11-08 Casey Initial 50 9-15-08 Patsy Initial 50 9-23-08 Brad Active Reading 50 9-23-08 Casey Active Reading 50 9-29-08 Lisa Active Reading 50 9-29-08 Bette Active Reading 50 9-30-08 Billie Active Reading 50 10-01-08 Mona Active Reading 50 10-01-08 Patsy Active Reading 50 10-20-08 Lisa Technicality 30 10-20-08 Bette Technicality 40 10-21-08 Mona Technicality 40 10-21-08 Patsy Technicality 50 10-21-08 Brad Technicality* 50 10-27-08 Billie Technicality 40 10-27-08 Casey Technicality 30 10-28-08 Patsy Technicality 50 10-28-08 Brad Technicality* 40 11-12-08 Brad Abstraction* 40 11-13-08 Casey Abstraction 30 11-17-08 Billie Abstraction*` 40 11-18-08 Brad Abstraction 40 11-19-08 Patsy Abstraction 50 11-19-08 Bette` Abstraction* 50 11-19-08 Lisa Abstraction 30 12-01-08 Mona Abstraction 40 12-10-08 Mona Abstraction 20 1-21-08 Billie Density 30 1-26-08 Casey Density 30 1-27-08 Bette Density* 40 1-27-08 Brad Density 40 1-27-08 Lisa Density 50 128-08 Mona Density 30 3-2-08 Bette Genres 50 3-2-08 Casey Genres 30 3-2-08 Lisa Genres 30 3-5-08 Mona Genres 50 3-09-08 Patsy Genres 50 3-09-08 Brad Genres 30
107 CHAPTER 4 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT MODULES The purpos e of Chapter 4 is to descr ibe the design of the professional development modules utilized for this study. This chapter includes a detailed description of the content and contex t of each module. The following three sections outline the components of the professional development modules. The first section expl ains the contextual features of the professional development sessions. The next section describes the schedule, duration, format, and organization of the modules. The final section includes a detailed account of the content of each of t he eight modules designed to pr omote teacher learning about science language. Context Garet et al. (2001) identified three core features of effective professional development: (a) focus on c ontent, (b) promotes active learning, and (c) fosters coherence. Each core feature was addressed as follows in this study. Focus on Content There is growing support that high-qua lity professional development efforts encompass a strong focus on content (Brownell et al., 2008; Garet et al., 2001). In this study, the goal was to transform teachers understanding of t he role of the specialized language of science in reading science text. Therefore, the prof essional development sessions included science content with an emphasis on content-specific reading skills in science. The professional development se ssions supported teachers in developing an understanding of the specializ ed language of science and strategies for applying that information to their own instructional routines.
108 Promoting Active Learning There is agreement in the professional developm ent literature that teachers need to be actively involv ed in learning during the professional development experience (Desimone, Birman, & Yoon, 2001; Garet et al., 2001). In order to promote active learning in this study, suffi cient time was provided during the professional development modules for teachers to plan for instruction and discuss the efficacy of the strategies presented by the facilitator. Follow-up classroom visits by the facilitator further promoted the actual implementat ion of their learning and oppor tunity to reflect on their teaching. Also, teachers were continually encouraged to share what they learned with colleagues and one another. Fostering Coherence Teachers want to see how what they lear n about in professional development links to broader goals and missions of the field (Gar et et al., 2001; Penuel et al., 2007). In this study, direct connections between the information presented about the specialized language of science and the types of scienc e reading that the general population is expected to be able to do were addressed. In addition, recommendations from national organizations like The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Research Council (NRC), and National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) were reviewed and discussed during the professional development sessions. Duration This research study occurred over a 7 month period, beginni ng in September 2008 and concluding in April 2009. Table 4.1 out lines the schedule of the professional development meetings. The professional development modules took place approximately once ev ery three to four weeks for a total of 8 meetings. Each session
109 included a two-hour formal session where professional readings were discussed and a brief presentation of strategi es that could be applied in t he classroom were presented to the whole group. This was then followed up by individual teachers planning for implementation in the classroom. The follo wing section of this paper will detail the format of the professional development modules. Format Experts contend that traditional means of delivering professiona l development are no longer v iable (Brownell et al., 2008; Ga ret et al., 2001; Guskey, 2002). Single sessions or one-day formats focused on trans mitting information to teachers with the expectation they will take it back into their classrooms has not proven to be effective. Recent literature on professi onal development advocates for formats that encourage collaboration and reflection among partici pants and provide opportunities for participants to actively participate in in tegrating new ideas into their teaching (Desimone, Birman, & Yoon, 2001). The structure of each sessi on was broken down into an hour of expert review and an hour of practice-based discu ssion (Watson & Manning, 2008). The first hour of each session was dedicated to the expert study Components of expert study included professional readings and modeling of st rategies. Teachers were encouraged to question, analyze, and weigh the information presented against their own experiences in order to develop their understanding of the specialized language of science. The second hour was dedicated to practicebased discussions. In this segment of time, teachers were able to analyze the usef ulness of the strategies. They could use their own materials to plan for classroom im plementation and reflec t on the plausibility of using the information from the expert study in their own classrooms. This segment
110 supports the call for effective professional de velopment to involve teachers actively in the learning process (Desimone, Birman, & Yoon, 2001). Additionally, in each module, topic relevant questions were posed at the b eginning and end of the meeting to prompt thinking and conversation. The following section addresses the spec ific content of the professional development modules. Details of topics co vered, titles of readings, and specific questions asked of participants are described. Content of Modules There were a total of eight modules in this professional development plan. The first module was the initial m eeting entitled pre-pr ofessional development. The next five modules addresses the topics covered asso ciated with science language. Included in this series of modules was a midterm and post module to review and check for understanding. Module 1 Date. September 2008 Title. Pre-Professional Development Module. Objective. Teachers will complete personal statements and participate in discussion about prior beliefs, knowledge, and experiences with secondary content reading in order to collect baseline data. Details: This session opened with introductions and a general overview of the purpose and schedule of the re search project. Teachers were then asked to complete a personal statement to a ssess prior knowledge about reading. Information gleaned included teaching histor y, current teaching schedules, and eight questions about reading in science (appendix B). Questions to probe teachers thinking about reading in science included: What role, if any, has reading played in your personal endeavor to learn science? What role, if any, does reading play in learning science?
111 What are some similarities between l earning science and learning other subject areas? What are some differences between reading science and r eading other subject areas? What reading skills do students need to access scientific texts successfully? What issues do your students confront in accessing scientific texts and how do you address these issues in your teaching? What would you hope to learn in this professional developm ent effort about helping students with science texts? Tell me about the reading materials avai lable to use in your classroom. Once personal statements were completed, questions from the personal statement were posed by the instructor and participant s shared and discussed their answers. This conversation was important to establish community and cohesiveness in the group. Teachers willingly partici pated in this activity. After the discussion, teachers were a sked to complete a semantic map representing the skills each teacher believed students needed in order to read scientific texts. The maps were then collected and held until the final meeting so teachers could then revisit and revise their maps based on new information from the professional development experience. The information gathered from the personal statements and the semantic maps was further used to shape and refine subsequent professional development modules. Module 2 Date September 2008 Title. The Unique Language Demands of Science Reading Objective Teachers will read from sele cted texts in order to compare the differences between science reading and other types of expected school reading.
112 Details. In this session the expert-re view and practice bas ed model began. The session opened with a brief explanation of the organizational structure of the next five modules. The following question was posed to begin discussion: What are some of the challenges in volved in reading a science textbook when compared to reading a Harry Potter book? Participants spent 10 minutes discussing th e question. Answers were recorded in a two-column chart on the board. Expert review This time was dedicated to reading several segments from Language and Literacy in Scienc e Education by Wellington and Osborne (2001). Discussion opened with a preview of the text where participants looked at chapter titles, tables, and diagrams. The facilitator then summarized the text explaining that the authors contend that language is one of the main barriers to student s learning of science and throughout the text the authors call attention to the role of the teacher in supporting students improvement in science learning th rough an emphasis on language. Participants were then directed to Chapt er 4 to examine the opening quote: Since reading is a major stra tegy for learning in virtually every aspect of education it is the responsibility of every teacher to develop it (B ullock, 1975 in Wellington & Osborne, 2004, p. 41). After a brief discussion, the facilitator and participants read aloud chapter 4 entitled Learning from reading. In this chapt er, Wellington and Osborne offer explicit strategies for hel ping students deal with the demands of science reading. Discussion was led by the t eachers responses to the reading.
113 Practice based discussion In the second section of this module parti cipants were asked to read the article by Fang (2008), entitled Goi ng beyond the Fab Five: He lping students cope with the unique linguistic challenges of expos itory reading in intermediate grades. In this article, Fang argues that current instruction in reading does not address the unique demands of expository texts. He provides sample texts to show the differences in reading demands between a typical narrative text used in school and an expository science text. Further, Fang highlights four feat ures of expository text (i.e. te chnicality, density, abstraction, authoritativeness) that im pact student comprehension and explains classroom strategies to assist students with reading expo sitory texts. This article reinforces the ideas presented in Reading in Secondar y Content Areas: A language based pedagogy (Fang & Schleppegrell, 2009). This article served as a springboard into the next sessions because it offered a brief overview of the issues of technica lity, density, abstractness, and complexity. Teachers worked in pairs to scan their te xtbooks for samples of each of the four features of expository text discussed in the article. Closure In closing, the following questions were posed: How do you think this information relates to your teaching of science? What are your concerns about trying the strategies presented in this article with your students? Assignment In preparation for classroom visits for t he week, participants were instructed to do something they would typically do with r eading in their classrooms. In addition,
114 participants were encouraged to conduct an informal survey with their kids about their opinions of reading science. Teachers were also encouraged to read chapter one and two from Reading in Secondary Content Areas (Fang & Shleppegrell, 2008). Chapter 1 of this text sets up the current issues wit h reading in the content areas in secondary settings and introduces the idea of functional language analysis as a means of addressing problems teacher s encounter when using reading in their content classrooms. Chapter 2 then explains the complexity of science language describing how it is simultaneously technical, abstract, and dense and how to apply functional analysis strategies in the classroom. Module 3 Date. October 2008 Title. The technicality of science and coping strategies. Objective. Teachers will understand how science reading is technical by examining sample texts and participating in model classroom lessons. Details. This session opened with shari ng information from the informal survey participants conducted with students about science reading. Expert review In this session, the expert review involved reviewing ho w science language was technical. Participant s were led through a review of the section on technicality from the Fang (2008) article previously read. In addition, participants reviewed the portion of Chapter 2 from Fang and Schlep pegrell (2008) [pages 18-22] that covered technicality. Participants were asked to read silently a nd then view a power point presentation about technicality in science language.
115 Practice based discussion In the second portion of the session, participants explored strategies for coping with technicality. Participants reviewed Chapter 4 of Fang, Lamme, and Pringle (2009) which provided explicit examples of how to employ language analysis strategies in the classroom. The instructor t hen modeled strategies for the participants. The following strategies were included: morphemic analysi s, vocabulary think charts, and concept definition word maps. Partici pants discussed how they might integrate these strategies into their own teaching. Closure The following questions were posed: How do you think this information relates to your teaching of science? What are your concerns about using this with your students? Assignment Develop a lesson plan using one of the strategies disc ussed in cla ss. Bring samples and response to our next session. Module 4 Date. November 2008 Title. The abstractness of science language and coping strategies. Objective. Teachers will understand how science reading is abstract by examining sample texts and participating in model classroom lesson. Discussion opened with the following questions: Explain in what way the technicality of science present r eading challenges to students. How did you use your underst anding of technicality to help your students read in your science teaching?
116 Describe how your students responded to your lessons that addressed technicality in science language. Expert review In this session, participants were intr oduced in greater detail to the concept of abstractness in science language. A power point presentation reviewed key component s of how science language is abstrac t. In addition, parti cipants revisited the section about abstraction in science language from Reading in Secondary Content Areas: A language based pedagogy (Fang & Schleppegrell, 2009). Practice based discussion In the second portion of the session, teachers explored strategies for coping with abstraction. Chapter 4 of Fang, Lamme and Pringle (2009) provided exam ples of classroom strategies for addressing the issue of abstraction. Strategies modeled in this section included: sentence completion and paraphrase. Participants discussed how they might integrate these strategies into their own teaching. The teachers discussed how to apply what they learned about the abstr actness of science discourse to their own practice by reviewing their curriculum mate rials and searching for ways to integrate the strategies into their daily plans. Closure The following questions were posed: How do you think this information relates to your teaching of science? What are your concerns about using this with your students? Assignment. Develop a lesson plan using one of the strategies disc ussed in cla ss. Bring samples and response to our next session.
117 Module 5 Date December 2008 Title Midterm Review (This session was one hour in length) Objective. Teachers will review in formation from the first modules. The session opened with discussion on the lesson teachers did on abstraction. The following questions were posed: Explain in what way the abstraction of science present reading challenges to students. How did you use your underst anding of abstraction to help your students read in your science teaching? Describe how students responded to your lessons that addressed abstraction in science discourse. After we shared responses from the abstr action lessons, the facilitator reviewed the features of technica lity and abstraction. Discussion closed with the following questions. Explain what challenges technicalit y and abstraction pose to science reading. What do you feel are the challenges to integrating this information into your science teaching? Module 6 Date. January 2009 Title. The density of scienc e language and coping strategies. Objective. Teachers will understand how science reading is dense by examining sample texts and participating in model classroom lesson. This session opened with a brief review of the challenges science reading can pose to students.
118 Expert review In this session, participants were introduc ed in greater detail to the concept of density in science language. A power point presentation reviewed key components of how scienc e language is dense. In addition, participants revisited the section about density in science language from Reading in Secondary Content Areas: A language based pedagogy (Fang & Schleppegrell, 2009) [pages 27-31]. In this text, the authors discuss the issue of density and provide cl ear examples of how and why science language is dense Practice based discussion In the second portion of the session, participants discussed strategies for coping with densit y. Chapter 4 of Fang, Lamme, an d Pringle (2009) prov ided examples of classroom strategies for addressing the issue of density. Strategi es modeled included: noun deconstruction and expansion and sentenc e combining. The participants then applied what they learned about the density of science discourse to their own practice by reviewing their curriculum materials and searching for ways to integrate the information into their daily plans. Closure The following questions were posed: How do you think this information relates to your teaching of science? What are your concerns about using this with your students? Assignment Develop a lesson plan using one of the strategies disc ussed in cla ss. Bring samples and response to our next session.
119 Module 7 Date. February 2008 Title. The genres of science language and coping strategies. Objective Teachers will under stand the genres of science by examining sample texts and participating in model classroom lessons. This session opened with a review of t he lesson completed on density. The following questions were posed: Explain what challenges the density of science language presents to science reading. How can you use this understanding of density in your science teaching? Describe how students responded to your lessons that addressed density in science language. Expert review The first hour was dedicated to learni ng about the basic science genres (i.e. procedure, report/description, explanation, argument/exposit ion). The science teachers viewed a power pint presentation about genres and then read several samples of science writing that included exam ples of the various genres. Practice based discussion In the seco nd hour, the genre-teaching cycle was presented to the science teachers. This teachingcycle was described in Chapter 4 of Fang, Lamme, and Pringle. The genre teaching cycle involves preparation, modeling, joint construction, and independent construction. Participants c onsidered how they might implement the approach to teaching science genres in t heir own classrooms and began to develop plans for introducing the concept of science genres to students.
120 Closure The following questions were posed: How do you think this information relates to your teaching of science? What are your concerns about using this with your students? Assignment Develop a lesson plan using one of the strategies disc ussed in cla ss. Bring samples and response to our next session. Module 8 Date March 2008 Title: Review and Reflection Objective: Teaches will share their final thoughts about using the ideas in their classrooms. The session opened with sharing exper iences with implementing the genre lessons in the classrooms. T he following questions were posed: Discuss how you integrated your underst anding of science genres into your teaching. How did your students re spond to your teaching? Expert review This session was reserved for follo w-up and member-checking. The expert review segment of this session involved a summary of key points from the study of science language. Participant based discussion Participant s were invited to share closi ng remarks about their participation in the study and how they would use these ideas in the future. To close, participants revisited
121 their concept maps and made adjustments based on their participation in the workshops. Summary In this chapter, the prof essional development design used for this study was described in great detail. In addition, specif ic details of each module were presented. The first two modules included an overview of the relevance of reading to science, focusing specifically on the challenges presen ted to students by the features of science language. The next four modules each furt her developed one of the four reading challenges discussed in the first module te chnicality, abstracti on, density, and genre and suggested strategies that teachers may use to help students cope with e ach of these challenges. Included in this model were two sessions for review, one at mid-term and one at the end. Chapters 5 and 6 will r eport the findings from this study.
122 Table 4-1. Professional Development Meeting Schedule Date Topic Time (Hours) SEP 08 Preprofessional Development 2 SEP 08 The Unique Language Demands of Science Reading 2 OCT 08 The Technicality of Science Language and Coping Strategies 2 NOV 08 The Abstractness of Science Language and Coping Strategies 2 DEC 08 Midterm Review 1 JAN 09 The Density of Science Language and Coping Strategies 2 FEB 09 Genres in Science Language and Coping Strategies 2 MAR 09 Reflection and Review 1
123 Table 4-2. Vocabulary Thinkchart Hydrogen gas (H) is diatomic at room temperature. Question Answer What is the target word? Diatomic Do you recognize any part of the word, such as prefix, suffix, or root (or base word)? What does each part mean? ditwo atomsmallest unit of an element icrelating to What does the word remind you of? Can you give a semantically-related word, an orthographicallysimilar word, or a real life scenario triggered by the word? Diameter, diabolic, diatribe, atoms, atomic numbers, economic How is the word defined in the text? Can you paraphrase the definition? Hydrogen gas, H is diatomic at room temperature. Diatomic means two atoms are in the element. Can you come up with a sentence in which the target word is used in the scientific sense? The atmosphere of the Earth is composed of mostly diatomic molecules. This word is part of which larger science concept? What are some other words related to this larger concept? Chemistry, physics Atom, Element, molecule, compounds,
124 CHAPTER 5 SCIENCE TEACHERS PRIOR CONCE PT IONS ABOUT SCIENCE READING Qualitative research methods are especially useful in uncovering the meaning that people assign to events (Creswell, 2007). In th is study particularly, the use of grounded theory allowed the researcher to develop an in-depth understanding of the experience of this group of secondary science teachers as they examined the challenges presented to both teaching and learning by the complex nature of science language. It is well established that secondary c ontent teachers are conflicted about the usefulness of integrating reading strategies into their teac hing repertoire. While most secondary teachers acknowledg e that reading is important, evidence of consistent integration of reading st rategies into daily teaching practi ce is scarce. Questions remain about how and if these teachers actually implement the reading strategies they learn about in workshops, textbooks, and college classes. The first research question in this st udy, What do science teachers know about teaching reading in science? attempts to capture the prior knowledge, beliefs, and experiences of the science teachers involved in this study. In order to provide effective professional development, it is relev ant to ask what experiences, beliefs, and understanding this group of teachers had about reading prior to the delivery of the series of professional development sessions. The purpose of this chapter is to r eport findings about the teachers prior knowledge, beliefs, and experiences with r eading in science. This information was captured from four sources: the personal statements that teacher s completed during the first session the group discussion that followed the completion of the statements
125 informal follow up conversations and emails between the participants and the researcher This chapter contains five sections. Section one describes how the teachers explain the role of reading text in science learning. Section two details the teachers interpretation of what it means to teach reading in science. The third section addresses the teachers beliefs about students reading in science. The final section describes the instructional practices the sci ence teachers currently use in their classrooms to address reading and the questions teachers pose about reading in science in the secondary setting. In order to reference the data from this study, I developed a system to indicate if the data was from a professi onal development module (PD), a mid-term interview, (MT), a final interview, (FI), or an email communica tion (EC). I also in cluded a letter reference to indicate who made the statement (e.g JB, MC, PB). Finally, the professional development references include the date of the module and the numbers for the other references indicate page num bers from the transcripts Reading in Science Data showed that the science teachers in this study believed that reading was important in learning science. Reading is the most important way to learn about science, (PD109/2) Casey stated in our opening discussion. Patsy further explained, Future consumers must be able to read and protect themselves and monitor their own medical progress (PS-PB-2). Mona added that, In order to know and learn what others have done, we must read their reports (PSBM-2). The science teachers acknowledged that science is a field in which reading pl ays an important role because new information is always surfacing about particular topics. For example, Billie addressed how in an
126 older scientific text, Pluto would be identif ied as a planet, but now scientists classify Pluto as a dwarf planet (PD2-09/16-23). Lisa further distinguished how she believed that reading played a role in remaining up to date on current trends in science. Things like history and English are static You know, a verb is a verb is a verb. A noun is a noun. George Wash ington will never be the third or fourth president. He's always the fi rst. Whereas, in our field, marine biology, update, update, update. This thing is shi fting over here. We're going to move this group over here. We're going to have forget three phylums. We're now going to have six. We're going to rearrange these groups over here. I'll forget that classification. We're going to basket upset this. Chemistry, we're adding new chemicals all the time (PD1-09/2-11). The science teachers repeatedly st ated their belief that readi ng plays a major role in learning science and that it enables individual s to keep current on new ideas in science. Another theme indicated in the data was that science teachers believed reading was important to their own personal science learning. Sc ience teachers explained how they relied on reading to support their learning of scientific information in both personal and professional endeavors. Fo r example, during a professional development session Bette described a specific course she t ook in college that influenced her personal reading of scientific information. One of my courses in college wa s just about medical terminology and science terms. We just learned prefix es, suffixes, and root word meanings, and it totally changed my perception of how I read scientific material. Like everything from medical journals to just the te xtbooks themselves and lab manuals. That type of stuff. As fa r as reading, that played a huge role because you had to read to learn t he material. (PD1-09/2-2) Casey added that reading also played an important role in how she made sense out of the concepts that were covered in her college coursework. She explained that she often did not understand lectures in her science classes. Only through reading her textbook was she able to make sense of t he material. Casey explained how she would
127 read and reread and look at diagr ams until she could figure out the information (PS-MC1). Data showed that the science teachers al so used reading to find information to supplement their teaching and improve their knowledge in science. For example, Lisa commented that she reads science information to gather data on topics she is covering in class; when she wants to know somethi ng about a science topic like the great white shark, she finds an article about it (PS-VL-2). Billie concu rred stating, If a student asks a question I do not know the answer to, I will do re search on that topic so I can share it with my class (PS-JTB-2). In order to under stand particular science concepts or to find new information about a topic, the science t eachers often gained information by reading scientific texts like research articles and books. When asked what made science reading distin ctive from other types of reading, data from the personal statem ents showed that five of seven teachers listed technical vocabulary as the top reason that science reading was so different from other types of required school reading. Casey stated, The extensive and unfamiliar vocabulary in science texts can make reading science cum bersome (PS-MC-4). Brad added that in order to learn science a person must know Latin roots and prefixes. He explained further during a professional development m eeting, If you enjoy science you must develop an understanding of scientific language. Most pe ople do not enjoy Shakespeare, but once you learn the language, it is quite enjoyable (PD1-09/2-9). Bette agreed sharing: If you're an English type of person, you're going to pick up a medical book and go Oh my God! But once you know the terminology, you can read anything in science and feel comfortable. It's just the fact that you have to
128 learn the terminology; the only way you learn it is by reading tons of material (PD1-09/2-3) Through show of hands during our discu ssion about how science reading was different from other type s of reading, all seven teachers agreed that technical vocabulary was a major part of learning science Lisa compared science vocabulary to learning a new language. She reiterated the consensus that science was science because it used words that were s pecific to science. She stated: And like Spanish or French, when you hit science, it's a new vocabulary. And the children who are lazy, dont want it, can't make me, why do I have to deal with this? And my reply to t hat is everything in the ocean cannot be named Bob. If we're at the beach and I scream, "Look out. There's a Bob." Are you going to laugh or are you going to run out of the water? So we have to give things scientific names because if Im in Japan and I scream, "Look out. There's a Bob." They don't k now what's going on. But if I yell, "carcharodon carcharias," at least the marine biologists will be out of the water 'cause that's a great white shark (PD1-09/2-10). Another theme that surfaced in the dat a when the science teachers discussed reading in science was the s harp contrast between science reading and novel reading. The science teachers acknowle dged several ways that scienc e reading was different from novel reading such as that it is info rmative, topic driven, and contains a lot of vocabulary. For instance, Mona commented that most students are comfortable with stories but have difficulty making connecti ons to science texts which have more information (PS-BM3). Lisa added, Science has no plot. Being written by scientists who tend to be factual and dryscience texts often lack humor or that human connection found in novels (PD2-09/16). The science teachers expressed an awareness that science texts ar e different from typical te xts students read for pleasure or in their English classrooms.
129 Data revealed that science teachers believ ed that reading science text played an important role in learning about science. Science teachers used reading for their own personal endeavors in learning science an d used reading to further their own understanding of concepts to pr esent to their students. W hen describing science text, the science teachers believed that it was distin ctive from other types of text due to its high use of technical words that are specif ic to science. In addition, the science teachers indicated that science text was vastly different from the ty pical types of texts that students read for pleasure or in school. The Role of the Teacher Data about how teachers perceived the role of the science teacher in teaching reading can be separated into tw o themes. The first theme was that science teachers showed a willingness to accept the respons ibility of teaching reading to their students. The second theme was that despite the science teachers participation in many workshops and college courses, they did not feel adequately prepare d to teach reading in science. Because the science teachers believed r eading was important in science, they were willing to teach their students to becom e better readers of scientific information. First of all, their participation in this study was evidence of their willingness to learn about teaching reading in science. During a professional development meeting, the science teachers elaborated about why they w anted to help their st udents improve in science reading. Bette connected her own experiences in learning about science to why she thought it was important for her students to know how to read science. As a biology teacher my whole thing for t he year I tell my kids, I want to try to break it down for you. I'm dem ystifying science for you. I want you to understand it so you get it. Because, I'm like, I was there. I wasn't a
130 science reader. I went into scienc e because I wanted to be a missionary doctor in the middle of nowhere Latin America and you know that was my heart. And here I am teaching science (PD1-09/2). Patsy also thought it worthwhile to t each reading in science. In her mid-term interview, she expressed her desire to know more information about reading in science. Patsy explained that she decided to be a part of the study because she wanted to improve her own knowledge. You hear some teachers say, I've always done it this way, I'm always going to do it this way and you're not gonna make me teach reading because I am a science teacher. You have to kind of think, Okay thats your choice. But, thats not the choice I'm going to make. And initially to sign up for something like this, the opportunity was presented but not everybody was for it. I dont have time for that but I thought, No, I've done enough with a couple other reading books; I'd like to add another one, another piece in my learning ability so I can help my students (PB-MT-10). Although the science teachers, showed a wi llingness to teach reading in science, data revealed the science teachers were uncerta in about what it meant for the science teacher to teach reading. W hen asked about the role of sci ence teachers in teaching reading, Patsy stated, I think it's been the philosophy at our school for several years now that it is every teacher's responsibility. And I see it as reading comprehension, which is easier for me to think that I am c apable of teaching than, you know, any sort of phonics or anything like that (PD209/16-17). Lisa responded to Patsy: It's kind of an unfair situation to make a blanket statement like that [every teacher a teacher of reading]. It's a grandiose and idealistic statement. It's like saying, We want everybody in th is school to go out and run the Boston Marathon and win. But we don't care if you've been sitting on the couch for the last 25 years or if you go out and run everyday, you should all be out there running the marathon. I really have ambivalent feelings because my mother was an English teacher and I think, Yes, and then my science teacher says, No, I wasn't trained for this. I was trained to be a science teacher. (PD2-09/16-17)
131 Lisa felt inadequately trained to teach reading to her secondary students. During a professional development meeting, she explained: I realize that as a reading teacher I am woefully inadequate. But then, I have received very little training to be a reading specialist, let alone an intensive science reading specialist. My training involves teaching them to understand marine biology in whatever fa shion I can devise, by breaking it down into manageable bites of data, bot h visually and orally. (PD2-09/1618) Casey further confirmed Lisas hesitancy in being prepared to teach reading in her secondary science classroom. Despite her belief that reading was important and a valuable part of her own science learning, she was unsure of her ability to effectively address it in her classroom. She indicat ed in her personal statement that she was taking this course because she had attended many workshops before that addressed reading in the content areas but she still did not feel prepared to do it well in her own classroom (PS-MC-6). It is important to note that the science teachers explained how the administration of the school expected that reading was a part of all of the content areas. With the emphasis on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), science teachers at this school were provided with FCAT sample test books to use for reading practice in the classrooms. In addition, a reading specialist provided mini-workshops and daily instructional support to the teac hers. Another source of s upport offered to teachers is semester learning community classes. Three of the teachers in this study participated in learning community experiences wher e they read Chris Tovanis book Do I Really Have to Teach Reading? and Kylene Beers book, When Kids Cant Read What Teachers Can Do Casey commented that she felt the school level support for trying reading strategies in her classroom was outstanding explaining that, We have a school wide
132 time for reading each day and are encourag ed to include reading assignments within our content areas (PD2-09/1622). Several t eachers noted their belief that reading for pleasure was a valuable activity. Lisa sa id, Teenagers will read un til the cows come home anything as intense as Lord of the Rings or whatever, if there is an interest in it. (PD2-09/16-26). In this school, each teacher had a classroom library with a variety of books for kids. During the 5th period class, an extra 20 minutes is added to the class for personal reading. All seven teachers were supportive of this school wide initiative. Despite the wealth of offerings at this school and the encouragement for incorporating reading at the secondary level, however, science teachers admitted that they still felt at a loss sometimes when apply ing the ideas to science. Billie commented, There are some efforts to address reading in the content classes here, but the needs for reading in science are so different. I do not feel that this is addressed in the mini workshops that we have (EC-JTB-1/18). Th e science teachers indicated that the topics discussed in faculty initiatives addressed mo tivation and generic reading strategies such as how to access background knowledge, fluen cy, or vocabulary. Casey shared that after attending a mini-workshop, she conducted a reading activity once a week for one month designed to promote fluency. Fir st I read a passage aloud and then the students read for one minute wit h a partner recording how far they got and we calculated how many words they were readi ng per minute. (EC-MC-03/6). While Casey was willing to participate in this activity, s he did not feel it was something she would continue on a regular basis in her classroom. The science teachers experiences with learning about teaching reading were focused on generic reading strategies. Bette commented that she was able to mold
133 some of the ideas into her science teaching like the logograph, bu t no reading training had dealt directly with science reading. Lisa sa id, Other than school advisory giving us money for books and science FCAT practice books, we have seen nothing until this workshop that specifically addressed how to read science (EC-VL-09/18). Brad elaborated on his previous expe riences with professional development about reading in the content areas: They [workshop facilitators] basically gave us some reading and science literacy strategies and they pretty much just hand you the book and go through it for, like, an hour and then youre on your own to use it, and they want you to implement the strategies in your class. And a lot of it was Venn diagrams and different reading strategies (FI-MB-5). Data also showed that the science teacher s faulted their college preparation for not being ready to teach reading in science. The science teachers said that the courses did not prepare them for how to address reading in the science classroom. Billie who was the newest teacher in the group indicated that the importance of reading in science was stressed in her courses but most of th e strategies were about topics like finding the main idea or vocabulary. Lisa, who had over 30 years of teaching ex perience, said that reading was never addressed in her courses. Generic education courses really did not give us training on dealing with comprehension. It talked about sciences motivating them [students] to enjoy sciences, motivating them to be curious about science, finding ways to reinterpret the data for the kids who are not getting it. (PD2-09/16-19) Data concluded that the science teachers agreed that reading was important to learning science and that they were willing to accept the responsibility and explore ways to improve their teaching of reading in science. However, they did not feel adequately prepared to address reading in their classrooms.
134 The Role of the Student The scienc e teachers agreed t hat students struggled with reading science texts. Bette compared her own reading of coll ege texts to how she believed an average reader encounters scientific texts: I remember having texts in college particularly an organic chemistry text, where I felt like I was wadding thr ough concrete backwards trying to comprehend what they were saying. And if you don't have a very abstract focus mind and you are a narrative reader that can be just murderous. And for a lot of these kids I think that is part of the problem. If you have an average reader and they get into reading the scientific text that it's like wading through mud and they get very very emotionally and readingly exhausted and they stop and they don' t wanna go any further (PD2-09/1641) Two themes emerged in the dat a to explain the teachers perceptions of students and reading science. The first theme cent ered on what skills the science teachers believed that students were lacking in order to be successful readers in science. The second theme encompassed external fact ors that teachers believed influenced students reading and understanding of scientific texts. In the personal statements, every sci ence teacher cited lack of vocabulary knowledge as a major deterrent to kids not reading science. The science teachers expressed that students needed a strong understanding of vocabulary in order to access scientific texts and m any students did not possess t he knowledge of how to break words down in science to improve understanding. Casey explained that vocabulary knowledge was crit ical to understanding anatomy. During a professional development meeting, she explained that: Kids get turned off in science when they do not know the vocabulary. And there is so much new vocabulary it is cha llenging to learn it all. But, if you do not know it, it is impossible to develop an understanding of certain topics. Like, in anatomy, there is a lot of very technical vocabulary to remember. And it is important. (PD-2-09/16)
135 Brad also noted that vocabulary knowl edge was important to learning about new topics in science. He stated, the vocabulary in sci ence is usually new and does not always repeat from previous years so l earning new vocabulary is always an issue in reading science at this level (PD2-09/16). The science teachers agreed that vocabulary was their primary concern when considerin g issues around reading in science and that many students lacked the necessary vocabul ary skills to be able to read science. Another skill that the science teachers believed that students needed was to be able to extract main ideas and identify important information. The science teachers concurred that students often read quickly through assignments and could not identify the important information from the text after reading. For example, Mona said, They [students] just read for a very superfic ial understanding, these are the signs of inflammation instead of really trying to discern, what does this mean? (PD1-09/02). The teachers agreed that students generally struggled when asked to read to make connections between ideas or find themes. Patsy commented that, You know, they don't have that comprehension to take it and sp it it back out in anything other than rote memory in the sense of, I know that definition. I can tell yo u what it means. But now to use it where I need it, won't happen (PD1 -09-02). Billie added, You know, they can spit back the information to you. Like, alri ght, I memorized that. But they have no idea how it's relevant to re al world (PD1-09/02). Bette gave an example of her students stru ggle to find important information in science texts. She explained how she tried to use the reading strategy of a graphic organizer to help her students take notes on a section of the textbook she assigned for
136 them to read. She antici pated that the organizer would help her students locate important information. However, she did not get the results she wanted. I thought, Oh great, they're just going to flow through this Yeah, right. I don't get it. They didn't know what important information was and how it was connected to the other inform ation, although we had gone over it. (PD1-09/02-14) The science teachers expresse d that students overall co mprehension of scientific texts needed improvement. The teachers noticed that student s struggled with reading science texts and understanding scient ific information. For exam ple, Patsy stated, Our students struggle in general with interpreting science c oncepts (PD1-09-2). When probed further for what skills students neede d to comprehend scientific texts, the teachers listed being able to evaluate diagrams, compare science themes, analyze trends in data, and interpret the science into their own words as all being important. Bette explained: I talked to my kids today. A mark of intelligence is that someone can take something they've seen, they've heard, they've read, interpret it, figure out what it means, put it in common l anguage, be able to explain that to somebody else. Or break it down, give an example. And I talked about that today with my kids. So we looked at a quote. And I'm like, okay, what does this quote mean in your own words or gi ve me an example. Something. I got a few responses but like the whole idea of reading for content, some of mine can't get the main idea from the fl uff. And that's something I've tried since day one already with my kids. I'm like, let's read this paragraph. Once we do read alouds, stop, what was that about? Give me the main points. And some of them get it, but some of them ; I can still see they are just like, I don't know. (PD-09-02) Lisa said that as a secondary teacher s he expects that her students are ready to read independently. She comment ed during an interview that: When we get them [students] at this age, there is an expectation of us, being secondary teachers that these children know how to read. They know how to read anything. They k now how to read well. We have to teach a few vocabulary words and we're o ff and running. But this is not the case. (MT-VL-7)
137 Data revealed that teachers believ ed that technology negatively influenced students reading performance in science. The science teachers blamed the surge in technology, claiming that the students are more interested in quick, immediate information rather than having to sit and read challenging material Brad commented, I mean we just need a complete power outage of the school where no electronic devices can go on to get them to read. Because everything is video and audio. They're either listening to iPod or text messaging on the phone, which they're reading, which has no significant value whatsoever. People don't sit down and read (PD1-09/2-2). Lisa added, I think that sometimes the kids want to be over stimulated because that's what they're so used to. Their video gam es just have all this stuff going on. Unless you get out there and you have the magic show going on and three other things going. They're just li ke zoned out. So to sit and read a book for some of them is just over the top because if you dont have the radio on, the TV on, and your book open, it wouldn' t work real well for some of them. (PD1-09/2-2) Teachers felt they were competing with the technology that was such a big part of their students lives. Casey said she strugg led to convince her kids to read their textbook. She explained: We have kids today that are readers but they're getting more of it on the online, and the shorter, quicker things. And that's not going away. So how are we going to be able to utilize that or change what we have? I mean, 'cause I'd like to say, boy this is really a great anatomy book and you just really need to read this. But that's not how it works. (PD1-09/2-3) Patsy described her students partici pation in reading assignments as uninvolved. She explained further: They read it because I said read it. Not for any other reason but Ms. B assigned to read these four pages. By golly, I will read them so I can say I've read them. And they don't sit there and say, okay, well this is my goal I have to read this They really just pick it up and read it 'cause you said to
138 read it and not they're just reading the words but notabsorbing it. (PD109/2-5) Lisa further confirmed that her students do not want to read the science textbook in a professional development meeting she commented, They [students] get to high school and they don't want to read, in general 'Cause you have those kids, during your reading time going, This is really dumb. They don't want to read. They don't have that interest to read anything (PD1-09/2-6). Data also showed that teachers cited inte rest as a problem in motivating students to read science texts. Brad explained that th e reason kids do not read science is due to interest. It's a motivating factor. If I don't have a reason to read this, I am not reading it. 'Cause they're not interested in what's there. Most of them. Some of them are because you're on a cool topic when you get to physics or something. They don't care about density and volume right now. They learned that in sixth grade. They're not going to sit there and read about it again. (PD1-09/2-9) Bette responded to Brad claiming that kids were interested in science topics but just did not want to read about it. She explained: I think a lot of these kids get in here and they have an interest in a lot of the topics. But, they don't want to deal with reading. The heavy duty, plowing through the techno-reading 'cause they fi nd it dry or the fancy terminology. They want to break it down in familia r terms for them. And they want the reading to be equally simplistic. (PD1-09/2-10) The science teachers discussed Bettes poi nt and agreed that they could build interest in a topic, but not necessarily in reading about that topi c. The science teachers agreed that getting students to participate in reading about science was a challenge. Patsy indicated that her students readily told her they do not read their textbooks. When she asked her students about reading their science textbooks, she was shocked.
139 I asked my students over the last y ears, how many actually open their textbooks and read. And I was appalled, maybe a quarter. Most of them say, I don't have to crack the book. I c an listen to the teacher, take notes, and I'm good. And it's like; you are not reading your book now. Well, I dont need to. You give me the information in class. And I thought, well, then theyve got a point. (PD1-09/2-9) Data showed that the science teachers believed that the student s did not have the necessary skills in order to read science effect ively. Teachers identified the skills that students needed in order to read science well: (a) knowledge of vocabulary, (b) the ability to locate main ideas and important information, and (c) overall comprehension skills. Data further indicated the science teachers blamed the influences of technology and student interest on students low performance in reading science. Instructional Practices Data indic ated that teachers were using reading strategies in their science teaching. Reading strategies identified by teachers included graphic organizers, note taking, guided worksheets, and vocabulary stra tegies. The science teachers also used reading aloud as a strategy to read textbook excerpts. The majority of the strategies the science teachers used dealt with vocabulary. For example, Casey, Patsy, and Billie all used logographs consistently in their classrooms. A logograph requires the student to choose a vocabulary word and provide a definition and an illustration. Patsy said she also assigned vocabulary words at the beginning of a chapter and asked students to define the words. Brad and Bette taught students how to break down vocabulary words into meaningful units. During a professional development meeting, Brad shared how he helped students to understand how to break down words in science: I said, guys you probably don't know what this word means, but I bet you can figure it out. I said, because you k now the prefix bio. You know the
140 root word, mass. Let's take it apart. And they figured it out. Really? It really means that? I'm like, yes. See, you can do this. (PD2-09/16) The science teachers also discussed how they used textbooks in their classroom. They agreed that the te xtbooks were written at a higher r eading level than most of their students are capable of reading. Mona stated, I think a lo t of our textbooks are too hard fro them to read to be honest (PD1-09/2-24). Casey co mmented, I am selective in the parts of the te xt that I expect them to read for compr ehension since they are so hard (MT-MC-7). Casey oft en rewrote reading passages from the textbook to make them more comprehen sible for students. Lisa also felt the textbook was too challenging for her students to read. She explained: I have them read but they struggle with doing this. But I try to have them read their textbook and then like construct from the reading, you know, like microscopic _____ _____. And I try to do various acti vities like this. And they really struggle with it. I think the text is writt en at too high a level. So they really struggle with it, and I end up helping them more than I intend to because my intent is to have them read it and then build it so that I can see that they comprehend it. (PD1-09/2-23) When asked about the amount of time the te achers asked kids to read in class, there was a momentary pause. The following script shows the teachers responses: Bette: Are you talking reading text or reading the ov erhead projector that's flipping through the screen? Facilitator: Reading a text. Brad: Reading my notes? (Laughter) Casey: Whole paragraphs, actual textBette: In the actual classroom? Facilitator: In your actual classroom. Billie: I'd say five to 10 minutes probabl y per class. 'Cause when we do read alouds, I'm trying to th ink about I usually got, by the time I do all the
141 beginning stuff, after stuff and everything in between, maybe 20 minutes of actual lecture/let's read this materi al aloud and then we discuss it. Well, _____ together and discuss it or a couple of paragr aphs and discuss. So they are actually reading. But I would say, maybe, five to 10 minutes. Facilitator: So most of the independent readi ng is assigned versus doing it in class? Bette: Yeah, I can honestly say I don't recall ever saying, everyone well, I'll say take a moment to skim thr ough this page right here. Now lets discuss. I've done that. Bu t I've never taken time to say; alright we've got fiveBrad: Take 20 minutes and read. Patsy: Take 20 minutes to read your textbook? Brad: I'm saying, taking 20 minutes to read your textbooks crawl off the walls and get crazy because they wont. Patsy: Unless you have something there that has questions and they're looking for information. Billie: Right. Brad: A worksheet. Casey: That's actually a good strategy. Brad: It's being graded, of c ourse. It's gotta be graded. Bette : Is this for a grade? Brad: Because, again, it's a motivating factor. If I don't have a reason to read this, I am not reading it. 'Cause t hey're not interested in what's there. Most of them. Some of them are because you're on a cool topic when you get to physics or something. T hey don't care about density and volume right now. They learned that in sixth grade. They're not going to sit there and read it. So having a worksheet might be a way to help them read but if I have them 20 minutes my kids up the walls. (PD1-09/2-23) In this same conversation, all seven teachers said that the primary source of reading in their classrooms was the textbook and that was mostly assigned as reading for homework or when students completed a test. Five teachers used the FCAT workbooks as an alternative reading source. All teachers had a classroom library as
142 required by the school, but the shelves were fill ed with a variety of boo ks, not specific to science. Overall, the science teachers believed t hat reading in science was important and all had tried various instructional strategi es including vocabul ary, note-taking, and general comprehension activities. However, the science teachers were still filled with questions and curiosity about how to improve their instruction in reading science. On their personal statements, teachers listed t hat they wanted ideas to help students to access difficult texts. The science teachers also were interested in more vocabulary strategies to help students with the technica l reading in science. Every teacher listed wanting help in improving overall comprehension. Bette explained, I would like some specific strategies to use to help my student s see the big picture because that seems to be where they're weak. They can pick out all these details but they just don't get the big picture (PD1-09/2-21). Casey stated: Most of us enjoy reading and have always enjoyed readi ng, whether the subject matters change, you've always been a reader. And today's kids are getting more of it on the online. so what are some strategies or ways we can make it more applicable to today's kids? (PD1-09/2-21) Mona wanted to gain a better understanding of strategies she had learned in previous workshops. She wrote, I woul d like some new reasons for reading aloud for comprehension rather than fl uency (PS-BM-6). Billie responded, I need to understand how to make the difficult science text more accessible to the students. How can I help kids comprehend difficult material? (PS-JTB6). The science teachers wanted to know how to improve their instruction in order to help their students. In summary, the science teachers were us ing generalized reading strategies in their classrooms like graphic organizers, not e taking, and guided worksheets to address
143 reading in science. The science teachers were also using vocabulary strategies like logographs and breaking down words into Latin roots. However, the science teachers had limited success with these stra tegies and were interested in more instructional practices that would assist them in t eaching their students how to read science successfully. Conclusion This chapt er captured the science teachers prior conceptions about reading in science. Teachers discussions were center ed on their perception of the role of the teacher, the student, and the text in addressi ng issues of reading scientific texts in secondary settings. The final section of th is chapter illuminated the science teachers pending questions about teaching reading in science. The fo llowing chapter will report the results of what the t eachers learned about the specialized language of science through their participation in a professional development effort.
144 CHAPTER 6 SCIENCE TEACHERS NEW UNDERSTA NDING AB OUT SCIENCE LANGUAGE The findings reported in this chapter capture the teachers perceptions, understandings, and knowledge as they studi ed the language demands of secondary science texts and put into practice what they learned about new ways of teaching reading in science. Chapter 5 described t he science teachers prior conceptions about science and reading. This chapter will descr ibe what they learned about science language and the factors that influenced their new understandings about science language. The results presented in this chapter were generated from the final two research questions: What understanding about the distinctive language features of science do the science teachers construct through professional development? How do they integrate what they hav e learned about these specialized language features of science into their teaching practices? It is important to look at these questions together because the teachers understanding was evidenced in and influenced by their attempts to put the ideas into practice. The process was iterative because the ideas were presented in the professional development se ssions; the teachers put the i deas into practice, and then returned to the professiona l development sessions to discuss their understanding. The following data sources were used to gather information: (a) transcripts from the professional devel opment modules, (b) interviews with the participants, (c) classroom observations of the participants, (d) participants written email communications and (e) informal conversati ons between the participants and the researcher.
145 This chapter is organized around three findings: (a) The teac hers were excited about learning disciplinary reading practices, (b) Teachers recognized the comprehension challenges thes e specialized features pr esent to students and (c), Teachers developed emergent awareness of the specialized features of scientific language (e.g., technicality, abstraction, density) and the various genres of science writing. Teachers Excitement for Learni ng Disciplinar y Reading Practices The science teachers found valu e in learning about reading strategies that were specific to science. Chapter 5 established that prior to this experience, the science teachers perspectives on language in science we re primarily focused on the difficulty of the vocabulary. The science teachers were unfamiliar with thinking about issues of abstraction, density, and genre in their consideration of how to teach reading in science. And further, they had not previously cons idered how the featur es of science language contributed to the development of ideas and theories in science. From their experience in this professional development effort, how ever, evidence showed that teachers were excited about learning about di sciplinary reading practices and were beginning to think differently about language in science. For example, in her final interview, Pa tsy addressed that looking at how language functioned in science was a new perspective to her. Although she knew that science language was filled with technical words, s he had not considered how the technicality contributed to the comple xity of science language and further, had never learned about the concepts of abstraction, density, or genres in science language. She explained: Initially, I already knew that it was highly technical. The part I was not aware about was to unlock a deeper level of understanding with the students to focus on how the language wa s used in science text. But I
146 definitely see the approach to the science reading is so important, that its the language. Why did the author choos e to use this genre? Why did the author choose to use these words? What is he actually trying to say? (FIPB-1) But I think what I've learned the most from our seminar here is looking at the actual language itself; how it is used. How silly but to get them to think the language. That approach has nev er been brought to attention in any workshop that I've ev er been to. (MT-PB-5) Lisa also confirmed that that looking at the language of science and it features was new to her. She addressed that typically wh en looking at reading in science, the focus had been on issues like cause and effect or main idea versus the language issues we were discussing in the professional development. I think in looking at teaching science from a language point of view is utterly, utterly brilliant because we go in there and we teach it like it's science, cause and effect, main idea, ye tso much of science is learning the lingo so we have to be like a foreign language I would love to see science teachers trained to view what they teach as a foreign language because it is. (MT-VL-3) This idea of looking at science through a language lens was new to the science teachers. Patsy contrasted her prior kno wledge about science teaching with her new awareness about the language features. We always are taught hands on, hands on they've drummed it into us. And as scientists and science studiers of th e process, we jump right on that. But there is more involved and I never stopped to think about it's not just the labs, it's not just the hands on, its' the language approach too. (FI-PB-12) Bettes ideas further supported this finding that the science teachers were reconsidering their thinking about r eading in science. She explained how her own views of reading science had shifted and she was now thinking about how certain aspects of science l anguage contributed to its level of difficulty to comprehend. The way Id say science language is different is that, first of all, its very technical. We know that with the ex tensive vocabulary t hat is found in science. Its like a whole other language in itself. Its just very complex. The sentences are usually much longer. They use complex nouns, as youve explained before to us, now I r ealize that. Therefore, I think people
147 just find it more difficult because its not narrative. Its expository writing, a lot of explanation, a lot of details that you dont find in normal, everyday language. (FI-JB-1) The science teachers recognized that looking at science text through a language lens was offering them new insight into how to teach reading in science. Teachers often expressed that now felt they had a new set of tools to teach science. For example, Lisa stated in an interview: And this gave us a whole box full of t ools that are eminently useable. We know how to do them. You took us under the hood of the car and showed us this one will loosen this nut and bolt it's like oh, light goes on. I feel much more and I really love this word empowered. I really feel more empowered to help the students deal wi th all these aspects. (FI-VL-4) Bette also was excited about the new strate gies she had learned in the professional development modules to address reading science in her classroom. She stated: And as a teacher you are aware that t hey dont all love science. And some of them, theyll say, M s. Bette, its nothing personal. I just dont like science. And so that, to me it is a goal that I try to change that for them. And I think giving them the understandi ng, the tools, the some of the strategies that Ive learned will help with that. (FI-PB-2) The science teachers embraced learning ab out the role of language in reading science. Thinking about language was new to the teachers and they were excited to learn how language functioned to create meaning in science. They felt they had a new set of tools to teach their students how to successful ly read scientific texts. New Understanding about the Ch allenges of Science Reading The scienc e teachers also grew in thei r understanding about how the complexity of science language contributed to the challe nges their students might have in reading scientific texts. Evidence from interviews and meetings confi rmed that the science teachers views of why students str uggled to read science changed. Chapter 5 established that the science teachers shared a common belief that reading science was
148 difficult for students. Prio r to this study, the science teachers addressed issues of student behavior, technology, student intere st, and poor preparation from early grades as reasons that students would not or coul d not read science well. However, after participation in this professional dev elopment study, the science teachers understanding changed about why science is difficult for stude nts to read. For example, in his final intervie w, Brad shared that he now saw how understanding the language of science co uld impact the way students read and learn from scientific texts. I now think it's very im portant that they understand the language, and if they understand the language they can understand the material (FI-MB-4). Casey explained that her new un derstanding about science language impacted how she viewed her own respons ibilities to teaching reading in science. For Casey, her familiarity wit h reading science had inhibited her thoughts about why students might str uggle with reading science. She admitted she thought students were lazy or just not interested. In the following excerpt from her final inte rview, Casey described how she has adjusted her thinking about reading in science. I had become so accustomed to reading sci ence material that I didnt really realize that the students would have di fficulty with it and why. Now, Im more aware. In the pas t, I just became frustrated that they dont read their books, or I would be frustrated with the writers of the books because like, why cant they make a book that the students can read and understand? Whereas, now, I understand that what we have going on here is the fact that the students are more fa miliar with narrative and ot her types of writing. Theyre going to have to eventually be able to read science text, so were in that kind of transition where we have to get them to do something that they dont feel comfortable with. I have this awareness now that, okay, its not just that the students dont want to read, its not t hat they cant write a text that the students can read. Now, I do see my role more clearly as having to give them some strategies that c an help them to be able to get more comfortable with science reading since theyre going to need to be able to do it in the future. (FI-MC-7-8) The science teachers now realized that unf amiliarity with the features of science language could contribute to why their students did not read scientific texts well. One of the issues the science teachers addressed when talking about student learning was how the differences between science language and everyday language could contribute
149 to students difficulties in reading science. Bette explained how she now realized that students struggles with reading could be due largely to the complex nature of the language of science. When we first started talking about language I dont think I recognized why they [students] had difficulty reading science. I dont know if that makes sense? Like I knew they struggled wit h it, I knew that it was hard and I knew it wasnt something they were used to reading but I never broke it down to the level that we talked about in the sense like the reason they dont understand it is because they take common words theyre familiar with and make them so much more complicat ed and use them in new ways. So it was kind of like a learning process fo r me and then ooh, pass that along cause now I kind of understand, Oh, we ll thats why its hard. (FI-JB-9) Brad also showed growth in his understanding that science language was unfamiliar to students because it differed fr om how students talk in their daily interactions. In his explanation of wh y students struggle with reading science he articulated, Its [science language] not the everyday language that we speak in todays society (MI-MB-6). Billie further confirmed that she now understood that the complexity of science language provided challe nges to her students. Science language is more complex. The kids enjoy reading stories but science is not written in stor y form, its not written in our everyday dialogue. They [scientists] take vo cabulary that the kids know and use it in a way that students say, I dont know what that word means or they assume they dont because the textbook authors tweaked it a little bit or used it in a new way. (MT-JTB-8) The science teachers now recognized t hat not only did science language differ from the way students talked, but it differed from a majority of the texts that students typically read in school. The science teachers examined how the components of narrative text were more familiar to student s than the expository te xts of science. When comparing the features of for example, a Harry Potter text, the science teachers listed
150 story structure, main characters, and a theme that related to students lives as features of narrative writing that made it more comfor table for many of thei r students (PD2-9/1422). In another example, Bette explained her understanding of why science reading is more challenging to students during her mid-term interview: I think people just find it more difficult because its not simple, its not narrative. Its exposit ory writing, a lot of explanation, a lot of details that you dont fi nd in normal, typical texts that people read (MI-JB-9). When Casey explained why st udents struggled with science reading, she also acknowledged how the students familiari ty with narrative structure impacted their transition into reading science. She said, Students are predominantly exposed to narrative genres prior to reading science. W hen they get to science it is a whole new way of reading that they are not used to so they tend to not want to do it. Billie shared, The kids struggle because of the differences between what theyre used to reading in the younger grades, per se, and what they have to read now [in science]it is so much more complicated and dense (MT-JTB-1). The science teachers showed an increased understanding of how the unfamiliarity of science language could contribute to the challenges student s have in reading scientific texts. They addr essed how the science language differed from the everyday language of students and how students were more fa miliar with the feat ures of narrative reading versus science reading. The scienc e teachers increased awareness of the complexity of science language changed thei r perception of why students might be disinterested or challenged by science texts.
151 Understanding about the Features of Science Language When asked about reading in science, t he science teachers responses during meetings and interviews showed evidence that they were developing their understanding about the complexity of scienc e language. The teachers were able to identify and discuss the feat ures of science language pres ented in the professional development modules. For example, during an interview, Casey summarized her new understanding of science language as follows: Science language is different because of the technicality, which basically has to do with the words that are eit her unique to science or they may be words that the students are fa miliar with in their every day life, but they have a different meaning in scienc e. Another difference is density, which is the amount of information that the student s are given in one sentence. Then another one is abstractness, which has to do with a word referring to a whole process or a concept. (FI-MC-4) Lisa further explained her new underst anding of science language during a final interview. Technical, abstract, dense, a whole different vocabulary, terminology, meanings, words in English that hav e one definition that students may be used to have completely different definition in the science terminology. When students have got to jump into reading science they're reading a foreign language. You have to be a foreign language teacher. You have to get them [students] past t he fact that it is not only a foreign language but that the books are written in expository not narrative. The language itself is technical. It's dense. It's abstract. So there's no point of reference for them. (FI-VL-1) Although the teachers sense of the complexity of science language was emerging, there was variance in their understanding within each feature. The next section will detail the science teachers progress in lear ning about the features of science language. This section will address more specifically how the teachers understanding of each feature of science language technicalit y, abstractness, density, and genres developed through the course of the professional dev elopment program.
152 The next section will cover how the scienc e teachers used their new knowledge to integrate strategies into their teaching practice. Technicality Science language is technical because it uses two types of words that are specialized to science. The first set is word s that are created specifically to name key concepts in science (e.g., lithosphere, plat e tectonics). Technical words such as osmosis that describe key ideas or deciduous that name a type of tree are found only in science related reading and must be understood in order to comprehend impor tant science concepts. The second set of word s is common words that are used in specialized ways in science (e.g., medium, libra ry). Technical words like fault can mean a flaw in everyday language but in earth scienc e it means a crack in the earths surface. The science teachers rated t heir understanding of technicality as an average of 4.8 on a scale from 1-5 with 1 meaning the lowest level of understanding. The science teachers were familiar with the technical nat ure of science language and moved easily into understanding how technical words contributed to the complexity of science language. Chapter 5 established that the science teachers identified the vocabulary in science texts as the primar y reason that science reading was challenging to comprehend. The teachers were already using a variety of strategies in their classrooms that addressed vocabulary. For example, Patsy stated, Morphemic analysis. I had already done the in the past. So that I was comfortable with it. It was like, oh good, I'm doing something right here (MT-PB-5). Because they were familiar with having to teach vocabulary to their st udents, the science teachers expressed
153 feeling comfortable with l earning about technicality in science language. Casey explained why she rated her under standing high on technicality: I had the most background knowledge t here [technicality] to begin with and then, of course, built upon that. I feel very comfortable with the analyzing the word parts.Thats something that I had actually done before. Not in such a systematic way as we learned how to do, but I feel very comfortable with that. (FI-MC-1) Bette also indicated she rated her underst anding high because the information she learned about technicality was closely relate d to ideas she had tried in her classroom. Technicality I was real comfortable with. Its I gave it a five. I do a lot of that stuff already. I break the words dow n. Its just the na ture of teaching, in a sense. You I do, I dont know if all the other teachers do it, but when I with science, I always teach them you k now the word. Like, you know this word and this word, now put it all together, and it means what those words mean separately, but, you know, joined or whatever. And some of that so that came easy to me, cause it wa s something I was already doing and I tweaked it a little or adjusted a little, but that and underst anding all of that was easy, cause I already did some of it and pieces of it and just kind of expanded a little to add some of the things that you had talked about. (FIJB-1) After participation in the professional development modules, ev idence showed that the science teachers were able to explain how technicality contributed to making reading science challenging. O ne of the issues with tec hnicality addressed in the professional development modules was how the technical words in science can be separated into two tiersthose that are specialized to science and those words that are common but used differently in science. The fi rst category, scientific words, involves all words that are specifically used in science such as bioma ss and vestigial organs. In their final interviews, all the science teachers were able to explain that science language was technical because there are so many word s that are particular to science. They noted extensively that many words in scien ce are vastly differ ent from the words students use in their daily lives. Casey ex plained, The vocabulary is unique to science
154 in some respect. A lot of these terms are not terms that students would have been exposed to just in their daily lives necessarily (MT-MC-10). In a mid-term interview, Brad ex plained his understanding of how science language is technical, Science language, a lot of the words are based in Latin, all of the roots and suffixes. So its pretty technica l and its not the ever yday language that we speak (FI-MB-1). Patsy explained her under standing of technicality, Some of the aspects of technicality are there are a lot of vocabulary words for different things; for different processes; for different namings; for different describing words. Like a deciduous tree. How is that different from an evergreen tree? (FI-PB-1). Patsy continued explaining that technical wo rds like evergreen and deciduous are uncommon in every day life and so as a teacher, she realized she had to directly teach students the meanings of these types of science words. Bette further stated that she told her students, Science words are more technica l, which means theyre not the common words. Theyre just more complex (PD3 -10/22-25). The science teachers explanations demonstrated their understanding of how science language uses words that are specialized for science. Although the science teachers were fam iliar with the way that science language used words that were specialized for scienc e, the concept of common words being used in new ways in science was new to the sci ence teachers. Prior to this professional development experience, the science teacher s had not considered how common words used differently in science could pose problem s to students comprehension of scientific texts. The science teachers expressed surprise in thinking about technicality from this perspective. For example, Brad stated, I never thought about t he other the other
155 layer, which is that familiar words are used in a different context (PD29/16-25). The idea of common words taking on new meaning in science was also new to Bette. She explained how it had not occurred to her that students might be confused by this type of technical word. She stated: What I didnt know was the whole as pect of using familiar words in a different context. Like s ponge. I knew a sponge, yes, its a cleaning tool, but it is also an animal. And even when you show them, Heres a sponge. They go, Oh, thats nice.Students dont know what it is. They never thought it could be an animal. That c ant be an animal. It doesnt move. Its not like a dog or a cat. So that ki nd of aspect of tec hnicality, I thought, was different. You know, I didnt even consider fault because I taught earth space. I know what a fault is. But y ou ask a student to define fault for you, and theyll say, Well, its, you know a different contex t. Its something thats wrong. And they dont even think they dont even remotely think go to crack in the earth becaus e of an earthquake. (FI-PB-5) During the professional dev elopment module where technicality in science language was covered, teachers were aske d to look through their textbooks for examples of technicality with common word s. Patsy and Bette found the following example from a biology book. Sperm are mobile cells that can propel themselves by lashing movements of their tails. Bette explained why she thought this was a good example. Tails especially tails can get them of f to start thinking about animals, like they're thinking about a different kind of tail or a hors e. And because tail is a homonym and you know maybe they r ead the word and they think of Tale of Two Cities You know that could be an in ference just in terms of the word could bring up different meani ngs and connotations with them. (PD29/16-51) The science teachers were beginning to see how the issue of technicality involved not only technical words that were specific to science like photosynthesis but also common words that were used in speciali zed ways in science. Brad stated during a professional development se ssion, I hadn't really thought that, but the presence of
156 those kinds of words that can have double meani ngs. In your example of like you know What's the matter, talking about matter, ca n make the language more challenging for students (PD2-9/16-52) Although the idea of common words taking on specialized meaning in science was new to this group of science teachers, t he science teachers demonstrated growth in understanding when asked to explain ho w science language was technical. For example, Patsy explained her understanding of technicality during her final interview: Technicality is words that are unique to science. But I never thought about the other the other laye r, which is that familiar words being used in a different context. With technicality I knew how tech nical the terms can be. Its a whole new vocabulary that theyre having to learn in science. So that level, I was okay with. So to rate the understanding level, I would say my understanding there was 5. What I didnt know, and the part I would say maybe a 4.5 was the whole aspect of using familiar words in a different context. (FI-PB-5-6) Bette also addressed both levels of technica lity in her midterm interview. She was able to explain how the technicality of sci ence language involved specialized words and common words. Concerning technical words, yes, thos e the everyday words that we use in science, and then we have the tec hnical terms, the science terms that are only found, pretty much, in scienc e alone like nucleus. Whereas, some other words that are everyday words but used at using different meanings in both everyday language, and then sci ence language would be like library like the library of DNA versus the library we go to pick up books. Another theme in the data was that teachers were able to explain how technicality contributed to problems in students ability to read science. In her mid-term interview, Mona explained her understanding of how technicality impacts students comprehension of science texts. The student is going to be familiar with the word but it has a different context and a different m eaning. So that can be mu ch more confusing for them because they're reading the word and it's not making sense in how it's
157 used. We use words in ways that or dinary people dont use them so the vocabulary is different; and its one of t he things that I try to emphasize with the kids (FI-BM-1) Casey also connected her understanding of te chnicality to student learning. She indicated that her new under standing of technicality changed how she thought about why her students may have difficult ies reading science information. The information we read and discussed about technicality has increased my awareness of how and why students may struggle with the vocabulary and writing style of science resources. Having worked and studied in the science profession for years, I have bec ome so familiar with these aspects of science that I had lost my perspective of how foreign it is to our students. I now realize that I need to refocus with less emphasis being placed on covering the curriculum and more emphasis being placed on comprehension of important conc epts and helping my students to read science so that they will become life long learners of science. (EC-MC10/10) The science teachers demonstrated a c hange in their understanding of how science language was technical. However, when discussing science language, the teachers did not address why science language needs to be technical in order to communicate scientific information. Data rev ealed that teachers were mostly concerned with how it was technical and how the technicali ty was a factor in students difficulty in reading science. Abstraction Science language is abstract because t he nouns of science are words that represent abstract concepts like signi fic ance and discovery. An abstract noun incorporates the processes or qualities of the words from which they are derived. In science language, the abstract nouns func tion to help the scientist repackage information to build theories and arguments.
158 On a scale from 1-5 with 1 being the lo west level of understanding, the science teachers had an average self reported rating of 3.8 for how well they understood the concept of abstraction. Abstraction in science language was unfamiliar to the science teachers and proved to be a challenge for the teachers to grasp the related ideas and implement the strategies into their teaching practice. Two themes emerged in the data to explain what infl uenced science teachers understanding of abstraction in science language: (a) misconc eptions and (b) attention to process. First, teachers had to over come previous notions of how the word abstraction fit into their knowledge of teac hing science. Second, the teachers focused their learning on understanding the process of making words abstract instead of how that process influenced the development of scientific ideas and the complexity of science language. The first category, misconceptions, explains how the science teachers had to overcome their own preconceived notions about abstraction in order to better understand abstraction as it pertains to scienc e language. When first presented with the idea of abstraction in science language during the professional development sessions, the teachers were confused about the difference between an abstract concept like Bernoullis Principle and an abstraction as it is used in science language. They associated their new understanding of abstr action in science language with their previous concept of an abstract idea in science. For example, Mona did not understand how abstraction applied to teaching physical science. Her misconception that t he word meant abstract ideas inhibited her ability to understand why science language was abstract.
159 The abstractness, I can skip in my class because everything we say you can put a hand on or draw or take a pictur e of. They're all pretty physical. I mean even the periodic table. It's in every room in our science department. The periodic table is a thing. It's not just an idea. It's a thing. It's right there. The abstractness isn't that much of a problem in my classes because I'm with the freshman in physical science (MT-BM-4). In another case, Casey talked about underst anding abstraction in the midterm interview. She explained how she associated abstraction with scientific concepts that could not be easily seen or touched like ce lls or DNA. She had to change her perception of the word abstraction to incl ude thinking about how science language could be abstract. I started out with a misc onception that abstractne ss had to do with the fact that many of the concept s in science are not someth ing that the student can see or touch. That was my idea of abstractness. I had thought about science as dealing with abstraction but just more in that a lot of it is not concrete, visible, they can touch it because we might be talking about something microscopic, you know, so mething that we only have theories about how it works. We dont even r eally know because nobody can see it, touch it, feel it kind of thing. So that was my idea of abstraction in science prior to this. I had just never thought that a word could be abstract because it has so much information in it. (MT-MC-11) Patsy expressed a similar challenge in l earning about abstraction. She also had to begin thinking about abstraction in terms of science language, not just only terms of what can be seen or unseen. She said, I th ought, Well, its abstract because its not concrete. That I had, of course But that was not what it is It is the language. So that was my misunderstanding of the whole abstraction (FI-PB-5). The three teachers description of thei r understanding is evidence that the science teachers struggled to make sense of abstr action in science language. The teachers defined abstraction in terms of concepts and ideas in science that were intangible. Good examples of this are cells and mitosis Prior to their experienc e in the professional
160 development modules, the science teachers had not thought about the possibility of science language being abstract. The next category, attention to process captures how the science teachers focused their learning on knowing how to change words from verbs or adjectives into abstract nouns. Abstract nouns become abstrac t through the process of nominalization. A scientist takes a word from its verb form like discovered and turns it into a noun by saying discovery In another example, the sci entist will take an adjective like significant and turn it into a noun by using significance Abstracting away from the action allows the scientists to develop theories. Although understanding the process of nominalization is critical to understanding abstraction, it is also necessary to underst and that the new word embodies all of the process and qualities of the word from which it was derived. It also summarizes large chunks of texts that occur prio r to the introduction of the word in a scientific text. Data showed that when teachers explained their understanding of abstraction, they did not include an explanation of how the new abstract noun functioned in science language. Their attention was on the process of nom inalization, changing words from verbs and adjectives into abstract nouns. The following excerpt from a professiona l development session illustrates the teachers struggle with underst anding the concept of abstr action in science language. The science teachers read an article Beyo nd the Fab Five (2008) in which Fang explains why science language is abstract and how the process of abstraction happens. Billie attempted to summarize her understandi ng of abstraction from the reading. Her initial understanding focused on how the words change during the process of
161 abstraction. Also, she understands the author s explanation of why abstraction makes reading science challenging for students. Saying that a science text is abstract like the author said is talking about how they say that the technical voc abulary nouns are derived from what we would express normally in the concrete language and made fancier. So the students have a hard time connecting the ev ery day life to that word they know because it's not quite the same as it would be in real life. (PD512/09/08) After Billie shared her initial reaction to the reading, Brad responded. He explained what he read in the article about abstraction and related it to how his students were understanding words in the te xts they were reading in his class. When he communicated the classroom scenario, however, he focused not on the concept of abstraction, but on his students inability to under stand the word in its verb or noun form. And it happened actually on my test t oday which we're doing ecology. And you know we were doing food c hainsand there was a picture for the question. And I said, In the picture depicted above, Well, what's depicted? It's shown, you know. And the kids know the food chain. Nobody got it wrong out of a hundred of t hem. But some of the kids had a hard time because depicted is not a normal word that you hear in everyday life. Oh, look at that depiction on the TV. (PD5-12/09/08) From this statement, Brad demonstrated understanding of two concepts from the article. He is aware that the word s need to change because he has used the word depicted in its verb and noun forms. He also understood that stu dents struggle with science reading because the language is different from the everyday language that students use. As discussion continued, I directed teacher s to review the article about how the author explained abstraction. Bette responded wit h her interpretation of what Fang said about abstraction in science language. She explained: Another thing with this idea of abstraction in one of the examples he gives is they [scientists] take words like adjecti ves. You say, "That is that is a
162 significant," using significant as an adjective. Let's say, "That this storm made a significant impact on the community." They know it made a big impact. The significance of the sto rm was so what we've done you can say, it's more natural to say, "The storm made a significant impact on the community." That's report that's how you might hear reporting. But you might write about it. You want to be mo re assertive in your writing as a scientist because you want people to believe you and so a lot of scientists will take instead of saying, "That storm was that was a significant storm." They might then talk about, "The significance of the storm. Now you've taken that adjective you've switched it into a noun. Well in our narrative writing the nouns of our s entences, the who's and the what's are primarily peoples' names, places and you know I, he, she your pronouns. In science they're abstract the discovery the significance (PD5-10/09/08) This statement demonstrates how Bettes initial understanding of abstraction focused on changing the words from adjecti ves or verbs into nouns rather than understanding how that new word derived from the verb or adjective packed within much information. This allows the writer to further develop theor ies only having to use one word (i.e. significance, depiction, discove ry) to refer to an i dea described previously in several sentences. After the science teachers initial response to the concept of abstraction, it was clear that they were struggling to understand how abstraction played a role in science language. Their misconception of the term was interfering with their understanding of how abstraction was used in science language. In addition, they were basing their understanding on knowing how to make words abstract. During the follow-up professional developm ent modules, I modeled strategies to use in the classroom for science teachers were shown how the abstract nouns in science functioned to help scientists build theories and argument s. To learn about abstraction, the teachers practi ced using the abstraction strategies to analyze how the abstract nouns were used in science writing.
163 Sentence completion was the first stra tegy introduced to encourage their understanding of abstract nouns. The teacher locates a reading passage that contains an abstract noun to perform sentence completi on. That abstract noun is then removed from the sentence, and the teacher presents the passage to the students with a blank space for the missing word. Students should be able to use the text around the word to make an educated guess at the wo rd that the author used in the sentence. Then, the teacher should discuss how the new abstract noun packages the information prior to it in the sentence and allows the wr iter to continue to talk about the idea further by using just one word. The following excerpt from the professi onal development module illustrates the teachers experience learning about abstraction. The teachers were presented with the following sentence. During the winter humpback whales head nort h for cold waters of the Artic. ________________ is long and dangerous. [s ample key: the journey} Billie: Does it have to be one word? Facilitator: No. Brad: Migration. Bette: Migrations what I came up with. Billie: The journey. Facilitator: The journey? Billie: I said the trip initially, but then I had to go out of nint h grade into. Mona : Its. I thought its. Its. Facilitator: Somebody tell me your thinking how did you decide? What did you look at to some up with what this word was? Billie: Well, they said head north. So theyr e taking a trip or a journey or.
164 Patsy: Mm hmm. Lisa: Heading north or south is usually a migration. Patsy: Theyre moving. Lisa: In animals a movement prom pted by a change in weather. Facilitator: Okay. Tell me what this makes you do as a thinker? Thinking about language. Like let me see your mind going through. Why do you think it would be useful, not useful w hen youre doing this? This exercise I just asked you to do. Brad: Cause you actually thought in depth I actually pictured the whales going up the coast and like alright, what is that word? Yeah, theyre swimming, of course. That was the fi rst thing that came. And It popped through my head, too if I was four. T heyre migrating. And its just a process of elimination to get the most specific word t hat fits in there to make it clear. Billie: The key thing for me on this is I immediately think onto migration because of the head north. That just smacked me right upside the head that there was a very s pecific word dealing with w hat should go in the blank because heading north or heading south indicates by its very nature the word migration. In this scenario from the professional development module, the teachers were wrestling with how to find the appropriate wo rd to complete the sentence. In this example, the word journey is the appropriate word from t he text. In or der to determine that word, the teachers had to synthesize t he information prior to the abstract noun. They needed to think of a word that meant the humpback whales head north The new word journey then represented that notion of the whales moving. After completing this exerci se and four other examples Brad stated that he still found it challenging to pick out the words when he was looking at his own textbook. I look at the textbook and I just think they do not use a lot of abstractions, they make it simple so it is hard to find the real science like writing (PD5-12/09/08). Brad had
165 brought his biology text to class so we open ed the book to search for an example. We examined the following passage: Sometimes a population grows more r apidly than the avai lable resources can handle. Resources that are needed for life, such as food and water, become scarce or contaminated. T he amount of waste produced by a population becomes difficult to dispose of properly. These conditions can lead to stress on current re sources and contribute to the spread of diseases that affect the stabilit y of human populations both now and to come. (Biggs et al, p. 92) I directed the teachers to think about the words these conditions in the third sentence. The writer summarizes what was introduced in the first three sentences and then uses the words these conditions to condense the information. This allowed the writer to develop a line of reasoning about what these conditions will do to the human population. In the professional developm ent module, I continued to emphasize that abstraction was important in science language to allow the writer to synthesize information into a theoretical entity so the wr iter can build upon the idea and develop theories and arguments. The following example illustrates how I called attention to the purpose of abstraction in science language during the trai ning modules. Teachers were presented with the following excerpt: At the beginning of the century t he human genome project made another great leap forward by completing the enormous task of reading the letters that make up the instructions co ntained in our DNA. ______ marks the start of a process that one day will allow humans to understand completely how DNA makes us all human beings but also makes us unique individuals. [sample key: The discovery] Brad: This. That what you guys got, too? Bette: Well, actually I said this task. Facilitator: This task. Okay.
166 Billie: I said this accomplishment. Facilitator: This accomplishment? Lisa: I said mapping the genome. Facilitator: Okay. Casey: I went right to the human genome project marks the start of a process that one day Facilitator: The textbook says this discovery. So youre all in the right ballpark. But again, look at how many different ways there are to say this discovery. Discovery is an abstract term because discovery means all of this [points to previous part of readi ng page] The scientists, in order to build their chain of reasoning, told you this, and then turned it into this discovery. And now they are going to be talking about that. thats what I mean about abstraction. Its not just this thing that you cant see. A skeleton You know or a cell. It is a word that takes and pa cks a lot of information into it. This discovery can mean a lot of diffe rent things. You have to be able to understand that this word repres ents all of this. (PD5-12/9/08) These examples illustrate how the teacher s learned to think through the sentence completion exercises. In both examples, teachers used the language around the word to think about an appropriate word to fill in t he blank. I continued to emphasize that this sentence completion exercise was different from the traditional fill-in theblank exercises. I closed our session with the follo wing review of the purpose of sentence completion exercises. So again, you were forced to read this, reread this, what kind of word would go in there? Again, the focus is on language. So you see how this is an exercise in language? The purpose of the sentence completion is not to just spit out a vocabular y word. Thats a differ ent purpose. The purpose of these exercises is to get kids to think about the language. (PD5-12/09/08) Despite my continued emphasis on the linguistic approach to these lessons, teachers struggled to understand the concept of abstraction. As teachers examined the concept of abstraction in science language, discussion returned to e the process of making words abstract in science. Prev alent themes in teachers learning about
167 abstraction included focusing on the strat egy of how a word was changed instead of understanding why a scientist might need to use abstraction and how the technique of abstraction in science writing contributes to sc ientific writing. The teachers struggled with choosing appropriate words for the sent ence completion exercises and with leading the classroom discussion to focus on the linguistic aspects of the text. Data revealed that the science teachers understanding of abstraction varied. The idea of abstraction in science language was largely unfamiliar to this group of science teachers, and they struggled with their under standing of the concept. One trend in the teachers explanation was a focus on nomina lization. Both Patsy and Bette describe their understanding of abstraction by explaining the process of nominalization. In her final interview, Patsy stated: The fact that they [scientists] convert words, and they put them in a different way the nominalizationthey convert verbs, and processes, and adjectives into a noun. You know, the discovery, from discovered. This concept, this word is used, often used in science. It never dawned on me that those are abstractions. I just didn t totally recognize t hat at all. (FI-PB5) She continued to explain her struggle to make sense of the concept of abstraction. And that was the hardest, I think, for me to get a handle on was the fact that they [scientists] convert words, and they put them in a different the nominalization they convert verbs, and processes, and adjectives into a noun. And because Im familia r with science and have the good background, I just breezed right through all that and didnt think itd be a problem for anybody. (FI-PB-5) Bette also focused on the process of nomina lization in her final interview to explain her understanding of abstraction. I think its called nominaliz ation thats a word I had to learn where we take a verb and make a noun, and in scienc e, they do that all the time. Its very abstract. Not tangible, not so mething that my students can readily see, like significance The words concept, significance, idea ; all of these terms are so abstract. Theyre tryi ng to wrap the students mind around a
168 particular thing that was maybe discussed in the book, but they use an abstract word to describe a full idea. That was new to me. (FI-JB-6) Despite the science teachers struggle to understand abstraction, data showed that their participation in t he workshops did raise their awareness as to how the abstract nouns could impact students comprehension of sci entific texts. In her final interview, Casey said: Now, Im kind of more aware of the fa ct that theres a broader meaning to this term [abstraction], it has to do with the fact that we present a concept to them [the students], and then we refe r back to it in science reading and writing as one word. They have to have assimilated a whole concept, and now, associate it with t hat one word. (FI-MC-6) Bette explained how it was a surprise to her to think that students would struggle with words that were abstract. Well, that is something that was ki nd of new to me You know you dont realize that youve somewhere along the way youve learned that. Like I think one time in a meeting I just ment ioned like I just feel like Ive always known that you know. The idea that my English teacher which I think supports that English teachers teach ve rb tense noun, so like the idea that something is an adjective like significant. But we have the significance of something, so thats the noun form and for me that came very easily. I was in English, and I did well Out of there, so just the idea that kids would struggle with abstraction in that sense. That concept could be referring to some idea explained earlier in the pass age. It just to me as an adult teacher, I just didnt think that kids w ould have to struggle with that. (FI-JB7) Billie expressed that she was more aware of abstract words now when she prepared lessons and read science mate rials. She commented during an informal meeting that she was actually looking for abstract words in the textbook so she could call the students attention to the words while she was teaching. Actually, now that Im aware, especia lly with abstract words, I try to find them in the text and make sure that my students are aware of them as well. I have found myself saying, Oh, theres an abstract word and then talking about what that word means with my students. (IM-JTB-3)
169 Casey also sent a lengthy reflection on her understanding of abstraction in science language in an email communication. She ex plained that the abstract words in science might summarize a concept explained in greater length in a previous portion of science text. Casey also discussed how the use of abstracti on in science impacts student learning. Abstraction makes reading science content difficult because it increases the density of information. Students must be able to associate an entire concept with one word such as condition Consequently, a lot of new and often foreign information can be packed into a relatively short reading assignment. This alone would present a challenge for students, but coupled with the new technical vocabulary and concepts with which they may have no previous knowledge, students can be overwhelmed. (EC-MC11/05/08) Casey closed her email with a reflection on what the understandi ng of abstraction means to her teaching. She explained t hat the way she prepares her lessons and teaches her students changed as a result of her participation in the study. Casey still connects her new understanding of abstraction to her previous understanding of what she thought about when she considered how something in science was abstract. My initial thought about abstraction as it relates to my own teaching of science is that I have had an incomplete view of what abstraction in science reading encompasses. Previously, I had thought that we teach abstract information in science because the students can not see concrete examples of many of the concepts that we teach. For example, when I present the sliding filam ent theory of muscle contraction to my students, I know it is difficult for them to grasp because it involves microscopic structures which they must ment ally picture using diagrammatic representations from the text. Howeve r, I did not realize that the act of reading science content itself involved abstractions because it requires students to associate major concept s with one word. (EC-MC-11/05/08) Data clearly showed the science teacher s struggled with their understanding of abstraction in science language. Although Billie and Casey made progress in their understanding, two other t eachers demonstrated limited c hange in their understanding.
170 For example, Lisa, in particular, still fo cused on how ideas in science were abstract versus the language. In her final interview, Lisa discussed concepts being abstract and did not address the issue of science language. Some of the concepts like the ADP cycl e or genetics, while students get the idea the functioning of it, it is so abstra ct they can't eat i t, they can't date it, they're not gonna see it on TV, it's not physical, it's not tangible, it might not impact their lives. Therefore it is a c oncept, it is abstract, it is distant. (FIVL-8) Learning about abstraction was challengi ng for the science teachers. Prior knowledge of the word abstract in the cont ext of science interfered with the teachers understanding that abstraction in this contex t referred to science language. In addition, the science teachers focused their attention on the process of nominalization in their explanations of abstraction. While nominalization is an important piece of abstraction, the science teachers struggled to understand the purpose abstraction in writing about science. Density Science language is dense bec ause sentences contain long, complex nouns that include a high concentration of information. A simple noun ma y be expanded through the use of grammatical tools such as prepositional phrases and embedded clauses. This expansion increases the lexical density of a science text; in other words, this expansion makes the text more challenging to read. This process however, enables the scientist to be precise as well as concis e in developing argum ents or theories. The science teachers rated t heir understanding of density the lowest out of the four topics covered. The average rating of understanding on a scale from 1-5 was a 3.6. The science teachers struggled to understand how density contributed to the development of ideas in scientific texts.
171 Two themes were present throughout the data when teachers discussed their understanding of density in scienc e language. First, the teache rs described density in terms of how much information was in science text versus how the use of lengthy, complex nouns made the scienc e language dense. This in turn makes it easier for writers to include much information in a si ngle sentence. Next, the teachers were apprehensive about their knowledge of the language structures (e.g. prepositional phrases, embedded clauses, head nouns) that contributed to making the lengthy, complex nouns. Therefor e, they were hesitant about their ability to teach their students about density. During the initial professional development module, teachers were introduced to the concept of density by reading the article Beyond the Fab Five (Fang, 2008). In this article, Fang gives an explanation of densit y and includes a brief ex planation of lexical density and examples of how long complex nouns contribut e to the density of science language. He also discusses how the l ong, complex nouns a llow the author of a science text to incl ude much information. The science teachers immediately agr eed that science language was dense. However, their initial perception of densit y was focused on information load and why that information load could make reading sci ence difficult for students. For example, Bette shared her response to the arti cle on density in science language. I think thats one of the major area s [density] in science that throws someone off or causes someone to just not really care for science because its too dense. They feel its overwhel ming, and its hard to wrap their minds around all of the information loa ded into a sentence. (FI-JB-3) Lisa contributed her thoughts on density in science language to the discussion. She agreed with Bette that science language was dense. She also discussed the issue
172 of density compared to the amount of informa tion in a text and did not address how the layers of clauses and phrases lengthen t he noun, making it more difficult to comprehend. Lisa said: Science is profoundly dense. Packed with words they [s tudents] are not familiar with. Loaded with terminologies. Dis tant from their daily lives. They say, This is too hard. Too many word s. I dont get this. The article said nouns are the most powerful grammatica l structure that contributes to a texts' informational density. The more words you have the denser your text, the more nouns you have the denser the text. (PD2-9/16-56) Although Lisa recognized that nouns contri bute to the informational density of the text, she missed that the reason for this is due to the length of the nouns and not the quantity of the nouns. The i dea of lengthy, complex nouns was new to the science teachers. Instead of focu sing on the how the nouns were structured, the teachers focused on the number of nouns in a sentence. In the next step of the introduction, teacher s were directed to find examples of density in their textbooks. I called their attention to examining passages that had long nouns like the examples in the articles. Casey shared an exam ple from her anatomy textbook, commenting that it was dense becaus e of the technical terms. However she was unsure if it was relevant to the articles discussion about long nouns. I'm not sure if mine is so much dens ity as more technicality because so many times in anatomy they define a word using these other technical terms. My sentence is, The innermost sensory t unic of the eye is the delicate white retina which extends anteriorly only to the ciliary body. (PD-257-MC) Caseys sentence was dense, but not due only to the number of technical terms. Her sentence was dense because of two long complex noun groups. The first group is prior to the verb in the sentence, The innermost sensory tunic of the eye In this case, the head noun is tunic The premodifiers are the determiner (the ) and the adjectives
173 ( innermost and sensory ), and the post modifier is the prepositional phrase ( of the eye ). In addition, another long noun is the delicate white retina which extends anteriorly only to the ciliary body Retina is the head noun followed by the embedded clause (which extends anteriorly). After Casey shared her sentence teachers were in complete agreement that the sentence was dense. Bette exclaimed, Oh, that's definitely dense. (PD2-9/16/08-57) When probed for why the sentence was dense however, teachers commented on the number of words versus the two lengthy nouns. Patsy commented: This idea that there's more words per sentence, more nouns per sentence, more ideas then in like the Arthur text which was short little sentences with not a lot of big concepts or conceptual words. There is a lot of information and bigger words that student might not know in the science text making it harder to read. (PD2-9/16/08-58) Lisa concurred with other teachers th inking about density and shared an example in her marine science textbook. She ex plained that when t he authors clarified processes in marine science, large amount information was packed into one sentence. She read from her marine science textbook, The current flows around the periphery due to a balance between ecma transport trying to push the water to t he center of the base and the high point in the center holding the flow away. (PD2-9/16/08-56) When asked to explain why she thought it was dense, Lisa stated that the sentence was dense due to the number of pr epositional phrase in the sentence. You've got a couple of nouns in there but they put all these prepositional phrases before it, after it, all ar ound it. They've made that phrase very dense. And that just shuts the kids down and they just kinda go, Oh, can't read that. Don't unders tand it. (PD-2-56-VL) Lisa is on the right track in recognizing that prepositional phras es contribute to the density of the sentence. Bu t the next step is identifying why they make it denser. In this
174 case, the reason this sentence is dense is due to the long noun a balance between ecma transport trying to push the water to th e center of the base and the high point in the center holding the flow away. The head noun is a balance followed by between ecma transport (prepositional phrase )trying to push the water (embedded clause ) to the center (prepositional phrase ) of the base and the high point (prepositional phrase) in the center (prepositional phrase ) holding the flow away (embedded clause). This long noun phrases allows the writer to pack a lot of information into one sentence that otherwise would need to be expressed in multiple clauses. Teachers identified examples of density in their textbooks, but had difficulty explaining why the text was dense. Even after I pointed out where the long, complex nouns were in the sentences, the teachers understanding still remained focused on the amount of difficult word s in the sentence. The data from the first professional dev elopment session i ndicated that the teachers initial understanding of density was based on t heir previous notion that science language was dense because of the number of technical words or the amount of information. While both of those conditi ons contribute to the informational density of a text, the idea of how the structure of the science language impacted informational density was a new concept to this group of science teachers. The idea of lengthy, complex nouns was unfamiliar and the teachers in itially found it difficult to identify these types of nouns in science writing. When we met for the next session to discuss density in science language, the teachers had an opportunity to practice identif ying long, complex nouns. To introduce
175 the idea of long, complex nouns, the sci ence teachers practiced identifying noun groups. For example: Mutations in a target protein that affect binding of an antibiotic to that protein may confer resistance In this sentence, the long noun group is Mutations in a target protein that affect binding of an antibiotic to that protein. The head noun in this sentence is mutations The prepositional phrase in a target population is a postmodifier which is followed by an embedded clause that affects binding of an antibiotic which contains another prepositional phrase to that protein This process of adding information to qualify the noun makes science text more challenging to readers. The science teachers completed several similar exercises and picked out the simple nouns and the verb in the model sent ences. In addition, th e teachers identified the long complex noun groups of sentenc es. However, when the discussion about density in science language includ ed identification of sentence parts, teachers were not as comfortable with their knowledge level. Billie expressed her uneasiness of talking to her students about grammatical features when she said: Well, English could be very helpful now that I am learning about this stuff. And its so funny because I tease my students. You dont realize, oh, Ill never do this again. And then somew here down the road youre like, if I only had paid attention to English. (IM-JTB-4) During an informal conversation with Case y, she expressed her doubts about not having enough grammar knowledge to teach students about density. The density and just understanding it. Breaking it down into the clauses has just been the hardest thing. The topic is not necessarily a difficult topic. Its just trying to do it ri ght and identify the right parts of the sentences. (IMMC-FN-02-13)
176 Later in her final interview, Casey still felt uncomfortable with her understanding of how the language structure impacted t he density of a science text. I think one of the challenges that I fa ced had to do with, again, not feeling as comfortable with the English com ponent of it. For example, when we were doing the sentence combining or we actually did it the other way, too, where they actually wrote the sentenc es down and there were just some of the terms for the different parts of a sentence, the clause and such that I might not have remembered. I thin k that was one of the challenges. (FIMC-6) In her final interview, Bette echoed Caseys concern about having enough knowledge of the language structur es in order to effectively teach density in science language. She explained: I know that its dense. All you have to do is look at the textbook. But with the whole density idea, some of the aspec ts that I was not as proficient with were the identification of the clauses, and the application of the lexical density formula. (FI-JB-3) In her final interview, Patsy also ex pressed her apprehension about being able to detect the grammatical struct ures in science passages. The actual breaking down of the claus es and trying to figure out what exactly is going on. We have a participant, and the circumstance, and the process. I can see that but I just need to strengthen my language arts skills to be able to use that more comfortabl y myself in the classroom. (FI-PB-8) To address the teacher misunderstanding of density, I relied on informal meetings with the teachers to assist in their planning for the less ons. For example, Billie expressed difficulty in developing a lesson on density so we met to review the ideas from the professional develop ment session. When she looked for a sentence with a complex noun group in her textbook, she determined that t he text was simplified for students. I was reading through their book, because I was looking for a long sentence that crammed a lot of stuf f in there where we could break it down. And this
177 book isnt that way. And I figured out why they like this book because its in short little chunks, not a real good example of science language. (IM-JTB-1) Billie seemed discouraged in planning the lesson because she could not find a good example to use in her cla ss. Together we read parts of her textbook and searched for examples that she could use for her lesson. Facilitator: Do you want to look at doing one of the density things if we found a passage that interested you or that you saw that would fit? Billie: Well, I would have to read th rough this one [another textbook], maybe it is better. Facilitator: If your purpose is to try to ex plain density, then maybe not get so hung up on the fact that its [the mate rial] is over their head, but that they understand how these scientists make bi g nouns in writing. Does that make sense? So, for example let me just glance at one of these right now and see. All right, this sentence says many types of nuclei are held together permanently and are stable, however, there are many other types of nuclei that are unstable So you could do just like a five minute thing to introduce the idea. Lets look at th is sentence you could start one day and say Im going to take just a c ouple of minutes and Im going to show you a sentence that shows one way that scientists make reading so dense. Then show the sentence and point out how long the noun is. For example, in this sentence you c ould underline the noun group many types of nuclei and many other types of nuclei that are unstable Billie: And that would be fairly easy to do, because theres plenty of those in there. Go through; pick them out, because we can do that even as our bell activity tomorrow. Start doing it maybe not with like you said, do it with the short sentences and lead into the bigger complex nouns, just to get them to start seeing the nouns. Facilitator: You could model it for them, like for one day or two days, and then the next day say Well, lets try so me of these for our bell activity on our own. Im going to put a couple of sentences up here on the board about radioactivity. See if you can identi fy in one column the simple noun and then in the next column the complex noun t hat serves as the subject of that sentence. Billie: Yeah, thats pretty easy to do. I think it was struggling with the and I have an example because I know it was there with the ______ and the other Facilitator: I think the most important thing is they just start to recognize how science language is dense. And it s dense because one of the things that scientists do is they take these nouns, or these subjects of sentences, and they make them really long. Now, we can say they make them real
178 long, because they add embedded cl auses and prepositional phrases and determiners. I think that you can get to that point eventually if you want to, but if they can just recognize that all this stuff is part of the subject of the sentence and they find the simple nounthen that is a good place to start. Billie: And I think for at least with the ni nth graders, recognizing that is the whole subject, because they are used to that novel reading where its Dan, Joe, the dog. And its r eal short. And part of this lengthy process is that they make it longer in their writing, so I think that would be good to do with them and see what the outcome of it is. See if t hey start recognizing it on their own. That whole thing is a subj ectthat would work. (IMJTB9-12) Billie believed that the c oncept of density in science language was important, but she found it challenging to find material that contained long, complex nouns in her textbook. In addition, she was concerned that she did not have the background knowledge in English to discuss grammatica l features such as embedded clauses. Meeting individually with Billie seemed to convince her that she had the knowledge base to introduce the idea of density to her students. Even though the goal is to move more deeply into identifying the long, comple x nouns in the entire sentence, Billie felt comfortable at the beginning by looking at them in place of t he subject of the sentence. Two of the science teachers in particular di d not feel comforta ble with the concept of density in science language and theref ore rated themselves low on their understanding. For example, during his final interview, Brad rated his understanding of density: So as far as density is concerned, whic h is your third, Id probably say Ill give myself a two, but probably a one, bec ause its just some things are just theyre hard for me to see, and that is just I definitely thats why I said I would like to work further on it, because the more understanding I have at the the more chances I wil l use it and I like to use new new techniques, keep fresh in the cl assroom. The density and just understanding it. Breaking it down has just been the hardest thing. The topic is is just probably not necessarily a difficult topic. Its just trying to put it Right. And its completely out of my comfort range. (FI-MB-4)
179 Billie also acknowledged that she was not comfortable with her understanding of density. She described how she questioned her ability to address density correctly in the classroom, I put it [density] as a three, and I think thats cause I understood it, but I didnt I wasnt able to, you know, pass it along, per se, as well as I would have I would have liked. Like, it wa snt a comfort zone for me. (FI-JTB-4) Bette had the highest self-rating on densit y. In her explanation of her understanding, she addressed t he issue of complex nouns Density, probably a four. I think I did pretty well with this. Just understanding how dense some sentences are in science language, how they have complex nouns, seeing all the prepositional phrases that are used and when you really break it down and understand Basically, understanding, whats the r oot whats the main s ubject and the root verb. Then, understanding how that links. Beyond all the prepositional phrases in between, how that links to the main idea of the sentence. (FI-JB-4) Although the science teachers readily agr eed that science language was dense, they found it challenging to understand how language structures im pacted the density level of a science text. The science teachers contributed the issue of informational density to technical words and the amount of info rmation in a short passage of text. It was challenging for them to deconstruct the lengthy complex nouns and understand how they contributed to the information lo ad of science texts. Although teachers were successful in identifying the location of t he complex nouns in a sentence while working together in professional dev elopment sessions, they did not understand how to identify the layers of the noun to explain how t he noun was expanded. Rather than thinking about how long nouns contribute to density and why they are necessary in scientific writing, the science teachers understanding was influenced by their belief that they did not have the grammatical knowledge to talk about the embedded clauses and prepositional phrases with their students.
180 Genre Science language is c omprised of multip le genres. Genres are organizational structures that frame informati on in scientific texts. These structures serve a particular social purpose, e.g., to inform, to instruct, to explain, to discuss, et al. According to Veel (1997), there are seven major genres in science: procedure, recount, explanation, description, report, exposition, and discu ssion. Each of these genres has its own structural and grammatical features. The science teachers reported an overall understanding of the topic of genres as a 4.3 on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being the lo west level of understanding. Through their participation in the professional development modules, the teac hers understanding of genres developed positively. During the initial introduction to the topi c of genres, teachers had an opportunity to cooperatively analyze sample passages and identify the genres. Teachers were presented with a matrix that delineated the purpose and grammatical features of each genre. In the following example, teachers analyzed a selection. They cannot decide if it is report or discussion. As they discussed this example, their focus is more on the understanding of the struct ures of the genres versus the gr ammatical features. I tried to draw them to looking at the grammatical f eatures as they analyzed the text. Sample text: The animal kingdom is made up of many different animals. In a way they all need to work together in order to surv ive. Each animal needs another animal or plant for survival. It starts from the smallest of animals and continues on, all the way up to the largest. This togetherness is called the food chain. The smallest animals in the chain will b e the ones that do not eat other animals, but eat plants and fruits, vegetables, and seeds that co me from plants instead. These are calle d herbivores. The rest of the animals in the chain are called either
181 carnivores or omnivores. Carnivores eat only meat, which, of course, is other animals. Omnivores eat from both food groups, so that means they eat what both carnivores and herbivore s eat. Humans are omnivores (from http://www.associatedcontent.com/a rticle/375038/hom eschool_science_les son_plans_food.html?cat=25 Transcript of discussion on genres: Facilitator: All right, lets talk about that one then. Why did some of you label it as report Bette: Because its explaining how so methings put together, how the animal kingdom works. Lisa: Plus, it was a general statement. The animal kingdom is made up of many different animals. Reports have big general statements. Then they talk about that statement. Bette: Its explaining so many different termsomnivore, carnivore, food chain. Billie: It is also the description of va rious things, what togetherness was, what smallest animals are. Report sa ys that there are various descriptions in it. Casey: Well, lets look at the s pecial purpose of each one. Bette: Okay, I didnt look at that, I looked at text structure. Billie: Yeah, the structure, lets start with special purpose and see. The social purpose of report is to descri be attributes, properties, behaviors of a single class or entity in a system of things. So your text structure Brad: Its not report; it just puts it right out there because this does not just describe something. Casey: Yeah, this is different. Brad: Because it talks about herbivores, omnivores, carnivores. If it was a report, it would just talk about the behavior of carnivores or something like that. Dont you think? Lisa: No, because its unifying the animal kingdom. Casey: Yeah, thats what I would think. Its talking about t he relatedness of the food chain.
182 Billie: And the text structur e of report is a gener al statement and then a description of various aspects of things The explanations social purposes is to explain how something occurs or is produced and the text structure is phenomenon identification and explanation sequence. Lisa: Where was the sequence? Mona: Oh, come on! Bette: Herbivore, carnivore, the rest are carnivores or omnivores, omnivores eat from both food groups. Lisa: Thats not necessarily a sequence. Mona: Its not necessarily not a sequence though. It does not have to say first this then that. Bette: Im still holding out for report. Facilitator: Lets look at the grammatical features. What do you notice? Bette: I dont think it explains how some thing is produced. It is just reporting. Lisa: Yeah, cause youve got the littl e paragraph which is your general statement about the animals and then you go to the description of various specs of the animal kingdom. Thats why Im rooting for report. It is just reporting the information. Bette: Yea and I dont see any logical conjunctions, what are those again? Facilitator: The logical conjunctions which are a part of science are like however, hence, therefore Your logical conjunctions are the ones that connect the ideas. You see those more when they are trying to explain something, connecting the ideas. Your accordingly, still, likewise Its that conjunction that brings t hat sentence before it and connects it to that next sentence to build usually argument or discussion. Billie: Ok I am still saying just all over its an explanation. (PD-b03-13) The sample passage was a report genre. This was a report genre, not an explanation, because it does not explain a particular phenomenon. It simply describes several aspects of the ani mal kingdom. As teachers continued to analyze the genres, they were able to discern between the ty pes. Throughout the professional development
183 session, we continued to look at samples and compare what we were reading to the chart that outlines the charac teristics of each genre. After practicing together in the professi onal development modul e, the teachers were able to identify the genres of procedure, recount, report, and explanation, but they felt unsure about how to differentiate bet ween discussion and exposition. Teachers expressed that the genres of exposit ion and discussion were less familiar. When probed about their understanding of genres, the teachers used their prior knowledge and familiarity with the structures to explain their understanding. The teachers did not discuss the genres in terms of their grammatica l features, with the exception of one teacher. For example, w hen Casey explained her understanding of genres, she reported that s he relied on looking at the char t distributed in class to differentiate between the genres. Casey thought that procedure and recount were easily recognizable due to the frequency with which she used those genres in her classroom already. She explained that while report and explanation were closely related, she could identify the differences once she re viewed the information about the genres. However, she struggled to differentia te between exposition and discussion. I certainly feel comfortabl e with some of the genres, like the procedures, the steps because we use that so much, and the explaining. Some of them, there was like a fine line to be able to tell the difference and Im not even sure I fully can discern between them. (FI-MC-5) Although the teachers expr essed some confusion over discerning between the genres, they were receptive to the conc ept and willing to work on understanding the distinctions. Michael expl ained his understanding in the final professional development session. One thing I pulled out of this was the fi rst four (procedure, recount, report, and explanation), our students see procedure, they see a recount, they see
184 report and they see explanation all the time in the writing, but theyre not too familiar with how to read exposition and di scussion. In my class they do a paper on endangered species and I have them write about a genetic disorder, but its just writ ing a bunch of information down and giving it to me. I think what I am going to do next year is ask should the gray wolf be released? Is it a good thing that it is back in the area or do you agree with the forum? Pick a side and write me a paper that way. This way, students are forced to write an exposition paper. And they will probably have to read some discussion and exposition to get the information. (PD-MB-03-09) Bette explained her understanding of genres in her final interview. She felt that the genres gave her a good way to help st udents think about the authors purpose. I think its great that you discussed genr es with us. Again, the main point that I got from what you had explained to us is theres a purpose. What is the author trying to tell t he reader? Is there bias in there? Whats the purpose of that writing? (FI-JB-8) Another theme in the data showed that teachers perce ived that teaching students about the genres in science language was us eful to their science teaching. For example, Brad commented during his final interview: So as far as genres, I really like genres Im a five with that, because its just its important to teach kids w hat something is saying or the type of writing that it is and the different styl es that you see. And they should be able to you know, if they can i dentify it, it woul d probably help them understand it a lot better. (FI-MB-3) In another example, Patsy also indicated t hat she found the information useful for working with her biology students. When I started looking at the genres, I thought, This has science fair all over it. And the fact that I coul d help my students und erstanding by having a better concept and better grasp of genres became apparent to me once I saw how many were used. (FI-PB-4) In summary, the science teachers understood how genres were used in science writing for various purposes. Their prio r knowledge of genres such as report and explanation facilitated their willingness to learn about the other genres described. Their
185 focus in learning however remained on t he purpose of the genre and not as much attention was given to the grammatical f eatures that identified the various genres. Teaching the Specialized Language of Science in the Classroom This section details the experiences of t he science teac hers as they attempted to integrate the concepts from t he professional development modules into their teaching routines. Both barriers and facilitators of t he integration process are described for the four topics: technicality, abstraction, density, and genre. Technicality The scienc e teachers implement ed technicality strategies in their classrooms that were presented during professional developm ent modules. Teachers cited level of comfort, proximity to strategies already used, and prior knowledge that technical words were important to understanding science as reasons they would use strategies that addressed technicality in science language. For example, Bette commented, I knew that vocabulary was huge in science, so thats just something I used to always work with my students on just because I know its so im portant from my medical terminology class and just experience before, as a student (MT-JB-6). Because it was familiar, the science teachers perceived the implementation process as easier for the technicality st rategies. Bette commented in her midterm interview that, Technicality was a lot easier because it was more vocab-centered (MTJB-1). Teachers could envision how the stra tegies could be a part of their teaching routines. Brad shared how he planned on using the strategies for technicality in his classroom: I like breaking dow n the word and doing the suffi xes, the roots, and the prefixes, and I think in my journals next y ear, every day is going to include breaking down a word from the chapter to help ki ds understand the voc abulary (MT-MB-5).
186 In another example, Patsy explained how she used an id ea from the information about technicality to enhance a vocabulary stra tegy she was already using in her class. She was using logographs to have students anal yze vocabulary words. In a logograph the students were directed to choose a vocabulary word and write its definitions, use it in a sentence, and illustrate it. I had already been doing some of t he logo graphs but I enhanced that based on some of the techniques that we shared in the class about using synonyms and antonyms in the corners in stead of just having them illustrate the word to get them more involved with the language of the word itself. (MT-PB-1) In an informal meeting, Billie shared how she had already been talking to her students about how to break down words. When they came across a word in class like semi-conductor she would break it down into the parts. For exampl e she said, so I tell them, semi means half or partly and conductor means a material that allows electricity to flow. Therefore, semiconductor means a type of ma terial that only allows some electrons to flow through, but not all (IM-JTB -6). Billie said that prior to our meetings, she had addressed technicalit y spontaneously during teaching, however, now that she had learned about technicality st rategies in the professional development modules she said it would be easy to make it more concrete for students. I think if I do it more often with them, like I do out loud we break words down all the time, just because thats someth ing Ive always done; trying to teach them, You know this big long word, lets look at the parts of it. So if you dont know what it means, do you know what any of it means? And so when we did this [concept maps] in t he workshop I tried it. I taught them like, Look we did this already, wev e done this. Do you know anything out of this word? I mean we did it ve rbally, but putting the words on paper was a little more concrete for them. (MT-JTB-1) Evidence from observations and interviews showed the teachers primarily used three strategies for technicalit y in their classrooms: (a) mo rphemic analysis, (b) concept
187 maps, and (c) vocabulary think charts. Morp hemic analysis involves teaching students how to identify meaningful word parts like roots, prefixes, and suffixes in challenging science words. For example, during an observati on, Bette told her class, You probably don't know what this word means but I bet you can figure it out because you know the prefix bio You know the root word, mass Let's take it apart and figure it out (10/20/08). Bette used her kno wledge of breaking words into parts to help her students understand the word biomass In a later class, Bette used her knowledge of morphemic analysis again to encourage students to look at words with similar parts to see if they could discover the meaning of the word monoculture She shared in a professional development meeting how she conduc ted this analysis of the word monoculture to get students to understand how the prefix monomeaning one and culturemeaning the act of cultivating the land led to the meaning of the word monoculture a farming strategy in which large fields are planted with one crop year after year. We used monoculture and they [the students] were able to come up with mononucleosis and all these other really big words you know monochromatic They connected that with monoculture. Then seeing the word culture, the root word, they were able to just get a better grasp of that by thinking of agriculture, horticulture words with culture in them. Just breaking down the words into word par ts and then just getting an overall view of that definition by thinking about words they already knew was helpful. (PD3-11/4) Patsy also integrated the technique of morphemic analysis in her classroom. She explained during a professional development meeting how she used the strategy of analyzing word parts to help student s compare words that ended in -ology She said, Next I did archeology/paleontology/anthropologythey could break down the ology so then we started looking closel y at the beginningso now they will say I dont know this word but t hey will start to look at it and say can I figure it out You can get t hem [students] thinking real ly easily about prefixes and suffixes (PD4-11/4-3).
188 Two science teachers used the technicalit y strategy of mapping to help students understand technical words. Casey used a map to analyze the word parts of a technical term in her anatomy and physiology class. During Caseys observation she introduced the word osteogenesis imperfecta Her lesson started with a sking the students to read a story about a baby that had a frac ture in her arm. The word osteogenesis imperfecta appeared near the end of t he story. She wrote the word on the center of her overhead and asked students to do the same on thei r own paper. She then asked students to break out word parts they re cognized. Students identified osteo, genesis, im and perfect Next, Casey asked students to brainsto rm with a partner the meanings of those words. When the regrouped as a class, she added the meanings to her map. Next she asked students to brainstorm other words they knew that used those word parts. Finally, she asked them to t ake a stab at the definition based on the information on the map. See Figure 6.1 for an example of the map Casey developed during her lesson (10/27/08). Following are some of t he definitions students wr ote down on their maps. Born with bone defects Defect of the bone in the process of forming Imperfection in one formation Defect of bone in the process of growing In another instance, Lisa used the concept map to analyze the word heterotroph in her marine science class. She wr ote the word in the center of her overhead and stated: This is not a common word you use often. It is a word we use in science. She then tells students that they are going to analyze the word together. She asks who can identify a word part they k now. One student says that hetero is the prefix and she has seen it in other words like heterosexual. Lisa then writes the definition of heteroon her
189 overhead explaining, Hetero means different or other. We write that down on our map to try to analyze what the whole word means She asked students to think about what the word parttroph might mean based on what they know about autotrophs. Another student says something to do with feeding or eat ing. Lisa explained that the word part troph refers to nutrition. S he then wrote the formal defini tion above the word on her overheadan organism that gets food from foods they consume She then asked for examples and compiled the following lis t with students: humans, leopards, sharks, dolphins, crabs. Next, Lisa asked for non-examples, or autotrophs The students compiled the following list: plants, phytoplankt on, and algae. Next she told students, Read in chapter 4 to find out what heterotrophs are like. What do they do? What is special about them? Afte r the reading, students report in formation to complete the concept map. Lisa added the following informa tion to the side of the map: do not use suns energy to make food, get energy fr om eating, can also be called consumers (10/20/08). Another strategy presented in the prof essional development workshops was the vocabulary think chart. Patsy used the vocabulary thing chart to introduce the word vestigial organ to her biology class. Patsy put a c opy of the think c hart on the overhead and reviewed the process of using the stra tegy. She then asked the students to choose a word for analysis, What word do you want to analyze from our r eading last night? One student raised his hand and ident ified the word vestigial or gan. She wrote that as the target word. The s he began the process of analysis by reading through each question on the chart.
190 The students started with thei r recognition of the word organ and knew that was a collection of similar tissues withi n the body. Next, they looked at vestigial They identified that the ial at the end of the word probably changed the root word into an adjective so they assumed the root word must be close to vest or vestige. One student opened a dictionary and found the word vestige meaning a small amount of trace. Next, the students brainstormed words that came to mind when they looked at the word parts. They generated t he following list: footprints, imprints, organ donor, carbon footprint. While talking about these words, students connected real life stories to their ideas discussing people they knew who had organ transplants or why they thought the idea of a carbon footprintthe leaving some thing behindconnected to the concept of a small amount of trace from the term vestige. In the next step, the students looked at t he word in context. One student read, The organs of many animals are so reduced in size that they are just vestiges, or traces, of homologous organs in other species. These vestigial organs may resemble miniature legs, tails, or other structures (Biology, p. 384). Patsy then led the students to paraphrase a definition. She wrote on the thin k chart the mark of something that once existed. Finally, the instructions request students to come up with the target word in a sentence that was scientific. One student rema rked, A theory exists that whales legs have become vestigial organs. Another st udent shared, Animals can exist without vestigial organs. Still another student said The appendix is a vestigial organ because we do not need it to live. Finally, in closi ng Pasty asked the student to relate the word
191 to a larger scientific concept. Students listed: evolution, Darwin, adaptation, survival of the fittest, natural selecti on, modifications (10/21/08). Patsy, Casey, and Lisa each used a strate gy from the profe ssional development modules to teach their students how to analyz e technical words in science. Casey used the mapping to analyze the word parts of osteogenesis imperfecta and determine the meaning of the word. Lisa used the conc ept map to support students thinking about examples, and qualities of the concept of heterotroph Finally, Patsy used the format of the vocabulary think chart to walk her st udents through an in-depth analysis of the term vestigial organs Another theme surfaced in the data w hen the science teachers talked about their technicality lessons: student learning. When the science teachers perceived a strategy made an impact on student learning, they were convinced of the usefulness of the technique. Casey indicated that her students were able to apply the strategy independently after she had modeled it in class the day before. She liked how the concept map gave her students an opportunity to work it out on their own. I used the word parts where they br oke the word into word parts and thought of other words they knew and I was really impressed with this technique because in anatomy I have always tried to get them to think about prefixes, suffixes, and roots but I never really used a graphic organizer like this. The next day for t he bell ringer I gave them a word that they would not have known the meaning of glucomenogenisis. My standard level students had used genesis in t he word the day before and they had thought about the gluco then most of them came up with that it was the forming of sugar. I was very impressed. I think have them use this graphic organizer is better then me just telling t hem I like to just tell them thingslike this means this and this means t hatand then move onand it kind of goes. But, when they have to actually work with it I think they remember it. And I am going to use it a lot more. (PD-11/4/08-1)
192 Mona also perceived that her students we re successful with using the concept map in her class. Although she thought it took a long ti me, she saw that it made a lasting impression on students. It is probably the longest exercise I've ever seen on one word. And again we're reviewing for the exams this week so when we got to that word the kids said, "Same place." The first one we did was isotope. Same place; that means it can have it can't have different protons so it can't have different neutrons. Yes. So they got it. I know it took oh my goodness it took time but it certainly was worth while because of the lasting nature of the impression that it made. It was really, really good. (MT-BM-4) Patsy had tried the vocabulary think chart in her class. As she was reviewing for their test, she said she felt a shift in st udents confidence level about the words they were discussing. When she thought about it s he believed it was related to the students participation in the word analysis with the vocabulary think chart. I, as the teacher, was wondering why these particular answers had caused such a change in their attitude, and t hen it hit me! These were the words ( vestigial organ/structures and homologous structures ) we had used for the word analysis strategies in class when we had just started the chapterthe Vocabulary Think Chart. They were so pleased with their accomplishment, having used the words correctly in the completion exercise that their confidence had carried over into thei r success in figuring out how to use analogous structures We had not covered that word in class. The Vocabulary Think chart had really m ade an impact on their memory of the word we did in class. They made comments such as, We remembered doing the transparency on the over head with vestigial organs and homologous structures in class. and We figured out how to make sense of those words, and figured out for ourselves what analogous structures must mean. (PD4-11/4/08-3) The science teachers were excited to integr ate technicality strategies into their teaching. Because teachers were familiar wit h technicality in science language and they perceived that it was easy to integrate into their teaching practice, they willingly attempted several of the ideas presented in the professional devel opment workshops. The science teachers used morphemic analysis, concept mapping, and the vocabulary
193 think charts. However, even t hough teachers were eager to use technicality strategies, it is important to note that t he science teachers main focus during implementation was on technical words that were specific to science and not on the common words that were used differently in science. Abstraction Data revealed that the science teachers struggled with the integration of strategies that addressed abstraction in their teaching. Data from classroom observations showed that the teachers had difficulty transferring the ideas from the professional dev elopment sessions into the lessons. Lessons were ofte n focused on word level strategies instead of analysis of how the abstract words im pacted the meaning of the entire reading passage. Three trends emerged in the data when examining at how teachers integrated abstraction into their teaching r outines. The first trend showed that the science teachers focused their abstrac tion lessons on teaching students about nominalization instead of how to deconstr uct an abstract word in context and discuss the functionality of nominaliz ation. The next trend showed t hat teachers had difficulty correctly applying the sentence completi on exercise that had been modeled in the professional development sessi on. The third trend was that the teachers acknowledged that they were addressing abstraction spontaneously in their daily lessons. The following three examples show teachers struggling with correctly implementing abstraction lessons into their t eaching. In each example, the teachers focused more on asking students to rename or identify words instead of directing students to consider how the word was cr eated and what processes or qualities are implicated in that word.
194 In the first example, Lisa developed a lesson that required students to change words that were abstract nouns into the verb or adjective from which they were derived. When she introduced the lesson, she explained to the students that scientists take words that are verbs and change them into thing wordsnouns. Lisa then commented about how this can make science reading more difficult and if students learn to use the tool of abstraction, they can improve t heir science reading. She wrote the word consume on the overhead and shows students how t he word can become consumption. She writes the following brief passage on the overhead: The shark c onsumes the food. This consumption of the shark involves eating seals and other marine animals. She began the discussion by asking students to locate the words that are similar. After the students identified the words consume and consumption, she reviewed how scientists change words from action words into thing words. Lisa called attention to the word endings explaining how adding the tion to the word consume changes it from a verb to a noun. Next, she gave the students a list of words and directed them to change the words from verbs or adjectives into nouns. Words included absorb, reflect, and discover. Students completed the worksheet in pairs and turned in their assignment. Lisas lesson demonstrates her struggle wit h introducing the concept of abstraction to her students. She could have discussed the function of the wo rd consumption when she did her lesson, but did not which s hows her lack of understanding the role of nominalization in the development of text and logical reasoning. Her explanation of abstraction was focused on how the word changes to a noun versus how the word contributes to the overall meaning of a passage. Because she uses the words in isolation, it is not clear wh y scientists would use this te chnique of abstraction. The
195 teacher needs to demonstrate to the students why the exercise is being conducted in conjunction with an explanation of abstraction in order to further develop the students understanding of how the abstract nouns contri bute to the overall meaning of a text. When Lisa discussed why she chose to use a list of words instead of trying one of the strategies presented in class, she expl ained that she started with a list because she felt it might not be as overwhelming to the students as trying to reword an entire sentence. Lisa seemed to want to find a wa y to simplify the task for her students into a worksheet activity. In her next lesson, Lisa did move to using the sentence completion exercise presented in the professional development session. However, she had difficulty choosing appropriate words for the lesson. The example below shows how the words she chose to delete were technical words and therefore the students had to think to come up with the right answer instead of trying to insert an abstract noun that summarizes the portion of the text prior. In clear water some species of red algae live as deep as 200 meters. This is because phycoerythrins can absorb [red and purple wavelengths] which penetrates farther than any other color in the spectrum. Despite Lisas willingness to use abstracti on strategies into her classroom, she struggled to successfully implem ent the sentence completion ex ercise. Her focus in the first lesson on how to change the words di d not address why abstraction in science language contributed to the development of theor ies and ideas in science. Teaching the words in isolation did not give the students an opportunity to use the words in context and see how the abstraction functioned in the reading passage. In her next lesson, Lisa did move to using word in context, however, she chose technical word versus abstract nouns, yielding more of a vocabulary lesson instead of a lesson on language usage in science.
196 Two other teachers also used the sentence completion exercise to teach abstraction to their students. The purpose of a sentence completion exercise is for students to develop an understanding that an abstract noun enables scientists to summarize several ideas presented prior to the insertion of the abstract noun so that more can be said about the noun. For example, the word achievement in the following passage illustrates how abstract nouns synthesize the information stated previously in the text. At the beginning of this century the Human Genome Project made another great leap forward by completing the enormous task of reading the letters that make up the instructions in our DNA. This achievement marks the start of a process that one day will allow humans to understand completely how DNA makes us all human beings but also make us unique as individuals. (Walker, Genes & DNA, 2003, p.25) Mona created a sentence completion lesson; however, she also had difficulty choosing the appropriate words to delete. T he lesson that Mona developed reflected a typical close activity. She deleted words from sentences in the textbook and then asked students to read and complete the sentence with t he word that they fe lt fit best. Mona used the sentence completion activity in a traditional format deleting technical vocabulary words instead of abstract nouns. The following sentences are examples of the sentences she presented to students. Two or more substances combine to form a single product in [synthesis] reactions. One substances breaks down into two or more substances in [decomposition] reactions. When one element displaces another in a compound, a [single-displacement] reaction occurs. Mona directed her students to the review the first sentence on the overhead and read it aloud. OKthis is a new reading t ool called sentence comple tion. What word do
197 you think goes in the blank? Her directions do not include any information about how the language in science functions to help writer s develop ideas. In order for students to complete the exercises they must hav e enough prior knowledge about the topic. Students struggled with filling in the appropria te word. One student asked Mona, What do we write in the blanks? Another asked, What are we supposed to write for the third one? It appeared that the students were focu sed on getting the right word in the blanks and not thinking about the languag e of the sentences. (12/01/08) When I asked Mona how she felt her students performed on the lesson, she shared with me that the students were reluctant to try and figure out the words without consulting their textbooks for the right answer. She ex plained that she found it challenging to encourage student s to generate their own understanding of the idea that might fit into the blank because they knew she was also looking for a certain word. I did the sentence completion with them and I think that wasnt real clear when I did it initially. Until we went over it again and then I was like Okay, the biggest thing for me is they have to have the right answer, but that doesnt mean it has to be the ri ght answer. (IM-BM-12/01) Mona tried to apply the ideas we discuss ed in class by being flexible with how students analyzed and broke down the word. However, because she chose technical words instead of abstract nouns, it was difficult to be flexible because there was a right answer to fill in the blank. When I asked Mona how she chose her words she said she was looking for words that were abstract. A gain, this is evidence of the trend that teachers were associating abstraction in science with concepts versus with language. During our informal meeting, I reviewed the examples from our professional development meeting about abstraction. I re iterated how this exercise was different from traditional fill-in-the-bl ank activities. Mona expressed concern that her students
198 got the important information that she needed them to understand for the class. I encouraged her to think about how this was an exercise to train students in how to read science so they could obtain the information independently from the science texts. Casey also attempted to use a sentence co mpletion exercise wit h her students. She took a section of the textbook and pu lled a key concept she wanted students to review. She presented students with the following passage about nerve impulse transmission. The words in italics were deleted when she presented it to students. The plasma membrane of a resting neuron is polarized which means that there are fewer positively charged i ons sitting on the inner face of the neurons plasma membrane than there are on its outer surface. The major positive ions inside the neuron are pot assium (K+), whereas the major positive ions outside the cell are sodium (Na+). Many types of stimuli excite neurons and result in the generation of an electrical impulse. This stimulation causes gates or sodium channels in the cell membrane to open and positively charged sodium ions to rush in the cell resulting in a state known as depolarization. In an informal interview after the class, Casey explained that she was looking specifically for words that might be easy fo r the students to put into their own words. She had hoped students could take a word like generation and substitute more familiar words like to make or to create. She n oticed, however, that students were reluctant to come up with their own words. Casey shared, I think theyre just used to just copying something like this and not really understand ing it. So the students are just like, We cant change these words. These are good words. (MT-MC-2) Casey described her students response to the lesson as reluctant. During her lesson debrief, I probed more into how her students responded to the lesson. It seemed Casey was lacking the background knowledge about abstraction to provide her students
199 with the right kind of prompts to think about abstraction. In addition, the reaction of her students influenced her confidence in addressing abstraction in her classroom. Casey: Some of them said, creation which I thought was good. Facilitator : Okay. So that was a start. Casey: But, I had to work to get it out of them. Then, one young man said this and I said, Actually this isnt too bad. Its a little vague you know because I didnt know if he was referring to this or to this, [she points to different parts of the passage] but, the word this could be used at that point in the sentence and make sense. Facilitator: So it must have made them [the students] think about the language choices. I mean they were thinking about what that word might be. And in order to do that they had to read the previous text. The key, I think, when youre teaching them the strategy is that they can use the words around the deletion to kind of get to that word because the word before the deletion act ually summarizes the deletion in this casestimulation synthesizes the whole idea of these neurons creating this electrical impulse, right? So when the kid said this he did show that he knew the previous sentence was impor tant in understanding the deletion. This though vague, could summarize the idea. Casey: Okay. Do you think the words I picked were good choices? Facilitator: Sure, its important though to k now the function of a word, and thats why this whole idea comes, is borne out of whats called functional linguistics because theyre looking at t he function of words in writing and reading. Like looking at the function of stimulati ononce they [the students] get the meaning then you have to draw t hem to looking at what that word does in the sentence. (MT-MC-4) This conversation demonstrated Caseys di fficulty in presenting the concept of abstraction to her students. In this case, she focused on asking the students to come up with homonyms for the word s instead of showi ng them how to deconstruct the word into a verb to understand the concept. The purpose is not to change the word, but to detect the verb or adjective from which t he word is derived and then move to identify what processes are part of that abstract noun.
200 For example, in the excerpt she used for her lesson, the focus of the discussion in class should have been on the second deletion this stimulation That abstract noun, stimulation encompasses the idea that the many st imuli that excite neurons make an electrical impulse. The word stimulation is derived from to stimulate but that is just the first step in understandi ng what the abstract noun stimulation represents in this text. The next step, identifying t he processes covered in the new word, is what leads students to understanding how scientists use this process of nominalization to synthesize language and build theories. Casey missed that second step in this lesson. Patsy also demonstrated difficulty in using the sentence completion exercise. Even though the word she chose was an abstract noun, the deletio n occurred at the beginning of the passage and required the st udents to use their prior knowledge to detect the correct word. The word she chose to delete was mass extinction and the explanation of the term was in cluded after the word was introduced. This was more of an exercise in technicality than abstraction. Several times in Earth history, howeve r, [mass extinction] wiped out entire ecosystems. Food webs collapsed, and this disrupted energy flow through the biosphere. During these events, some biologists propose, many species became extinct because t heir environment was collapsing around them, rather than because they were unable to compete. Under these environmental pressures, extinction is not necessarily related to ordinary selection. After the students correctly identified the missing word, Bette did lead them in a conversation about how the word mass extinction was abstract because it summarized several smaller ideas. The following dialogue occurred: Patsy: What does this word mass extinction mean? Student A: wiped out entire ecosystems Patsy: How do you know that?
201 Student B: Because it uses those words in the paragraph to explain what it means. Patsy: Can you put that word mass extinction into your own words? Student C: Yeadestroyed everything in an environment (11/19/08) Again, Patsy did choose a word that wa s an abstract noun. However, her lesson focused more on getting the students to define the word mass extinction. Instead of choosing to talk about how the word mass extinction allowed the author to talk about the idea that entire ecosystems were wiped out, she focused on defining the word. Her lesson did not actually address the concept of abstraction and how to unpack it. After Patsys lesson, she indicated that s he struggled to know the right words to delete. During an informal meeting, we read together through a text that she was going to use in an upcoming class to help her in identifying when an author was using abstraction to build ideas in the writing. This exercise proved to be useful to Patsy. After the meeting she expressed a more clear understanding of how abstraction worked. Well I know when you were reading through the wildcat article with me we were looking at it and you said, Thi s is an abstraction because of where they placed it in the par agraphit synthesize what is before it. So that was something that was new to me. So I th ink that was very helpful as far as getting abstraction because that was abstract to me too. (FI-PB-6) In the four cases above, each teacher struggled in their a ttempts to deliver lessons on abstraction to their classes. In the fi rst example, Lisa pulled the words out of context, making it difficult for students to see how abstraction played a role in developing argument in texts. Then, both Lisa and Mona developed sentence completion exercises that deleted techni cal words instead of abstract nouns, missing the purpose of the sentence deletion exercise. Now, while Caseys and Patsys
202 attempts were more closely connected to th e purpose of a sentence completion lesson, the discussion with students did not lead them to thinking about the purpose of the abstract noun in the passage. Both were concerned with getting students to rename the word to connect with prior knowledge or define the word appropriately. The class discussion was not effective in pushing st udents towards understanding how the word functioned in the science text. One teacher, Bette, demonstrated a bette r understanding of how abstraction was used in science writing. Inst ead of asking students to parti cipate in an exercise like sentence completion, this teacher felt that modeling through think alouds was more appropriate for her students. She did not ask students to independently apply the technique of abstraction; she used it more as a teaching tool. Bettes lesson more closely reflected the ideas we discussed in our professional development session. Her biology class was st udying the concept of population growth. She opened by reading the follo wing passage from her text. Sea otters are important members of the kelp forest community of Americas Pacific Northwest coast. This forest is made up of algae called giant kelp, with stalks up to 30 meters long, and smaller types of kelp. The kelp forest provides a habitat for a vari ety of animals. Sea otters need a lot of energy to stay warm in the cold wate r, so they eat large quantities of their favorite food: sea urchins. Sea urchins, in turn feed on kelp. The relationships along this food chain set the stage for a classic tale of population growth and decline. A century ago, otter were nearly eliminated by hunters. In this passage, the word relationships allowed the writer to summarize the ideas introduced in the first paragraph. The next section of the text then continues to elaborate on the relationships impact on popul ation growth and decline. Bette called her students attention to the word relationships She asked the students to explain what the author was referring to when he used the wo rd. Students were able to explain that
203 the author was talking about t he chain between the sea otters the sea urchins, and the kelp. In her discussion, Bette explained how scientists use this idea of abstraction to help develop ideas in their writing. She clearly showed how relationships summarized the ideas previously presented in the text. When asked about her lesson, Bette felt that introducing the idea by showing the student s example in their reading was enough for her students to understand it. Bette explaine d that when she sees an abstract word in a sentence, she asks students to explain what it means. Now when I come across a word like the concept or significance, I try to have the students go back and figure out what they are talking about; what is the significance or whats the concept what does that mean? Then I can really kind of focus on their underst anding at that level. (MT-JB-8) Even though the teachers str uggled with successful integrat ion of the concept of abstraction, they were thinking more deepl y about the ideas as evidenced by our conversations during professional development sessions. Several teachers expressed that they believed it was im portant to talk about the i dea of abstraction in their classrooms. Brad shared in a professional development session how he talked about abstraction with his student s. Brad commented, You know when they [authors] say cutting down trees and deforestation they mean the same thing. Now I notic e that and I can call it to students attention when we are reading. I can a sk them how they can say a word like deforestation or journey in another way. (PD5-12/09/08) In an email communication, Lisa further noted that she believes she needs to address the concept of abstraction in her teaching. When I hit an abstract word I need to take the time to explain it, break it down into its components, and reduce it into manageable bites for the students to consume. Once I do some m odeling on how to do this sort of process, it will get easier for them. (EC-VL-11/10/08)
204 In summary, the science teachers showed a will ingness to integrate the concept of abstraction in science language into their instructional routines. However, several of the teachers struggled to show their students how the idea of abstraction was used by writers of science to help build ideas and t heories. The teachers prior experiences with vocabulary lessons drew their attention to the technicality of the language versus the abstraction and the focus of the lessons was often on word level analysis instead of addressing the abstract language in context. Instead of showing the students how a word was used to synthesize the previous id eas before it, the teachers focused more on the technicality of science language, showing concern for students to know particular vocabulary. In addition, the limited resour ces for reading in the classroom influenced the variety of materials available for the teachers to find examples of abstraction and provide a wide reading exper ience for the students. Density The scienc e teachers struggled with the int egration of density exercises into their teaching routines. Two themes were preval ent in the data when teachers attempted integration of lessons about the density of science language. First, it was difficult for teachers to find examples of long, complex nouns in their textbooks. Second, because it was difficult to find long, complex nouns, the science teachers relied on support through assistance in planning and demonstrat ion lessons in order to execute the lessons on density. The science teachers were concerned with finding sample passages with long, complex nouns from the textbooks. As demonstrated in a previous example, Billie felt that many of the sentences in her textbook were simplified. She and I met to look at some sample passages, and she determined that she wanted to use another textbook
205 to look for better examples of sentences with long, complex nouns. Mona had a similar feeling about some of the in formation in her physical science textbook. She stated that much of the information was presented to t he students in a simplified manner. She read the following sentence from her textbook to me during an informal meeting: How many different ways have you us ed energy today? Today, Coral and Buster used a hair dryer or a toaste r. If you did, you used energy. Furnaces and stoves use thermal ener gy to heat buildings and cook. (IMBM-FN01/21) Mona was concerned that the textbook writers do not use enough real science writing in their attempts to make it eas ier for students to understand. She commented that the density of the pass age she read was typical for the reading that was offered in many sections of her textbook. Because M ona did not feel that her textbook contained enough examples of density in science lang uage, I encouraged her to think about ways that she could bring sample s into the classroom. Mona: So what Im going to try to do is pull articles; and I may actually go to Jennifer and ask for some articles or bits out of her book just to copy and give to my kids; because Im not getting them ready ou t of our book. Thats an injustice to them. When they go to honors chemistry next year, it will be even worse. So I want to pull in fa ct I just thought of that; and thats a wonderful idea. Facilitator: Yeah thats a good idea. Mona: Get like paragraphs from the honors bio and chem. Facilitator: Thats a great idea. Get them exposed to the density and show them how to analyze the more co mplex passages. (IMBM-01-21) One solution for the teachers who perceived that their textbooks did not have enough examples was to locate alternative sources for reading material. Because Mona and Billie both taught the same physica l science course, they agreed to work together to find some examples to supplement their textbooks.
206 Brad also contacted me for assistance in planning his lesson. During our meeting, he perused several paragraphs of the text about arthropods noting that most of the nouns used at the beginning of the sentences were simple. He pointed to a paragraph in the text as an example. Arthropods are generally quick, active animals. They crawl, run, climb, dig, swim, and fly. As you would expect, arthropods have efficient respirator y structures that ensure rapid oxygen delivery to cells This large oxygen demand is needed to sustain the high levels of metabolism required for rapid movements (Biggs, et al., 2006, p. 744). Even though the nouns in the subject position were mostly simple [e.g arthropods, you, they), the passage included long, complex nouns. Ho wever, because they were placed at the end of the sentence, Brad di d not notice them when he was reading. From our study of density, he had picked up on the complication of the long, complex nouns serving in the subject position. He understood that this was the main challenge to students because students were used to ev eryday language where subjects of the sentences were simple like he or I In the next step of our meet ing, he requested assistance in conducting his lesson. We found a sentence in his text to use as an example and decided to begin with simply identifying the long, complex nouns for t he students. Brad thought that it would be easier to use a sentence with the complex noun in the subject position. He thought it would be easier to relate to the students knowledge of everyday language in order to compare the long noun to a simple noun. In science writing, the lengthy complex nouns often serve to define a concept. Becaus e Brad was concerned with connecting the idea
207 of density to his students experience wit h reading, I encouraged Br ad to start with a sentence that explained a definition. The followin g sentence was selected. Light waves that have their electric fi elds vibrating in the same direction are said to be polarized ( Biggs et al, 2006, p.744). We taught the lesson together. To open the lesson, we talked about how scientists expand nouns to pack much in formation into sentences and compared a simple subject from a narrative text to the complex noun that served in the subject role in a sample science text. Brad reminded the students that often the technical words or concepts that they learn about are defined in the text, and he asked if students sometimes had difficulty understanding the de finition when they read it in their textbooks. A number of hands were raised. Next, we displayed the model sentenc e Brad had chosen and asked students to think about what the author of the text was trying to tell us. Once it was established that the sentence was defining polarization, we began to deconstruct the long, complex noun. I explained to the students how the head noun in the sentence was waves and then asked students what else they noticed about waves from the other words in the sentence. One student said that the waves were light waves explaining what kind of waves. Students were also able to identify that there was a prepositional phrase in the same direction Students noticed the information about the electric fields but did not know how to label that part of the sentence. I addressed how it is important to look at all parts of the sentence because the inform ation is an important part of understanding the definition. For example, that have their electric fields vibrating is a postmodfier answering which waves? Brad continued ex plaining that scientists use these long
208 complex nouns to write about sci ence topics. He then directed the students to look at two sentences on the overhead. He explain ed the process of sentence combining and then asked the students to create a long, complex noun by writing one sentence. Quick movements enable arthropods to respond to a variety of stimuli. These quick movements are the result of strong muscular contractions. I then explained how combining sentences can help writers develop sentences that sound more like science language. If sci entists used short, choppy sentences it would take too long to tell the reader about the ideas. Students practiced with a partner and then shared examples. We used the follo wing example to show the students how the long, complex noun served to pack the info rmation from the previous two sentences. Quick movements that are the result of st rong muscular contractions enable arthropods to respond to a variety of stimuli Brad pointed out to student s that the head noun was movements then I explained how the adjective quick modified movements and then the embedded clause that are the result of strong muscular contractions gives more details about the noun. I also pointed out that another complex noun appeared in the sentence a variety of stimuli (01/27/09). Brad struggled with identifying the long, complex nouns in his textbook. Part of the reason was because he was expecting the long, complex noun to appear in the beginning of the sentence. After our informa l meetings, he did try another lesson on his own in which he asked the students to put t he information from the long complex nouns into their own words. He read the fo llowing sentence from the textbook and then
209 modeled putting it into his own words. Afte r that, he did another sentence and asked the students to write the information in their own words. Textbook sample: Fertilization occurs when a sperm cell penetrates the egg cell, forming a new cell called a zygote. Brads sample: A sperm cell must br eak through an egg cell in order to fertilize it. When a sperm cell does this the new cell is called a zygote Brad reported that he tried several more less ons on his own, but he did not feel it was making an impact on his students. I was like, all right, and then I did a couple lessons and Carla [student teacher] did a couple. And theyre just theyre fine. They didnt all do it. Its just like too hard because they w ont read. It still goes back to the Im not going to read; Im 15 and I k now everything (PD-03-15) In another example, Bette requested support in planning her density lesson. As she planned for a lesson about osmosis, she found several passage that contained complex nouns. For example, she noted this sentence about facilitated diffusion from her textbook during our m eeting, and we talked about where the long nouns were located. Therefore, a net movem ent of molecules across a cell membrane will occur only if there is a higher concentrati on of the particular molecules on one side than on the other side. (Miller & Levine, 2006, p.185) In this passage, there are two prepositional phrases of molecules and across a cell membrane modifying the head noun a net movement Then there is the complex noun a higher concentration (head noun) of the particular molecules (prepositional phrase) on one side than (prepositional phrase) on the other side (prepositional phrase). While Bette felt that she could identify longer, complex nouns in her advanced textbook, she was still concerned about how to discuss the grammatical features with her students. She requested that I come in and do a model exercise for her for this
210 lesson. I conducted a brief lesson with her students using the chapter on osmosis. The lesson opened with modeling the following sentence on the overhead (1/27/09). During facilitated diffusion, molecules, such as glucose, that cannot diffuse across the cell membranes lipid bilaye r on their own / move through protein channels instead. (Miller & Levine, 2006, p. 187) After a brief discussion of t he complexity of this sentence we analyzed why it was complex by breaking it down into pr e-modifiers/head noun/post modifiers. Table 6.1 shows the material that was presented to the students. After the lesson, Bette designed her own lesson using a sentence from her college textbook to demonstrate to students t hat this phenomenon of density on science language was going to be even more of a cha llenge in college. She addressed how the writers expanded the nouns to add information, yet showed the students that the topic was just a more elaborate expl anation of what they already knew from their own reading in their textbook. We designed another lesson together about osmosis the next week. During our informal meetings I had emphasized that the ul timate goal was for students to be able to not only detect the long, complex nouns but to put the information into their own words to improve student understanding. The lesson opened with reading the first two paragraphs about osmosis. We read the opening paragraph out loud to students and Bette modeled how to think out loud about the long, complex nouns. She started by identifying them in her readi ng. The she showed how she put the ideas into her own words, writing out her thoughts on the overhead as she talked. Following is the sample she used. Although many substances can diffuse across biological membranes, some are too large or too strongly charged to cross the lipid bilayer. If a substance is able to diffuse across a membrane, the membrane is said to
211 be permeable to it. A membrane is im permeable to substances that cannot pass across it. Most bi ological membranes are selectively permeable, meaning that some substances can pass across them and others cannot. (Miller & Levine, 2006, p.185). Bettes words: Some substances move through the edges of the cells and some cannot cross the lipid bilayer because they ar e too big or charged too much to get through. Sometimes stuff can move through the border of a cell. This means that the membrane of that ce ll is permeable which means that a substance can break up and move through the edges of that cell. Sometimes stuff cannot move th ough the border though. When this happens, the cell membrane is called impermeable because nothing can move though it. It is important to know though that most biological membranes are in between permeable and not permeable. Some things can pass through and some things cannot pass through. This is called selectively permeable. Bette tried to simplify her language whil e she modeled how to think aloud about the passage. She spent time talking through each sentence and its parts as she wrote her ideas on the overhead. When she was done, I explained to t he students that we were going to ask them to write thei r own interpretations on the next part. Water passes quite easily across most membranes, even though many solute molecules cannot. An important process known as osmosis is the result. Osmosis is the diffusion of water through a selectively permeable membrane. (Miller & Levine, 2006, p. 187) Bette directed the students to look closel y at the final sentence that defined osmosis and try to put that long, complex noun into their own words. The following student samples illustrate the results of asking the students to put the information from the long, complex nouns into their own words. Sample 1: Osmosis is when water molecules can get through a membrane that allows only some stuff to pass through it. Water uses osmosis to get through past the protective layer of the cell membrane. Sample 2: Osmosis is when water goes through something when other things dont.
212 Sample 3: It is easy for water to ge t through most membr ane even when other liquids cannot get through. When that happen it is called osmosis. Osmosis is the of water through a membrane that some things pass through and others do not. Despite Bettes willingness for me to come into the classroom and model a lesson, she still did not feel confident using the lessons on density in science language in her classroom on her own. In our final inte rview, Bette addressed her concerns about teaching density lessons in her classroom. I mean, I know what it is, and again, for me, you know, when you taught it, I was, like, oh, that sounds easy. I get what she was saying. But to get the kids on page with that one, again, they struggled with that one and it was hard, you know? And maybe it was caus e I didnt have the ability to teach it well enough. You know, like, taking it what I know and applying it in the teacher setting. So I dont know if it was just I didnt do it enough or that sort of thing. So I think, again, bu ilding it in next year and doing it more might be a better way to see if they get a better understanding of it and whatnot. (FI-JB-6) Casey also did a sentence combining exer cise with her students. She identified a sentence from her textbook that contained a long, complex noun. She then broke the sentence into three individual sentences and asked the students to combine the ideas into one sentence. Endocrine glands release chemicals called hormones. Hormones travel through the bloodstream. Hormones bind with receptor molecules. Casey explained to her students that they were doing this because science reading can be difficult, and if a reader can begi n to break ideas down and put the ideas back together, then they will be able to be tter understand what they are reading. Students were easily able to combine the sentenc es to make the writ ing more complex. The following two examples illustrate sentences put together by students: Student A: Endocrine glands release c hemicals called hormones which travel through the bloodstream and bind wit h the receptor molecules.
213 Student B: Endocrine glands release chemicals that travel through the bloodstream and bind with receptor molecules called hormones. After Caseys lesson she expressed that she was impressed that students could combine the sentences and make it sound more scientific. She did recognize that the second example did actually not add clarity to the information. The problem with the second sentence was that the student did know that hormones are chemicals. The sentence reads as if the receptor molecule s are the hormones. In the following case, hormones become the head noun and that travel through the bloodstream and bind with the receptor molecules when they are released by the endocrine glands is the postmodifier. Hormones are chemicals that travel thr ough the bloodstream and bind with the receptor molecules when they are released by the endocrine glands. Casey revisited her textbook and tried the lesson again. This time, she looked for a segment of text that woul d put the students in a better position to have to develop a long, complex noun. The following sent ences were presented to the students: Elevation of blood sugar by promoting syn thesis of glucose from amino acids is known as Gluconeogenisis. Gluconeogenisis encourages the use of fats by fuels. Sparing glucose is an effect of growth hormone. Casey reported that she was pleased that the students were engaged in the lesson and believed that when they were engaged in the process of combing the sentences it was also supporting their lear ning of the concepts she wanted them to know. Both Brad and Casey had a similar experi ence when introducing the strategy of sentence combining to their students. Severa l students who were part of the intensive
214 reading class told them that they had used the strategy and were familiar with combining sentences. The purpose of sentence combining in language arts is often to develop more complex sentences. While t he emphasis is not necessarily on developing more complex nouns, the strategy is similar. In this case, it provided these students with a good fame of reference for performing the task. Brad reported that it was useful that the idea was familiar to some students bec ause that helped with st udent participation. He commented in his reflection on the lesson, I was surprised when we introduced t he idea and Brandy piped up that she had done this already in her reading class. Then she really seemed to get it with the science material. I was impressed. (PD-02-45) Billie also felt challenged in planning her lesson. Prior to her lesson, we looked through her textbook together to find samples. She thought it would be useful for her students to recognize how science writing can have a long noun group in the same place as a subject of a more typical sent ence from a fiction nov el. She wanted to capitalize on showing her students how the two types of writing were at the same time, similar and different. Billie opened her lesson by showing her students simple sentences from a novel and asking them to i dentify the subject and verb. (e.g. Lou sat down on a packing case. He rubbed a small red sore on the top of his bald head From The Contender by Robert Lipsyte). Next, she introduced a science sentence and asked them to identify the subject. She used the following sentence: The kinds of electric forc es that hold atoms together also bring atoms together to form compounds. ( Reading Essentials, p.389) During her observation, Billie discussed with the students how the science writing was still set up like a novel, but the nouns were l onger (e.g., The kinds of electric forces that hold atoms together) She mentioned issues like this can make it harder for you to
215 understand and this is how scientists like to write trying to emphasize to her students that it was the actual language that was challenging. She also talked through what the words meant in the long noun phrase asking students questions like, Now which kind of electric forces is the author talking about? After the lesson, Billie reflected on her students participation. She said, I think with the ninth graders it is tough to recognize the whole subject because they are used to that novel readi ng where its Dan, Joe, the dog. And its real short. And part of this l engthy process is that in science they make it longer in their writing, so I think that this is good to do with them and see if they start recognizi ng it on their own. If t hey can see that the whole thing is a subject. (IM-JTB-11) Patsy also requested a meeting prior to her lesson to discuss how to implement the lesson on density. She used a supplemental article about Cheetahs for her lesson on density. Prior to the lesson, Patsy and I analyzed the passage, searching for examples of long, complex nouns. She chose the following paragraph from the text to show students how a long, complex nou n contributed to the density of science language. She pulled the par agraph from the text and pos ted it on the overhead with the long, complex nouns italicized. When there is a normal variation of alleles in the gene pool, one would expect rejection of gra fts between unrelated cheetahs after 7 to 13 days. The nonrejection of these grafts supported the hypothesis that the population bottleneck reduced the allelic variation in the gene pool of the cheetah. The rejection of the grafts from the domestic cat indicated that the immune system was responsive to genetica lly different transplanted tissues (Biological Science: An Ecol ogical Approach, 1987, p. 295). During the lesson, Patsy worked with students to identify the par ts of the complex noun groups. As she identified the long, complex nouns she addressed how it was important to be aware of how scientists wr ite and how they put words together so the students could start to break it apart and understand it. As she was working through it,
216 she talked about the passage in her own words also showing the students how to put it into their own words. She wa s not comfortable with the mate rial, however. Twice during the lesson, she consulted with me asking, Is this the right way to explain this? After she delivered the lesson, however, Patsy felt that it was a good stra tegy to get students to identify the long, complex nouns in the sentences and put it into their own words. Having them like we did in that class that day Connection in our talking was to look at what does this part mean, ok ay or leave that part out and just look at where is the meat of this sentence and let's just look at that. And now that we've got that down let's just add th is little piece and let's add this little piece to break it down into smaller chunks that they can understand for comprehension. I think was a good technique. (MI-PB-6) In the professional development meeting after this set of lessons was delivered, the teachers still expressed concern about why we would conduct a lesson like a sentence combining activity. I explai ned how sentence combin ing encourages students to connect their everyday language to science language. We reviewed a sentence combining model lesson. The two sent ences standing alone have simple nouns a tornado and it and sound more like the every day language of students. The information following those two nouns can be combined to create a longer more complex sentence. A tornado is a column of air. It reaches from the clouds to t he ground, and it rotates violently. In our discussion of this strategy I explained to the teachers how the sentence combining involves giving the kids two ideas and getting them to work on combining those to think about writing a little bit more lik e a scientist. In this set of sentences, there are three pieces of information about tornadoes: (a ) Its a column of air, (b) It reaches from the clouds to the ground, and (c) It rotates violently. Blending the sentences creates a sentence that sounds more like science language.
217 A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that reaches from the clouds to the ground. In response to our review of sentence co mbining and density, Lisa asked why we would want students to combine the sent ences. The following excerpt from the transcript of that session demonstrates her struggle with understanding why it is important for students to practice sentence combining. Lisa: I have a question. I understand that everything thats goi ng on there. Why are we it seems to me th ats making it more dense. Facilitator: Yes. Lisa: So thats okay. That falls under density? Its just kind of increasing Facilitator: It is improving their writingw hat this is doing is its allowing students to learn to write like a scientist, so that they are comfortable kind of starting to move them to be able to write at a different level. And also read more complex sentences and be able to see the different parts. Bette: Right. Patsy: And thats what we tend to see in a lot of their writing like theyre writing science reports. A lot of thos e short sentences, I did in my science project reports. Facilitator: Right. Students sometimes don t combine the sentences, and we want them to begin to write more el aborately. We want them to begin to write more efficiently, and if theyre going to do that especially when they move into different levels of science. Then they need to be able to because what were going trying to do through these exercises is to embrace the way that scienc e works. You know one of the first things I think if you remember we talked about is we dont always want to make it easier to read because science is science for a reason, and it is a appropriate sometimes to break it down, but its also appropriate that they can build it back Patsy: Together. Facilitator: Up and put it back together. An d so the sentence combining strategy and you can do these sent ence combined strategies in both directions. You can give them th e dense sentence and try to have them break it down to the ideas, but the overall goal here is that students begin to see how to manipulate the words to write and read science more effectively
218 and see the connections between their own words and the science language. Lisa: That makes more sense to me now. (PD02-09) In summary, the science teachers struggled with integrating strategies into their teaching that addressed how science langu age was dense. Like abstraction, the unfamiliarity of the information contributed to teachers hesitation to implement the ideas into their classroom. The science teachers lacked basic knowledge of grammar and its role in science, and therefore viewed addressing grammatical structures such as embedded clauses as an English thing. In addi tion, the resources the teachers were using were limited to their textbooks and the teacher s struggled in locating examples of sentences that contained long complex nouns. Finally, the issue of time was a factor because the science teachers needed a greater amount of support and feedback about their implementation of lessons on density in science language and it was challenging to find enough time to provided the appropriate amount of suppor t in planning and feedback on the lessons. Genre The scienc e teachers in the study integr ated the concept of genres into their lessons in various ways. During the prof essional development se ssion, the teachers were introduced to the genre teaching cycle. In this cycle, teachers begin with the preparation phase in which they select appr opriate and related readings to their curriculum and immerse their students in a variety of genres. In the next phase, teachers introduce a text m odel of the target genre and engage students in an explicit discussion of the genre in terms of its social purpose, text structure, and grammatical features. The third phase involves engaging student s in the actual writ ing of particular
219 genres through joint construction with peers or the class. The final phase is independent construction; st udents should be able to write successfully in the genre independently. During the planning part of the professional development session, the teachers talked extensively about how to introduce these ideas to students and implement the iterative genre teaching cycle. Mona co mmented about the preparation phase of the cycle: As I was reading through this page 27, just the whole preparation part where it says collect sample, I think thats huge. Thats where, as a teacher, I need to kind of really work on that is collecting samples, just being proactive and looking out side of my textbook to go to the internet and articles and stuff like that, you know to really pull some examples. (PD2/10/09) Time was a constant theme throughout t he discussion on how to implement the genre teaching cycle. The teachers expressed c oncern over the length of time it would take to follow the entire cycl e. Brad commented that this was an idea he would use in his planning next year, but he thought it was difficult to think about using for a single lesson (FN-2/17/09). Patsy commented t hat she was thinking about her own expectations of students. As a teacher is I realize that so many times, espec ially with the honors kids and especially as an adult having already gone through high school, college, I just expect my students to alr eady be at number four, to be at independent construc tion. (PD-2/10/09) When discussing implementat ion of the iterative genr e teaching cycle, the teachers expressed concern about the amount of time it woul d take to model all of the various genres. The followin g transcript excerpt demonstrat es the teachers thinking about the use of modeling in teac hing about genres in science.
220 Billie: And I dont know, its just a I dont know, I think its something that, especially with new teacher s, its something that you cant just any teacher really that doesnt get it, I th ink thats a huge part is like this whole modeling thing. I got to get better about that. You know, thats something Im just poor at. Facilitator: I think when you take the time to teach the how, eventually, they learn more. But what it takes it building that foundation of, you know, teaching them the how and then it takes a lot longer, so you may feel like youre not getting as far in the curriculum and then all of a sudden though, once they start to get that how, th en all of a sudden, phew, you know, theyre writing really well. Brad: Imagine if you started at the beginning of the y ear with this kind of stuff and for two weeks and just and modeled right after every lesson. Theyd be fine. Theyd start to get it. Facilitator: And again, that whole argument over the content versus the modeling and the strategy, I think when you embrace this idea of modeling and calling attention to the language and using some of these strategies that eventually the content is richer and you turn out students who more students who can read and write better in the field of science. Lisa: And heres the thing about this course, and back to what you were discussing with modeling, I hadnt heard of this not being a reading teacher and so getting into modeling in the cla ssroom with the readi ng strategies to help them Im very happy with this but Im gonna have to stretch my muscles a good bit to work on some st rategies that will work in marine science to do this kind of thing. Were doing teaching reading and were teaching science and you can still do bot h, but it requires a huge greater amount of effort in one sense to go back and learn all the modeling strategies cause were not English teachers. Facilitator: I would argue in terms of it being an English thing, that theres no one better to teach their kids how to read science than you guys. I think theres nobody better than you people who are experts in science to teach the kids how to read and understand science. (PD-2/10/09) Lisa commented that she model ed how to write directions at the start of each year. She conducted a lesson at the start of each y ear about writing clear directions with her students. She wondered if this type of less on addressed the issues of how to write a procedure correctly.
221 Lisa: I do the peanut butter and then I take it and use their directions to make the sandwich and its hilarious. Because theyll say, Take the peanut butter and put it on the bread. Now what do you want me to do? You know, they dont theyre not and that I do it because I want them like, especially when theyre writ ing for science fair or something, telling me to take the peanut butter and put it on t he bread is kind of vague. Yeah, anybody knows how to make a peanut bu tter sandwich, but that the point is, if you dont give me specific, like ta ke the put the knife in, you know, I mean some, you know, those are impor tant when youre talking about procedures. If its not specific, its not gonna come out real good. Facilitator: Right. And heres where you c ould put that twist on that exercise with okay, well lets look at what kind of language should you be using. What kind of words should I see in youre writing procedures? I should see some declarative sentences take this, put this and some temporal conjunctions first, then next Thats the kind of language that you use when you write a procedure. So that s what I mean by putting a twist on it. If youre asking t he kids to do this now, youre using language to get them to think about looking at the text structure and the format and the purpose of that type of writing. And onc e they can start to kind of recognize those text structures, then again, theyre going to get better at writing them. (PD7-2/10/09) As these science teachers continued to s hare ideas about how to teach students about genres in science texts, I continued to prompt them to th ink about how language played a role in the development of these text structures. Phase 3 of the iterative cycle which involves modeling the writing of t he targeted genre was a concern for teachers due to the amount of time it would take to engage students in this part of the cycle. Even though they were concerned about the ti me, they tried to think of ways they could bring the strategies into their classroom, if not immediately, then in later lessons. For example, Brad shared his plans for us ing genres in his classroom the following year. Learning about genres had raised his awareness about the genres his students were familiar with and the ones they needed more attendance to learning. In our final professional development meeting, Brad shared his idea with the teachers: One thing I pulled out of this was the firs t four they [students] pretty much they see procedure, they see a re count, they see report and they see
222 explanation all the time in the writing, but theyre not too familiar with how to see exposition and discussion. When we were going over everything, theyll do something on endangered species and I do a genetic disorder, but its just writing a bunch of information down and giving it to me. I was like what Im going to do next year is like should the gray wolf be released? Is it a good thing thats in back in the area or do you agree with the forum? Pick a side and write me a paper t hat way. This way youre forced to write an exposition paper. (PD8-3/10-13) Further, teachers struggled to bring the ideas from t he iterative genre teaching cycle into their daily plans. The concept of a teaching cycle implies a process that becomes a part of the teaching in a particular classroom. The science teachers bantered about how to begin the process. One concern raised was whether to introduce one genre at a time or all of the genres at once. Casey shared her insight: The first, you know, as we were th inking about this, my first thought was procedures, so I can give the students even examples in the book. This is the subject. Now how are we gonna st udy it. And I have done that already a couple of times this year, so th is would not be new, but the business about discussion, exposition, you know, all that, that would be a little bit new. But procedures wouldnt be, so I f eel really comfortable with that. So we can pick just one, expose them to that and then ev entually and then have them write, get to t he point of their writing it rather than exposing them to all of them? (PD7-2/10/09) Bette responded to Casey that she felt her kids would do better to see all of the genres and to recognize them across the re adings that were used in the classroom. She stated: I think it would be neat to do two t hat are related, like procedures and recounts or like exposition and discussion. I think that would be easy to not easy, but I would, you know, some what easily tell my kids, Okay you know how sometimes you know, they ta lk about persuasive writing, well in science exposition means this. Were gi ving information, but were kind of skewing the purpose behind it one way to get you to feel this certain way about this, you know, and believe th is, whereas discussion, were gonna talk about both sides of the story, you know, what whole, you know, I think it would be better for me to do it t hat way with my kids. (PD7-2/10/09)
223 The science teachers favored the idea of t he iterative teaching cycle. Even though they struggled with how to plan lessons and how to introduce the teaching cycle into their daily teaching practice, they saw va lue in engaging students in learning about the genres of science language. Bette summari zed her feelings about integrating the iterative genre teaching cycle into her plans. I think that again, this teaching cycl e of, you know, the immersion in the different types of genres and the attenti on to talking about the different, you know text structures and social purpos es and then allowing them to kind of jointly and then independently construct is a powerful model. I think it would take some dedication and some though t, but I think that its I think theres a lot of potential there. (FI-JB-6) Data analysis revealed two ways that t eachers chose to begin the implementation process of the iterat ive genre teaching cycle. First, some teachers concentrated on just one genre during their instructional lesson. Second, some science teachers introduced some or all of the genres at the same time. For example, Both Casey and Lisa introduced the genre lesson with just one genr e. In this case, both started with procedure because they felt that their students were most co mfortable with that one. Casey chose to focus her lesson on the proc edures for taking a pulse and taking blood pressure. She began by showing the students the written procedures for taking a pulse. She asked students to identify t he purpose of the type of writing. What would you call this? What is the authors purpose for writing this information? She then asked students to look at what kind of words the author used to achieve the purpose of giving the directions. S he pointed out the declarative words like secure, rest, and move. Next, she called students attention to the steps and the use of ordinal numbers in presentation of the information. After students practiced following the procedure of taking a pulse, Casey showed them a brief video on taking blood pressure.
224 She instructed the students to watch closely bec ause after the video, they were going to write the directions together as a cla ss for taking blood pressure. (3/2/09) Lisa also worked with the genre of procedure in her genre lesson. She gave the definition of a genre and then a br ief overview of each of the six categories. She then focused on a previous lab the students had completed on how to make their own oil spill. Lisa reviewed the pr ocedures step-by-step. In re flecting on her lesson, Lisa shared with the other science teachers: We talked about a social purpose, the text structure, the grammatical features, imperative and declarative sentences and such. We talked about action verbs, which they knew from FCAT work weve done before. Then I showed them the full procedure for the o il spill lab and talked about how it fit into the genre of procedure. Then, I asked them to describe the correct sequence in good detail of the procedure for setting up and using a standard microscope; include the steps fo r focusing the slide as well. Some of the kids were so precise they even wrote, Walk in the door, set down your gear, and put your things up, walk over to the microscope. Carry it, and a lot of them said, Whats the thing under the base called? They asked, Are we preparing the slide? They started using very sharp questions about the slide. Prepare or we have to make our slide and then as the slide is prepared you have to put it on the station and focus. A couple of them said, The big knob what is that called? I told them the course adjust So there was also a littl e discussion on terminology also. (PD7-2/10/09) Both Lisa and Casey focused on one genre to introduce the concept of genres to their students. Even though in the secondary setting, the goal is to move students to understanding how to read and write the genres of exposition and discussion, these teachers needed to start with a genre in which they had a certain comfort level. In addition, in both of these teachers classr ooms, labs were a prominent part of the curriculum, so following procedures was a familiar genre to the students also. Two other teachers chose to introduce a ll six genres to their students and asked students to read from multiple sources to identify the genr es. Brad began by revising the
225 presentation I had done for the teachers. He reviewed each genre with his students and had them read an example to demonstrate how that genre was organized. Brad shared the following in a prof essional development session: My students got it. They said, OK, to recount something is to remember, to recall, to report something you write a scientific report, its going to have steps. So we went over that and spent a lot of time on it. And then the third day I actually used the ones we did in here and we read them and tried to identify the correct genre. They did rea lly well except for the same two we had a problem with. The last day I just took four or five paragraphs out of the book. I said go to page 63 and r ead the second paragraphI picked the examples right from the book. By the end of the four days they thought it was easy. So it worked out pretty good. (PD8-03/10/09) Bette introduced genre to her students in a similar way. She introduced two genres at a time, grouping procedure and recount, report and explanation, and discussion and exposition. She found relevant examples of each genre and asked her students to try and correctly identify the genr e. Bette shared in the professional development session: I found a report on RNA. We talked about RNA and DNA. This is a report about RNA. They found this one pretty quickly I think. This one was explanation all about DNA. This is the one some of my kids, they werent sure if it was a report or explanati on. I heard them going back and forth like we were doing the last time. No that s a report. Thats an explanation. Look how much detail goes into it. I heard that. I was like very good! Something happened! It got them talki ng. I havent heard them talking so much, but I had to say I was excited to s ee that they actually got it and were trying. (PD8-03/10/09) Mona also introduced the genre teaching cycl e to her students by giving them multiple samples to read. She opened by tell ing students I want to prepare you to read all kinds of science. She found 25 different articles from contemporary sources like the daily newspaper or science magazines like National Geographic She passed out the articles and asked students to read their arti cle. Next, she posted the chart from the professional development se ssion explaining the six genr es on the overhead. Mona
226 then reviewed each genre, explai ning the text structure and t he grammatical features of each genre. Mona put the sample of a procedure on the overhead and asked, Who can tell me the difference between a declarative and an imperative sentence? We need to know this. Think about what you should have learn ed in English class. Can you identify declarative or imperative sent ences in this procedure? A student commented that the sentences that told the reader what to do were imperative because they were not regular sent ences. He pointed to the sentences that read cut one of index cards and Place the two halves of the index card over one of the holes. Mona checked for clarity of his comment about regular sentences. She asked if regular sentences were like Physical proper ties of matter include color and texture. When he agreed, she defined this type of sentence as a declarative sentence. Mona continued to explain each genre, showing an example of that genre and reviewing the social purpose, the text structure, and the gr ammatical features of that genre. (3/05/09) In her final interview, Lisa shared her opinion about her lesson on genres. She expressed that she was beginning to sens e a change in her own perceptions of how language was used in science. She was surprised when she spontaneously started to address the language featur es of the write-up of students lab reports. I actually sat in class the other day with my Marine Science II. They had to write up a report on a lab they did on oil pollution where they made their own oil spills. And I said when yo u read how to do the lab that was a procedure. Do this, do this, do this You had these verbs, you had this procedure, and it told you what to do. What I'm asking you for you're not reiterating procedure you're doing a repor t. You need to tell me not just the step that was the procedural step, but what did you observe happening. When you write all this up you are writ ing a report. You are giving me a summary of your findings. You have your data sheets. You have your procedure sheets. You put it all toget her in the blender and it comes out
227 the report. Do you understand the differenc e in the genre between procedure and report? And they got i t. The lights went on. (FI-VL-3) Billie also reflected on the teaching cycle. She decided to wait until she could collect more samples before she introduced it to her students. Billie was the only teacher who did not attempt a lesson during the research cycle. But, she had a plan. My plan for the next nine weeks is to work it into their current events. They are going to bring an article in and choose whatever genre it fits then explain why. So I will train them in t he genres first, and then we will move to that. Ill have to do a few examples befor e I let them off running. You know, like, they did, put some examples up and talk about what they think this one is and that kind of thing. So some of that training, per se, beforehand, but I think that one for the kids wont be that hard, because they do already do some of it. You know, they see proc edures. They you know, oh, thats a report. Well, they may not know its called that, but now theyll start to see that even within one there could be diffe rent genres that ar e there. (FI-JTB5) The science teachers attempted to integrat e the idea of genres in science reading in their classrooms in various ways. Thes e science teachers eit her introduced a single genre to the students or reviewed all six genres with their st udents. However, time was a factor in the teachers integration of the genre teaching cycle into their teaching. The teachers indicted more time would allow them to collect more samples of different genres and plan for how to use them to teac h the genres. In addition, the teachers lack of grammar knowledge further inhibited thei r level of confidence in talking about the grammatical features of each genre with their students. Lessons focused more on differences in purpose and structures of the language versus gr ammatical features. Overall, the science teachers supported the use of the genre teaching cycle in teaching about text structure in sci ence language despite their conc ern with the implementation process.
228 The science teachers demonstrated an emerging understanding about how science language worked to develop ideas in scientific texts. The science teachers favored using strategies that addressed technicality in their classrooms. This is not surprising due to the fact that the most se lf-reported reason for students struggle in reading science by these scienc e teachers was lack of vocabulary knowledge. Though teachers reported change in under standing that challenges in science texts could be attributed to more than vocabulary knowled ge, technicality was the area in which the teachers had the most prior knowledge and experience. Therefore, the science teachers admitted that integrating the technicality strategies into their teaching was the easiest and most comfortable. This is not to say that teachers did not value what they learned about abstraction, density and genres in science language. When presented with the concepts of abstraction, density, and genres, the teachers agreed with the postulate that these were reasons that science reading could be a challenge for students. However, these concepts were more distant from their prio r knowledge of teaching reading in science and therefore the science teachers were more tentative about using the ideas with their students. In addition, the t eachers lack of confidence in their own knowledge of grammar in English influenced their implementation processes. Finally, the issue of time continued to impact the science teachers ability to plan, implement, and reflect on what they were learning about science lang uage. However, even though the teachers struggled with the integration of these strate gies into their teaching, all seven of the teachers were excited about learning about the features of science language and reported they would revisit the ideas and in corporate them more in the future.
229 Conclusion This chapt er illuminated the experiences of the science teachers as they participated in the professional development modules. Teachers were excited to learn about disciplinary reading practices in sci ence. The science teachers had a raised awareness now about how the features of science language posed challenges to readers and could contribute to why students did not want to read science texts. After learning about the features of science langua ge, the teachers felt they were equipped with a new set of tools to help their students. The science teachers demonstrated an emerging understanding about the complexity of science language. The teac hers embraced learning about technicality, abstractions, density, and genres and willingly tried strategies in their classrooms to address each feature. Chapt er 7 will address the influences on how the science teachers learned about the specializ ed features of science language.
230 Table 6-1. Density Sample Pre modifiers During facilitated diffusion Head noun Molecules Postmodifiers Such as glucose That cannot diffuse across the cell membranes lipid bilayer On their own
231 Figure 6-1. Caseys Concept Map Osteogenisis imperfecta osteo im perfect genesis Flawless not Beginning, formation, start bone Book in the Bible, generate, genetic osteoporosis Improper, impossible, immobile perfection
232 CHAPTER 7 DISCUSSION The purpos e of this chapter is to di scuss how secondary science teachers learn about the specialized language of science and apply it to the teaching of reading in science. In this chapter I will articulate the relationship between the influences that either supported or interf ered with the process of science teachers learning and integrating teaching strategies into their instructional routines. Chapters 5 and 6 articulated the teachers prior concepts a ssociated with reading in science and what the teachers learned in the professional developm ent modules. Further analysis shed light on what impacts the learning process of se condary science teachers in their study of science language. This chapter is organized in to three sections: (a) theorizing about teacher learning (b) implicati ons and (c) future research. Theorizing about Teacher Learning In order to portray t he grounded theory of how sec ondar y science teachers learn about the specialized language of science and apply it to their teaching, a model was created to show the interrelationship between the influences on teachers learning and integration. This model serves to explain the influences that either facilitated or inhibited science teachers learning. Figure 7-1 illustrates the grounded theory which shows the interplay between (a) the three systems: the individual, the pr ofessional development program, and the school contex t and (b) the core concept: opportunity to talk Within each system, various components contributed to the nature of the core concept: opportunity to talk
233 The core concept, opportunity to talk emerged as the most in fluential factor in how the science teachers learned about the features of science la nguage. Data showed that the teachers highly valued time to talk about what they were learning. Having an opportunity to talk about the distinct features of scienc e language impacted the science teachers evaluation of information, their decisions about impl ementation, and their assessment of instruction. The concept of opportunity to talk is multifaceted. On one level, the science teachers addressed the importance of the content of their talk including talk about the new information, talk about how to implement it into the classroom, and talk about how the lessons were executed in the classroom. On another level, the science teachers addressed the importance of who they were talking to including other science teachers who were participating in the workshop, fe llow science teachers, and me-the facilitator. On a third level, the teachers addressed the context of these conversations including formal settings like the professional develop ment meetings or scheduled one-on-one meetings with me or informal settings like in the teachers lounge, at lunch, catching me in the hallway between classes, or email communications. Figure 7.1 illustrates the grounded t heory model on how secondary science teachers learn about science la nguage. The core concept opportunity to talk is represented at the intersecti on of the three concentric circles, each representing a system that influenced the natur e of the core concept. These three systems (a) the individual, (b) the professi onal development, and (c) the school context contain various influences within that impact the process of learning about science language. Each system can exist independently or in congrue nce with the others ther efore, the circles
234 are represented independently and intertwined. However, it is through the interaction of the systems that the opportunity to talk is created and in turn t he process of learning is impacted. The circles are connected to the core conc ept with arrows in either direction to represent the fluid nature of these inters ections. Though we can draw conclusions across cases about the learning process of the science teachers, it is important to acknowledge the unique nature of learning each science teacher engages in during this process of learning. Therefore, the li nes and arrows between the systems and the core concept represent the fluid and unpredictable movements of the circles as they intersect. At anytime the components wit hin each system can have greater or less influence on the opportunity to talk and essentially on the science teachers learning process. Description of Systems Each system is labeled as an opportunity because the variables combine in that system to offer an opportunity, or time, fo r learning to happen for the science teachers. The three labels are (a) The individual: opportunity to examine (b) The professional development: opportunity to learn and (c) The school context: opportunity to practice. To begin, I will describe each system and its variables. The system of the individ ual is made up of the follo wing components: (a) prior knowledge, (b) prior experiences, (c) beliefs, (d) attitudes, (e) goals for teaching, and (f) knowledge acquisition. These components ar e all part of the individual teachers beginning frame of reference. In this case, identification of these influences provides insight into each science teachers percepti on about the role of reading in the secondary science classroom. This system is labeled opportunity to examine because it is through
235 the interaction with the core concept of opportunity to talk that the science teachers examine their own personal constructs and determine how those constructs interact with the other system s in the model to influence thei r process of learning about science language. For example, Caseys prior k nowledge about the word abstraction interfered with her understanding of how abstraction was us ed to theorize in science writing. She examined her prior knowledge of abstraction by comparing what she knew to the discussion of abstraction in science language that happened in the professional development setting to reframe her understandi ng about abstraction. In another case, Bette reported how her experience taking cla sses in medical terminology convinced her of the necessity of knowing the definitions of root words and affixes to be able to analyze technical words in science. So, when t he topic of technicality was addressed in the workshop, Bette moved easily into adopti ng practices into her classroom to teach students how to analyze words by the word parts. The new information from the professional development re inforced her prior knowledge and experience and gave her tools to help her students learn. The system of professional development is labeled opportunity to learn because it affords the teachers the time to study and th ink about relevant information pertaining to science language and reading. Pr ofessional development includes the following components: (a) expert knowledge, and (b) fa cilitator. The fi rst component, expert knowledge, includes the books, articles, and pr esentations that t he science teachers review in order to access knowledge about the specialized language of science. In this case, another important point is that the in formation was discipline-focused. The books, articles, and presentations c entered on science and reading.
236 Another component of the professional development system is the facilitator. The facilitator links the expertise from the field to the expertise of the classroom teachers. By providing articles, books, and information to the teachers about reading and science, the facilitator sets the st age for opportunities for the science teachers to engage in learning about the complexity of scienc e language. In addition, the facilitator demonstrates lessons to show the science teachers how the ideas and strategies from the literature work. The facilitator serves in various roles to support the teachers learning. For example, in this study I se rved in the professiona l development modules to present information and monitor discussion s and in the classrooms I served as a participant-observer, co-t eacher, and demonstrator. The components from the prof essional development system interact with the core concept of opportunity to talk in various ways. First of a ll, the professi onal development system provides a context in which the opport unity to talk can exist. As the teachers learn about the ideas from the content of the professional development modules, they then discuss what they are learning with t heir peers and the facilitator. For example, when I presented a strategy like sentence completion when we were learning about abstraction, the science teacher s talked about how they t hought through the process of doing the exercise, comparing answers with one another and thinking out loud about how it could be used in the science classroom. The final system is the school context which also includes the classroom. The general school context includes administrator s upport and school culture. In this case, the administration encouraged t he science teachers to be a par t of this study. In addition, the administration provided opportunities for teachers to meet in book study
237 groups and attend state level conferences. Also, the school culture was safe and orderly, creating an atmosphere conducive to learning and teaching. The classroom contains the com ponents of student learning and teacher integration. This system is represented within the sc hool context circle because it exists within the school context and is influenced by the administrative support and school climate. This system is labeled opportunity to practice because it is within this system that teachers integrate the lessons about the speciali zed language of science and determine the efficacy of the approach. St udent learning is a key component of the classroom because if the teacher perceiv ed that students were learning, they responded positively to the strategies. The relationship between the classroom and the core concept works in two directions. For example, Brad tried a technicality lesson in his classroom to get his students to analyze t he word classification. He was pleased with the students response to the strategy and perceived that it improved their learning. When Brad met with the group of teachers during the pr ofessional development meeting, he then shared his experience using the technicality strategy in his classroom. This scenario represents the flow from the system of the cla ssroom to the core concept. In turn, when Brad shared, Billie listened to his experience and then took it back to her classroom and used the same strategy. In th is case, the flow moved from the core concept of opportunities to talk about practice to the system of the classroom. This grounded theory model represents the interrelationships between the three systems: the individual, the professiona l development, and the school context. When these systems interact the most influential fa ctor on science teachers learning was the opportunity to talk The components of each system in teracted with the core concept to
238 influence the content and context of the talk that in turn influenced the levels of teacher learning and integration of the specialized language of science. The following sections will provide greater detail about the core concept and how the components from each of the systems interact with the core concept to either facilitate or hinder the process of learning. Core Concept: Opportuniti es to Talk About Practice Evidenc e from data analysis showed that the science teachers in this study valued having the opportunity to talk about what they were learning about science language and how they were integrating it in their classroom. The opportunity to talk proved to be the greatest contributor to how the sci ence teachers acquired knowledge. The composition of opportunity to talk included the location, the content, and the participants. Figure 7.2 shows the model of the core concept of opportunity to talk The first component to consider is the lo cation of the opportunity to talk. The science teachers talked about the importance of talking about their learning in both formal and informal settings. The breadth of the data collected addressed the formal setting of the professional development sessions or a planned meeting with me, the facilitator. These formal settings served as the impetus for other places where opportunities to talk emerged. Interestingly, a small amount of data also indicated that informal settings like spontaneous conversations in the hallway or email communications also influenced the science teachers learning process. The professional development system however emerged as the most influential location because it created the context for the opportunity to talk to happen. The science teachers repeatedly acknowledged how talking with one another during the professional development meetings was useful. Pat sy commented during her final
239 interview, I feel the discussions are defin itely helpful (FI-PB-20) Within this system, the time was set aside for the teachers to talk about what they were learning. The learning generated in the discussion would then carry over to other contexts for opportunities to talk to occur such as with a facilitator during a conference or with a colleague over lunch. For the science teachers, the opportuniti es to talk during the professional development modules is where teachers m ade decisions about the usefulness of a concept presented during the workshops. The teachers indicated that listening to one another share stories about integr ation influenced their decisions to try an idea in their classroom. The science teachers also said that talking about the concepts with one another helped them to make s ense out of what they were learning. In addition, listening to each other influenced teachers confidence levels. If another teacher struggled with implementing an idea, t he science teachers appreciated hearing the story. Sharing both successes and failure s supported the science teachers learning process. An influencing factor in the professi onal development modules was the format. The format was significant in facilitating t he opportunity for the science teachers to talk about their learning. The science teachers addressed conditions of the format such as the size of the group and the background of the teachers as influential to their willingness to share and learn. That the teachers were all from the same school and they all taught science proved to be significant. Because the science teachers all knew one another prior to the study, they felt comfortable shar ing ideas and experiences with one another. Mona articulated t he importance of this during her mid-term interview:
240 It's [the professional developmen t modules] been nicely organized and friendly. We all know each other wh ich is a big change. Most of my classes are not like that. I might be the only one from my school and some I've been the only one from my school di strict. So thats a big difference too. I really like the fact that we are all working on this together. It's really been nice. (MT-BM-6) Bette also agreed that the format of t he workshop influenced her involvement with learning about the content of the professional development modules. For Bette, the small group setting was different from ot her experiences she has had in workshop settings. But I liked it. It was good. I think a lot of times teachers may be doing stuff and not even know the terms. But knowing the terms and then really seeing it play out you know in a wor kshop and then with your class and then coming back and discussing, "How di d it go?" and hearing from other people, I think that was good to see how things worked out. But yeah, compared to other workshops like I said I don't even really recall what [chuckling] what the other ones were really about. So formal versus informal, I like smaller groups or if it's a large workshop it's gotta be someone who is who knows what t hey are talking about and someone who will keep the attention of the t eachers. Because te achers don't wanna be in a big boring workshop that tells them the same things they heard a year ago but forgot because it was t oo much information at the time. (MTJB-8) Bettes comment also raised a point about liking the structur e of the format: learning about a topic, practicing it in the classroom, and then returning to the group for feedback. Casey echoed Bettes viewpoint in the following statement form her final interview: I liked the format of the workshop, where we discussed and learned about one of the reasons why reading science is different. We learned about it our self and became aware of it, and then the application format, where you could then try the strategy and put it into use it, so to speak. I like that format. (FI-MC-4) This format of introducing an idea, discu ssing it, planning to use it, and then sharing the results supported the teachers learning about science language and
241 applying it to teaching reading in science. The science teachers valued the time during the professional devel opment sessions to discuss the new information and hear from one another about the implementation process. When t eachers were presented with a new idea during the professional development sessions, they had an opportunity to discuss the validity of the idea and how it mi ght impact their teachi ng. They were then presented with a model lesson about how to int egrate the concept into their teaching. Teachers actually participated in the lessons as students and had an opportunity to talk about how they interpreted the lesson. Afte r trying the lesson, teachers were given the opportunity to plan together. Finally, after the teacher had implemented the lessons, they had the opportunity during the next meeting to share th eir experiences with the group. Informal locations also played a role in setting the stage for opportunities to talk. There was a small amount of evidence that teachers also were talking about the ideas from the workshop with one anot her or other colleagues in settings outside of the workshop. For example, in a professional development meeting, Bette and Billie shared a story about Bette watching Billie do a lesson when she used the morphemic analysis to dissect the word semi-conductor Bette told the group that it was helpful to watch Billie and see her doing the lesson. Bette further commented during an interview about where she learns about ideas for the classroom. She said. I know that I get a lot of what I do from other teachers. I ask. I think that's the best way to learn. You know just ask people at lunch, "Hey, what's the bes t way you teach voc ab? (MT-JB-6). In another instance, Mona shared that she used email to talk about idea with colleagues. She sent me a copy of an email that she had distributed to her colleagues
242 who were teaching physical science. In an email communication she attached three samples and wrote: Hi, Billie and I have been in a group thats working on reading in science. One of the exercises weve tried is reading modeling for sentence completion. Ive made a couple of these sentence completion exercises that received good student response and wanted to share with you. (EC-11/19/08) The teachers also used this setting to communicate with me about their lesson planning and responses to what they were learning about the specialized language of science. For example, Patsy sent an email describing her implement ation of a strategy: We used sentence transformation to break down and analyze some very technical concepts. Every one admitted that before the discussion, they had no idea what the words meant. They had read and reread the description many times on their own. But after our discussion (and the sentence transformation) where they broke the content down and analyzed it, then put it into their own words (o r listened and internalized to the other students), that the Calvin Cycle was abl e to be understood after all. Yeah! Mission accomplished! This skill will serve them oh so well in college!!! (EC-PB-11/12/08) The location of the opportunity to talk varied. While the formal setting of the professional development wa s the most significant, informal settings like teachers classrooms and email communications also se rved to provide places where teachers could talk about their learning. Another significant factor that facilitated the teac hers learning during the opportunities to talk was the content of the discussions. Through data analysis, three areas of talk were identified: (a) talkin g about concepts, (b) talking about planning for instruction, and (c) talking about implementati on. The first area, talking about concepts, gave the teachers an opportunity to examine the professional liter ature and examples and talk about their interpretations and evaluations of the material. For example, during the professional development module about genres, the science teachers read about
243 genres in science reading and then were provi ded with examples of the types of genres. The science teachers then work ed together to analyze excerpts of science text. In response to the genre information, Patsy stat ed: I definitely liked with the genres, when you gave us the examples and then allowed us the opportunity to discuss them (FI-PB23). The next topic identified in the analysis was talk about planning for instruction. During planning, several factors interact ed to influence the talk about practice. Evidence of teachers analyzing prior kno wledge, referring to expert knowledge, and thinking about goals for student learning were seen. For example, Brad said he liked hearing what his peers had to say during planni ng so that he had a clearer sense of how to do it in his own classroom. Brad used this time to think about his own interpretations of the expert knowledge and his own experiences in teaching a particular idea to plan for how he was going to im plement an idea that he believed could impact student learning. In an interview Brad explai ned, Yeah, you just-, you bounce ideas off each other in planning and stuff like that, where its like, oh, what do you do? or what do you do?, and if I get a good idea, Im, like, okay. You know, and then its just implementing it (FI-MB-12). Patsy also valued the opportunities to talk about planning during the professional development modules. During her final inte rview she shared that the opportunities to talk during the planning stage was useful to her. She appreciated the time to hear what other teachers were doing because it is a ra re part of high school teaching to have a chance to talk with your peers about planning lessons. Ive always been a proponent for networki ng. To have the opportunity to sit down with my fellow science teachers and say, Well, what works for you?
244 Oh, well I could change that for biology and work it in and see if that works for my students. Im so big on networking, and I think its a shame that they dont give us that opportunity as much you know. Not in high school. I think theyre better at that at element ary when they have teams. And I think thats something that we lose when we are at the secondary level. We work independently on planning our lessons, but we dont wo rk as a team. And so I think that thats something that we kind of lose. (FI-PB-20) Evidence from the professional developm ent sessions showed that the science teachers used that time to think about how the strategies could be used in their classrooms. For example, when we talked about genres, the science teachers discussed ways they could address genres in their classrooms. Bette: Yeah, but also, as I was reading through this page 27, just the whole preparation part where it says collect sa mple, I think thats huge. Thats where, as a teacher, I need to kind of really work on that is collecting samples, just being proactive and look ing outside of my textbook to go to the internet and articles and stuff like that, you know, to really pull some examples. Billie: You could take even like my weekly news I just read this note for myself, but the weekly news article that I have my kids did pick a couple of these that would typically be in lik e an online internet because some of them could be multiple ones or whatever and talk to them about it and then okay, these are your choices. Why did you pick this? Explain. Give me supporting information about kind of lik e we did verbally but have them write about that with their, you know, they find the article that interests them, but then they have to choose whic h genre it is or whatever, like we did, and write about it, you know, a paragraph or whatever, something short. Lisa: At first as we were thinking about this, my first t hought was just on procedures, so I can give the students even examples in the book. This is the subject. Now how are we gonna st udy it? And I have done that already a couple of times this year, so th is would not be new, but the business about discussion, exposition, you know, all that, that would be a little bit new. But procedures wouldnt be, so I feel really comfortable with that. Casey: So we can pick just one, expose them to that a nd then eventually and then have them write, get to the point of their writing it rather than exposing them to all of them? Patsy: I think theyve seen them separately, these ideas. I think it would be neat to do two that are related, like procedures and recounts or like
245 exposition and discussion. I think that would be ea sy to not easy, but I would, you know, somewhat easily tell my kids, Okay you know how sometimes you know, they talk about persuasive writing, well in science exposition means this. Were giving information, but were kind of skewing the purpose behind it one way to get you to feel this certain way about this, you know, and believe this, whereas discussion, were gonna talk about both sides of the story, you know, what whole, you know, I think it would be better for me to do it that way with my kids. I think we would understand. Otherwise, its just like, Okay, this is a discussion or this is you know another one. Bette: Yeah, and then what you could do is you can say, Okay, well what are the words there that make you s ee that theyre, like Lisa, when you were reading that one that you diagnosed as exposition, you picked up specific words that were convincing you that this person was trying to persuade you that an eco system was you know, a certain way theyre trying to get you to believe something. So again, that putting them side by side can allow you to take that fo cus of, well hows t he language different in this, Billie also valued being able to share ideas with her peers. She felt when she heard a fellow teacher talk about how to use an idea in a particular area of science, then she could think more easily about how to ap ply it to her own lessons. She described how hearing Brad talk about genres was useful to her: I liked when we all got together, because, again, I do physical science. So some of it was nice to see how other people used it in their area, because it wasnt all physical science. You know, biology even though it was a biology teacher, you know, when Brad used some examples of genres or something that he did, then I was, like, oh, well, that sounds so easy. (FIJTB-12) The final topic of talk was implementation. In this se tting the dominant influence was student learning. The teachers shar ed the successes and challenges of their lessons. The science teachers found it wort hwhile to talk about the process of implementing the strategies once the lessons were delivered. Listening to the experiences of another teacher helped the sci ence teachers evaluate their own success at implementing the ideas. Fo r example, Billie commented:
246 So once we were together and talked ab out it, you develop somewhat of a better understanding, because youre, like, oh, I could have done that one. When we got together and were able to meet and talk about what worked, what didnt work, difficultiesthat helped because we all didnt have the same experience with it. Some peopl e were, like, oh, thats so easy and other people were, like, yeah, had a little trouble with that one (FI-JTB-20). Bette also commented about how listening to her peers helped her to better understand the information about science language. She said: Getting in the group settings is great because everybody shares how it impacted them and youre like, Well I di dnt see it that way. And when you hear everybodys little like oh this is what happened in my class you can kind of see how those little puzzle pieces fit together. (MT-JB-8) Lisa echoed the sentiment that getting toget her to share ideas was important to her inhelping her make sense of how the new id eas fit into her teac hing repertoire. She stated, It put us in contact with each other which to me is extremely important to share ideas and find out what's working and figure out the things that were universally working for us (MT-VL-18). Bette also valued the f eedback from her peers, I definitely think, when other teachers gave examples of what t hey did and how they used these tools in the classthat was good for me to hear that. I actually did pull a couple of their activities and use them for myself (FI-JB-8). Having the opportunity to talk about scienc e language and how to bring it into the classroom was important to the science teachers. Being able to discuss the new ideas and the experiences of implementing lessons into the classroom influenced how the teachers learned about the conc epts and then took them into their classrooms. Mona clearly summarized this point during her final interview when she said: Probably more understanding came from our group discussions than from any other single source. Having the slides in front of us of course is a big help. But listening to what the other teachers have done; what they found successful; what they think could be c hanged, that was worth it. (FI-BM-7)
247 The final aspect of the opportunity to talk that was important was the participants. Who was involved in the discussions impacted the science teachers learning. First of all, the science teachers valued hearing ideas from one another. In the final professional development meeting, Lisa shared her fee lings about the experience with her peers. Having the opportunity to talk with her peers was influential in her learning process. And I just want to add I just love being here with all you guys because you push my envelope all over the place. Sa ying thats a cool idea, I didnt think about that, demystify science. (Laughter) That just popped through my head and I get very tired and jaded doing the same old thing about the end of the day Im like, Oh God. And a lot of this is just Ive never thought about doing that. So its been good for me to get reflective and to change a few things. (PD-VL-04-21) The next participant that influenced the opportunities to talk was the interactions between the facilitator and the science teachers. As the facilitator, I had an opportunity to be a part of the science teac hers process of learning. Data showed that the science teachers valued the role I played in facilit ating the opportunities to talk during the professional development m eetings. When the teachers fe lt that their ideas were valued, they felt comfortable in sharing and talking during the meetings. Each week I summarized what the teachers had talked about during the previous professional development meeting and posted it on the overhead for review. Lisa commented about this practice when she said: And then the fact that you're liste ning to what we say and giving us feedback. When you gave us the handout la st week thats like Here's what you said it's like oh, I do have val ue. Even more feedback. You're handling all of us testy at the end of the day peopl e very well. (FI-VL-9) Another aspect of how I facilitated talk was in providing time for the science teachers to process their understanding with one another by either responding to a concept or practicing a lesson. For exampl e, when we would read about a topic, like
248 abstraction, I might present an idea to them like: Abstract nouns like discovery and significance help an author to write on a theoretical level. Then I would ask them to talk about it. Patsy shared her response to this strategy: I feel the discussions are definitely helpf ul. I like the fact that sometimes you let us struggle, you know, and because you know these things and we dont, were like not a clue. Okay, well what lets try to make some sense out of this. And so I thought that was good to, that you didnt always give us all the information right away, that you kind made us dig for it because thats a challenge for us, and we like to be challenged. (FI-PB-20) Following is an excerpt from the session about abstraction in science language. As the facilitator, I worked with the teachers to understand what thinking processes they were using as they considered which words fit into the sentence completion exercise. This is the conversation that happened a fter the science teachers participated as students in a demonstration lesson. Facilitator: That is that during part of reading part that is hard to get kids to do. See this really, when he expresses thoughts you see, think about what his mind went through. Anyone else w ant to share kind of went their mind through and what they think? Casey: The key thing for me on this is I immediately think onto migration because of the head north. That just smacked me right upside the head that there was a very s pecific word dealing with w hat should go in the blank because heading north or heading south indicates by its very nature the word migration. Facilitator: Right. Bette: And then after Im like Casey. So after I said migration I thought, Well, maybe thats too easy. So I went back and looked to see if there was something more appropriate that w ould also equally well fit in there. And I couldnt find anything I liked as well as migration. And of course, being a science teacher Im looking for a scientific term whereI think sometimes with kids when they see a blank they just want to slap any word in there. Theyll go into traveling is long and dangerous. Eating is long and dangerous. Swimming is long and dangerou s. Or the journey is long and dangerous. Just to get a word or phr ase or something in there without really taking a moment to stop and think about heading north and what that,
249 you know indicates in there. They want to get the item fi nished. Ill stop at word that is good but not necessa rily appropriate or best. Facilitator: One thing that youve really rais ed here is that kids are used to the very traditional, whats the right word? Whats the right word Ive got to put in here? Theyre not looking to think about it. And we heard that a couple times with yours yesterday. Mona: We sure did. Facilitator: I think I wrote down six times ye sterday when kids said, Whats the right word? Whats the right word t hat I have to have in there? So this is stressful to them. And thats why it takes a little bit of coaching for them to start to think differently. And you can even take some of these like that might not necessarily be related to what youre doing, where you find things to get them to just start focusing on language. Cause maybe if you take one like this to give them as an exampl e and do it the first like five minutes of class, theyre not gonna feel threatened by it because its not about your topic. But its like a daily kind of or al, a little language exercise. You could do it for a couple weeks and then move them into things that are more related to your topic. But what this does is it takes the focus off of the right word and gets them to start looking at the language. You can start having conversations about, well scientists, anybody who writes, picks very specific words to try to explain something. The word used in this is the northbound journey. This is from a textbook. Bu t all those other words make sense. (PD4-12/9-9) Another way the facilitator influenced the opportunities to talk was through providing model lessons for the teachers. This gave the teachers a chance to participate in the lesson as a learner and then talk about the strategy and its usefulness. Billie commented about how havin g an opportunity to talk with each other while they did practice lessons was useful to her. You know how you gave us those examples that we worked through the last time and that okay now I see how the students could have done this cause we all came up with different answers. You know the students are gonna do the same thing. (MT-JTB-8) The facilitator also impacted the opportuniti es to talk outside of the professional development sessions. For example, the opportunity to talk about a lesson either
250 during or after the implementation influenced the science teachers learning about the specialized language of science. In the following example, Patsy shared during an interview how I had helped her think about how to respond to a student who asked a question about a technical word. In this case, the student asked her to explain the word surrogate as it appeared in a sentence referring to a cat as a surrogate mother in an article about a wildcat. Remember you talked me through t hat the one day with the one question that Derrick had asked about what you think that surrogate means. Well look on the next page and the next paragr aph; let's look at that and now do you have a better feel for what it might mean instead of just here's the dictionary, let's look it up. (MT-PB-1) Being involved in the classrooms allowed me to have time to talk to the teachers about their lessons and participate in the teaching process. Brad described how my presence in the classroom encouraged him to try the lessons. Before each lesson we delivered together, we had an opportunity to talk about it and then after we had a chance to process it. During the study we co-taught fo ur lessons. Brad responded to this in his interview: For me, the best thing was having you and, you know, I did some things myself, but when and, you know sometimes were too hard headed to ask, but when you came in and I realized that, oh, yes, she has no problem getting up and teaching this stuff, cause me seeing it in action with kids is more helpful to me. (FI-MB-9) In addition, spontaneous conversations in the hallway or lounge supported the teachers endeavors in implementing the strategies into their classrooms. For example, Casey stopped me in the hall one day to shar e with me about her tech nicality lesson. I asked her to compare how the lesson that she did using a word analysis map differed from previous ways that she addressed techni cal words in science. She said, I used to give the kids a list of words to memorize but I like this because they are more involved
251 in breaking it down. We continued to talk about how the lesson allowed the students to become more involved in understanding the language of science. Meeting in the hallway was an opportune time when the lesson wa s fresh in her mind to think about the lesson (FN-10-27-08). In another instance, Brad shared with me that he did not understand how to find words for abstraction. During his midterm interview, he shared his confusion about the concept. We've gone over that we modeled that twice in class, and then we talked about it a lot in our meeting. I just have a hard time implementing that into class, because because when we read through the paragraphs and we were pointing out what kind of word it is I'm just not even sure what kind of word it is myself. (MT-MB-6) We then met during his planning period and look ed through his textbook for examples. I explained that the big mistake I was noticing was that teachers were choosing technical words that were hard to reword instead of science words that were abstract nouns and could be broken down and explained through refer ence to other parts of the text. We looked at a sentence in his text book that contained the words blastula and formation We discussed how formation summarized the prev ious part of the text but blastula was a specific word for science with a particular def inition. This opportunity to talk gave Brad a chance to ask questions and rece ive feedback from me. (FN-12-08-08). Being able to meet with a facilitator and have an opportunity to talk about the strategies was important to the science teachers. Re ceiving feedback about their lesson implementation and their understanding of the concepts supported the teachers learning about the specialized language of science. When asked about what was the most influential to her learning proce ss during her midterm interviews, Casey responded, I guess if you had to pick one thing as being most important it would be the
252 feedback. Cause typically its just you go to a workshop, they show you something, you try it and thats kind of it, yeah. So yeah, I think the feedback is really good (MT-MC-4). The opportunity to talk emerged in the data as the most important influence on how the science teachers lear ned about the specialized l anguage of science. Without opportunities to talk about practice, the sci ence teachers level of learning would not have been as substantial. In the same r egard, the level of learning could have been improved with increased opportunities to ta lk and improvement in the quality of talk. Four other factors also em erged in the data as influentia l to the science teachers learning process: (a) time (b ) motivation to learn, (c) pr ior knowledge, (d) access to expert knowledge. The following section wi ll illuminate how thes e component concepts interacted to either support or inhibit the science teachers learning. Motivation to Learn Motivation to learn was a component of the individual system. This component was influenced by and interacted with the oppor tunities to talk to impact the science teachers learning about the specialized language of science. The component of motivation to learn includes teachers goal s for student learning and their perceived value of the information in the pr ofessional development sessions. To begin, the science teachers started this journey in learning about the specialized language of science with motivati on to know about better ways to help their students improve their reading in science. In her personal statement Bette wrote, I would like to learn new reading strategies fo r technical reading, reading for content so I can help my students, especially my lower levels (PS-JB-5). Casey wrote, I hope to gain specific strategies to enhance my students reading comprehension of science information (PS-MC-5). A nd Mona stated she was interested in helping my students
253 move to higher levels in reading and especia lly in finding new reasons doing reading for comprehension rather than fluency (BPS-BM-5). Patsy elaborated in her mid-term interview about her motivation to be a part of the study. She emphasized the goal of helping students improve their reading for life-long learning. I think its essential that as foundati onal teachers here in high school, we prepare them for that, and gi ve them the tools so they can be successful. And those who dont go on to coll ege are still gonna have to read a proposition to vote on. Theyre still gonna have to break it down and understand. And if we give them those tools, t hen that helps them to become a better citizen for our society. (FI-PB-10) The science teachers approached the professional development with motivation to help their students become better readers of sci ence. This motivation was maintained and supported through their interaction with other teachers during their opportunities to talk during the professiona l development meetings. The science teachers were motivated by the ideas and experiences shared by other teachers. For example, Lisa explained her view on how the group work ed together to motivate one another: The group, we sort of morphed into one as opposed to being disparate as we came in. And okay they teach this and I teach that and pretty soon we're like I tried this; it worked really we ll. Oh that I didnt think about that one. And I liked sparking off of other teachers (FI-VL-8). Another influence on teachers motivation wa s their perception that the information they were learning was useful to their teac hing. One reason the science teachers were motivated by the content of the professional developm ent modules was due to the disciplinary-focus of the mate rial. The science teachers valued that the content of the professional development wa s focused on science. Chapter 5 addressed that many of these teachers had experiences learning about reading in the content areas that addressed generalized strategies and then the teachers were left to figure out how to
254 apply the ideas on their own to reading in sci ence. Casey compared her experience in other workshops to this one and said, I th ink that what we l earned about in this workshop, these strategies are more specific for science (MT-MC-4). The science teachers thought it was useful in this professional development experience that the informa tion they were learning about science language was content focused. For example, Billie explained how she liked the focus on science because she could see the direct application to her own teaching. I would say I like this because its I havent really had any workshops that were content, true content oriented. They might have been content oriented in the sense that they talked about some things you could do in other fields, but this kinda broke it down more specific in Okay this is the reason kids struggle, these are the things that they do to the wording and the vocabulary and the language that ma ke it hard for kids to read in science then I think, OhI get that. (MT-JTB-3) Bette also commented about the usefulness of the information being specific to science. Due to the nature of science language, she felt it was important to address the reading in science separately from other content areas. But with the tools and things that we ta lked about, it was, like, specific, a lot more specific. Not that you couldnt use those same things in other areas, but the stuff we talked about was science specific, because it is more complicated and it is more informational, shoved into one little space. So I think its definitely very helpful to do the content specific, because even if you did one with history, its gonna be di fferent than you would with science, cause theres gonna be pieces that vary. (FI-JB-9) The science teachers continued to be mo tivated throughout the professional development training because they believed the information they were learning was easily and appropriately applicabl e to their teaching of scienc e. Patsy summarized the value she found in the new strategies she learned through the professional development:
255 And as a teacher you are aware that t hey dont all love science. And some of them, theyll say, M s. Patsy, its nothing personal. I just dont like science. And so that, to me, is a goal that I try to change that for them. And I think giving them the understandi ng, the tools, the some of the strategies that Ive learned will help with that. (FI-PB-9). Lisa also described how what she was learning supported her desire to help students improve their reading. And this was so indescribably helpful and that with all the FCAT pressure on us to help these children even wit h FCAT, science, reading and writing you feel helpless because you dont have the tools or the clues or know where to go. It's like okay we have to change out the engine in the car but I dont know which screwdrivers to use, this kind of thing. And this gave us a whole box full of tools t hat are eminently useable. I really feel more empowered to help the students deal with all these aspects. (FI-VL-4) Billie expressed her motivation to continue trying to implement the ideas into her classroom beyond the ending of the professional development. I feel like regardless of the total out come Im gonna walk away with tools to help my students. It may not be a perfect year this y ear with it, but at least as the year progresses I can integrate a lot of the stuff into what Im already doing and its not like, its not that much extra. A bell activity maybe instead of two or three minutes it takes five, but in the end its a concept they understand instead of a voc ab definition (MT-JB-8) The component of motivation to learn was influential on the teachers learning about the specialized features of science language. The teachers entered the study with a desire to gain knowledge about how to help their students improve their reading. They maintained their motivation by list ening to one another during the professional development meetings and perceiving that the information they were learning was valuable to their teaching. Prior Knowledge Prior knowledge served as another influent ial construct in the system of the indiv idual. When the science teachers lear ned about the concepts of technicality,
256 abstraction, density, and genres, their prior knowledge of these ideas impacted their understanding of the topic. For example, the topic of techni cality was closely related to teachers prior knowledge of vocabulary so t he teachers expressed ease in integrating strategies for coping with technicality into their teaching. However, the topic of abstraction was challenging because the science teachers prior knowledge about abstraction hindered their new understanding about how the concept related to science language. Casey commented that she struggled to get past the notion that abstract did not just mean an idea that you could not see but a way that scientists manipulated the language to continue talking about an important concept. One area that was particularly challe nging to the teachers was identifying grammatical structures used in science lang uage. Teachers lacked confidence in their own knowledge of grammar and felt this hindered their understanding, especially of the features of density and genres. When teachers talks about density, they often did not address the embedded clauses and when probed about why, talked about their level of comfort with teaching grammar. Bette even commented that if the English teachers would teach the grammar, t hen in science the teachers could just talk about it and students could already get the grammar part of it. The science teachers understood how the grammatical features played a role in the structure of science language when it was discussed and pointed out during the prof essional development modules, however, they were reluctant to teach about the grammatical structures in their own classrooms. Billie even mentioned she wished she would have paid better attention in English class so that she better understood grammar and coul d talk to her students about declarative
257 sentences and embedded clauses. The teacher s prior knowledge about grammar in English served to hinder their understanding of how language functioned in science. Prior knowledge therefore either served to fa cilitate or inhibit the science teachers process of learning about the specializ ed language of science. When their prior knowledge was closely associated with an id ea, like vocabulary to technicality, the teachers prior knowledge comp limented their learning. Ho wever, when teachers prior knowledge was lacking, they struggled to un derstand. For exampl e, when they were faced with applying their knowledge of grammar to their understanding of science language, they were less comfortable and re quired much more support in developing their confidence and understanding. Access to Knowledge Another component that influenced the t eachers learning was their access to expert knowledge. The science teachers appreciated r eading inf ormation from experts in the field of science and literacy that address ed the issues of reading in science. Brad commented during his mid-term in terview that, I really enjoy the articles you gave us and the book (MT-MB-6). Knowing that the information being reviewed in the professional development modu les was supported by experts in the field was important to the science teachers. Billie explained ho w the knowledge from the experts helped to clarify the purpose for integrating the lessons into the classroom. She said: I think the knowledge building is import ant, because you feel more confident about why [you are doing the strategies] Its kind of, like, having the purpose for reading. You know, I need the purpose for why Im teaching this. But I dont I think again, if you dont give that background information, that why do I care You know, why why is this important? Why do I have to teach this and why do I have to teach reading? (FI-JTB20)
258 The science teachers not only felt that the expert knowledge supported why they should incorporate strategies to address scienc e language into their teaching, but also because it clarified their understanding of t he theory of functional language analysis. Bette commented that the author of the article she read helped her to see the big picture of how looking at science fr om a language perspective is useful. As far as the textbooks that were given, when we read about how language is looked at in science, that was I think the authors did a great job of kind of just putting in words, whats going on nowadays with science literature and where were going and how its gonna be looked at later. I appreciate the literature that we saw, the articles we read. (FI-JB-8) Mona further iterated the value she f ound in having access to the expert knowledge. She explained that she liked being able to link the knowledge with the practice. I think the biggest thing is r eading these theoretical explanations. It has always been interesting. But th is is the first time Ive seen so much I can take into the classroom with me; and thats a first. (FI-BM -7) Lisa also believed the readings were helpful to supporting her learning, I feel the readings reinforce what I have observed over 30 + years of teaching science (EM-VL-10-08-08). One teacher actually described how she w ent back to consult the articles after attending the professional development meeti ngs. Patsy explained, And I liked going back after weve gone through all the Power Points, and all the discussion, and all the working in our classrooms. Going back through and reading that article (FI-PB-2). The discussion in this section was generated from cross-case analysis of the experiences of seven secondary science teac hers as they learned about the specialized features of science language. Factors from the three systems, the individual, the professional development, and the classroom, interacted to either facilitate or inhibit
259 science teachers learning process and integration of strategies into their instructional routines. Opportunity to talk emerged as the core concept that accounted for the greatest influence on how science teachers learned about science language and how to implement strategies. The le vels of teachers l earning and integrati on were impacted by the interaction between the core concept, opportunity to talk, and other pertinent influences such as motivation to learn, pr ior knowledge, access to expert knowledge, and time. Although the components in each system served to influence the science teachers learning, there were variances between cases in the levels of learning and integration. In most cases, however, t he interaction between the components of this model facilitated learning about the spec ialized features of science language. Subsequently, the science teachers knowled ge acquisition was in a state of continual refinement from the interacti on between their opportunities to talk with components from the individual, the school context, and t he professional development systems. Science Teachers Willingness to Learn Secondary science teachers do want to understand how to provide reading instruction that helps students improve t heir understanding of sci entific texts. The science teachers in this study were excited about learning about science language and willing to try new ideas to address reading in science in their classrooms. The findings from this study confirm previous studies t hat claim secondary content teachers want to understand how to address the reading needs of their secondary students (Siebert & Draper, 2008; Yore, 1991). The science teachers reported a desire to know how to help their students with reading in science. The fi ndi ngs show that that the science teachers
260 were motivated to be a part of the study because they believed it was important for students to read in science. The science teachers willingness to learn was evidenced by their involvement in previous experiences with content area r eading. The science teachers reported that they had attended previous workshops and meeti ngs to learn about reading in content areas and had even read texts by popular liter acy educators like Janet Allen and Chris Tovani. However, most of what they l earned was generalized and the most the science teachers appeared to use in their classrooms from any of those workshops were vocabulary oriented strategies. Even though t he science teachers came to this study feeling like they still did not have the tools they needed to successfully teach reading in science, they were enthusiastic about finding new ideas. This finding confirms Yores (1991) report that science teachers want to help their students learn how to read science. This study challenges previous studies that describe secondary content teachers as resistant to integrating literacy strategies into their classrooms (Alvermann & Moore, 1999; OBrien, Stewart, Moje, 1995; Vigil & Dick, 1987). T he science teachers in this study were not resistant, but eager to under stand how they could integrate disciplinespecific strategies into their instructional routines. Even when the study was closing the teachers were thinking about the possibilities of continuing in their learning about the specialized language of science. Lisa probed the other teac hers to think about how to share information from the study with fellow teachers. I wanted to see if we could not get se t up and we were talking about this as well and I know youre a very good writer as well, to get a grant to get her back. Heres my ah-ha fantasy mom ent; have you come back next year if youre in the area, work with the ni nth grade science teachers especially.
261 We can come in and work with them as the backup old veterans. I would be willing to sit down with Summer, with Paula and a bunch of you other guys and come up with some ideas so that when the ninth grade teachers come back we have packets ready for them heres somethings that you can do. I would love to see us get a grant, hav e you come back, work with all the ninth grade science teac hers. (PD8-3/10/09) The science teachers in this study were wil ling to learn about strategies that helped them to teach about the spec ialized language of science and even showed interest in continuing to explore how to work colla boratively with other members in their department to disseminate the knowledge they had acquired. This lesson learned is promising for future work with secondary scienc e teachers. This finding further supports recommendations that literacy educators refr ame how they view the willingness of secondary teachers to learn about discipli nary literacy practices (Siebert & Draper, 2008; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). Multiple Levels of S upport for Integration The scienc e teachers needed support in order to successfully integrate new reading strategies into their teaching routines. Findings show ed that certain aspects of the professional developm ent program served to support the science teachers learning of the specialized features of science langu age. First of all, the design of this professional development program planned for peer collaboration and conversation about pertinent topics related to teaching and the specialized language of science; qualities supported in literature about how to plan for effective professional development (Brownell et al., 2008; Feiman-Nemser, 2001; Richardson, 2003). Findings showed that the most powerful influence from the pr ofessional development system on the science teachers learning and in tegration of strategies specif ic to science language was their opportunity to talk. To begin, the science te achers valued the time to listen to one
262 another share ideas and reflections on what they were learning about the specialized language of science. The opportunity to ta lk during the profe ssional development modules allowed the science teachers time to plan together and share stories about their classroom experiences wit h integration of ideas from the meetings. These findings mirror research that suggests teachers value time to talk about their learning and practice with one another and support recomm endations from the literature that collective participation should be a component of meaningful professional development designs (Garet, Porter, Desim one, Birman and Yoon, 2001). Opportunities to talk about practice fostered the confidence of the science teachers to try ideas related to the teachi ng of the specialized language of science into their teaching routines. The science teachers reported that when they listened to their peers talk about how they applied a strategy in to their teaching it gave them ideas about how they might adjust the stra tegy to fit into their own teaching. Having an opportunity to talk contributed to the teachers feeling comfortable to practi ce and experiment with new ideas which helped to build their confidenc e to try it out in t heir own classrooms. These findings support recommendations to creat e places where teachers feel safe to think about and try new practices in education (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995; Desimone, Birman, & Yoon, 2001; Garet et al., 2001). In addition to the support offered during the professional devel opment meetings, the science teachers valued suppo rt from the facilitator. T he science teachers liked that that I was available to come into the cla ssroom to observe and sometimes participate in teaching the lessons. An important note here is that I was flexible in the level of support I offered to teachers. W hereas Brad and Bette liked me to come and do demonstration
263 lessons in their classrooms, Lisa preferr ed that I observe her in a more traditional manner. Patsy on the other hand liked to consul t with me during the lesson. She would lead the lesson and I would sit towards the back and watch, but she would often ask me to elaborate on how to use a particular strategy or she would even ask me what to so when she felt stuck. This study revealed t hat teachers had individual responses to the level of support they requir ed or wanted while exploring t he use of the new strategies into their teaching. The lesson learned here is that when aski ng science teachers to integrate reading strategies into their teaching it is important to provide multiple levels of support. The design of the professional development modules built in peer and facilitator support. The science teachers were then able to access that support as desired. However, ensuring that the science teachers continue to use the strategies once the support structures are removed is challenging. The multiple levels of support offered to the science teachers in this study show promise for positively impacting teachers learning and conti nued integration of strategies. An email communication the follo wing school year from a teacher in the study evidenced that she was continuing to use the ideas from the professional development program in her teaching. I shared how wonderful your work with us was last year with my administrator, Mr. Williams. We are again punching reading at school this year! I want to let you know that I st arted the year off with a different approach to vocab thanks to your suggestions and our class. When I brought up the topic of vocab, the whole class inwardly and one or two outwardly groaned ugh! But then I shared the Word Questioning ideas and the logographs and they rejoiced !!! I am including focusing on the LANGUAGE of science right from day one with them, and they are encouraged now that they already do some of the morphemic analysis
264 techniques and are positive about adding some others to their bag of tricks! (EC-PB-9/23/09) Curriculum Negotiation The scienc e teachers sometimes struggled to find ways to integrate what they were learning with the curriculum they we re using. Even though their understanding was developing about how science langua ge was complex, thinking about how language played a role in what they were t eaching provided a new set of challenges in planning for implementation. In this instance, teachers required more support through means such as coaching, follow-up sessions, and feedback to reflect on practice, actions that are supported in current liter ature about effective pr ofessional development (Darling-Hammond & McLaughl in, 1995; Guskey, 2002). The science teachers valued indi vidual meetings with the facilitator. For instance, Billie was planning her lessons on density, she and I met to look through her upcoming chapter to find examples of density in her textbook. In the same manner, Brad and I met one day to look at his chapter on arthropods to find examples of abstraction. Bette and I also met in her room to preview a passage she was going to use with her students to teach about abstraction. We read through li ne by line, identifying instances when the author used abstraction. These meetings we re critical to helping the teachers see examples of the features of sci ence language in their textbooks. It is important when planning for implementat ion of these new strategies to take time to help the teachers link ideas from the professional development to their existing curriculums. This is another example of how the teachers need planned time to meet with the facilitator and one another to peruse their curriculum and plan specific lessons to take into their classrooms. The teachers noted that one of the areas they would have
265 liked to extend in the profession al development effort was t he time for lesson planning. Teachers need structured time to plan lessons with the support of their fellow teachers and the facilitator in order to make appropr iate connections between the new ideas and their existing curriculums. Another issue in relation to lesson planni ng was the availabili ty of alternative resources for reading. The main source of reading in these classrooms was the science textbook or FCAT practice books. Alte rnative reading sources were not readily available. Taking in examples of alternat ive texts that matched teachers curriculums would be useful in helping teachers see how they can bring in other reading sources to help them meet the objectives of their curriculums. Facilitator Knowledge and Action In discussing the impact of the facilitator it is also important to consider how the knowledge level of the facilitator could inhibit growth in teacher learning. It has come into question how much knowledge literacy educ ators have to provide effective training in reading across content areas (Moje, 2008; Siebert & Draper, 2008). In this case, this was the first time I had presented this type of information to science teachers in an extended professional development setting. In reflection on transcripts and lessons, it became evident to me that there were places where I could have clarified understanding. For example, when the teachers struggled wit h understanding the concept of abstraction, I s hould have supplied more opportunities to read and analyze sample texts for abstract nouns. The strategi es that I modeled in the class did not provide enough experience for the teachers to think past the pr ocess of nominalization. Because of my inexperience with teaching a bout the specialized language of science, I did not see right away where they were st ruggling. I needed to place more emphasis on
266 showing the teachers how the features of science language not only functioned but also how they were necessary to make science what it is. In order to counter my lack of experience in teaching science however, I presented myself as the literacy person and acknowledged early on in the st udy that the teachers were the experts in science. I continued throughout the study to emphasize that they were the science experts and I was looking to t hem to tell me about the efficacy of these ideas. The following quote from our fi nal meeting illustrates this point. Because one of the things Im really just looking for is how does this start to fit into your daily lives and your daily teaching? Is it relevant or not, should we bother? Im coming to you guys because you guys are the real deal. Youre the ones that teach the kids so its your voices that matter to me. (PD8-3/10/09-20) The science teachers expressed appreciation that I valued and prioritized their expertise in science. For example, Lisa expressed her opinion in the final interview: I thought it was indescribably sweet when you said that you didn't know the science that well but you certainly know you're educational procedures and how to get the best out of all of us (FI-VL-8). Conditions of Professional Development One condition of the professional devel opment modules that motivated the teachers to learn was that the information was content-specific. The science teachers in this study valued the discipline-focused information provided in this professional development program. They often report ed the benefits of being able to focus on how the information presented pertained only to science. This finding reflects recommendations that professional development for secondary teachers should be centered around partic ular content areas ( Garet, Porter, Desim one, Birman and Yoon, 2001; Moje, 2008; Rosebery et al., 1996). It is also reflects the findings from other
267 studies that report positive results when pr ofessional development in content literacy was focused on just one content area (Glasson & Lalik, 1993; Fang et al., 2007). Another condition of the professional develop ment that was influ ential was that the teachers were working together from the same school and the same content area to develop their knowledge and understanding. Co chran-Smith & Lytles (1999) concept of knowledge-of-practice supports this kind of learning environment. In this study, the science teachers acquisition of knowledge was not just focused on improving their techniques of teaching reading in science, but also on nurturing their understanding. This blend of understanding and application embodies t he knowledge-of-practice paradigm which values teachers working together in a specific location to think about and question practice and take it into t heir classrooms (Bondy & Brownell, 2004). In addition, professional development that is highly focused on helping teachers prepare directly to make an impact on thei r practice has been shown to be valued (Garet et al., 2001). The teachers in this study valued the information they were learning because they believed it would im pact their teaching practice. The focus during the professional devel opment modules on how to take the ideas into the classroom was perceived by the teachers as useful. The science t eachers reported that having the time to plan how to implement the ideas was important to them. Even though the time for planning was limited, the t eachers felt it was necessary and indicted that more time for planning for how to take the ideas into the classroom would be helpful. Another aspect of the profe ssional development that received attention in the findings was the access teachers had to prof essional literature about the specialized
268 language of science. The science teachers re ported that having access to expert knowledge in the forms of texts and articles influenced their buy-in to the ideas as viable. Because the ideas presented to them about science language were backed by research in the field, the science teachers were more easily convinced that language served an important role in shaping knowledge in science. Research upholds this idea that providing teachers with access to profe ssional literature helps to clarify the need and purpose for implementing the ideas fr om the workshops (Watson & Manning, 2008). Influence of the School Culture The school climate served an important role i n the success of this study. The teachers were part of a school where lear ning was valued as evidenced by the small learning communities already present. In addi tion, the principal showed her support for the project by visiting t he science teacher meeting and encouraging the teachers to participate in the study. The impact of school climate on the success of secondary teachers implementing reading strategies has been a source of concern (OBrien, Stewart, Moje,1995). The Read ing Next Report (2004) states one of the 15 conditions necessary for success is administrative support and school climate (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004). In addition to the school climate, the cl assroom climate also served a role in facilitating the teachers learning. There were indications in the findings that the science teachers belief in the usefulne ss of the strategies was rela ted to their perceptions of how they saw the ideas impact student lear ning. The science teachers reported that when students were successful with a strate gy it helped the teachers to see how a focus on language in science could support the students in the learning of science
269 content. Fang et al. (2008) found similar resu lts in their work with two middle school science teachers. Guskeys (2002) model of teacher change claims student outcomes as the most powerful influence. This study lends evidence to the possibility of this model being true. Time Research indicates that giving teachers time to plan and reflect on their practice is an important component of effective professional development experiences (DarlingHammond, 1995; Fieman-Nemser, 2001; Garet et al ., 200). In this st udy, time served to both facilita te and inhibit the t eachers learning process. For example, Billie indicated that if she had greater opportunities to practice in the classroom it would help her to continue using it in her teaching. Like, more practice incorporating it into lessons. You know, even though we did have, like, a whole month from each to the next, it seemed like it was so short. You know, it was still in my mindI knew how to do it, but I didnt keep doing it because we moved to a new topic. and next year would be better, because I can build it into the lessons and be more prepared to kind of build upon it as the y ear goes on. So I dont th ink I think time was a factor. (FI-JTB-9, 2) Bette also commented about time. S he wanted more time for feedback and support in implementing the lessons. She said, I guess I wish I was able to make more time to, I guess, implement the lessons or maybe have another teacher watch me do a lesson or maybe, during my planning, I could watch them do it. So I could see it more instead of just doing it once and saying, Okay, great. We did it. (FI-JB-9) The science teachers also addressed time as a factor in opportunities to talk. Often during the professional development meetings we had to stop talking about something in order to move on. For example, in our session where teachers shared their experiences teaching lessons about dens ity, I had to stop the discussion to move
270 on to learning about the new topic of genres (PD-02). Lisa described the problem when she said, Sometimes we just wanted to go on and on and on and we had to get on to the next thing and we were all kind of a little bit Uh OK (FIVL-8). Casey also addressed the issue of running out of ti me during the professional development meetings, when she said, But we just kinda, sometimes, would run out of time. I think that I would have been willing to stay that other hour to start actually working more on it and getting some ideas fr om you (FI-MC-4). Providing the appropriate amount of time for teachers to learn and integrate ideas into their teaching is a challenge. In this st udy, the science teachers felt that more time would have helped them to feel more successf ul in their planni ng and integration. Limitations As addressed in Chapt er 1, there are limitations to t he generalizability of the findings of this study. For example, the number of the teachers and the context both limited this study. First of a ll, the number of t eachers was small. Only seven teachers participated in the professional developmen t modules. In addition, the seven teachers were selected based on their willingness to participate. Had the professional development been required, findings may have sh ifted. Also, the context of this study was limited. This study took place in one school in one county, therefore, different results might be yielded in a school with chal lenges to the school climate or a different student-body makeup. In addition, the length of the study was limiting. The study happened during a 7month period during a school year. Perhaps following the teachers into another year to provide more support would enhance the findings fr om this study. It is unclear if or how
271 much the teachers are still using the meth ods learned in the professional development sessions. Finally, this study only looked at the lear ning of secondary science teachers. It is difficult to generalize that the same condi tions would support the learning of other content-area teachers. Howeve r, these findings do offer prom ising practices for future research. Implications Findings from this study support the need for further exploration into how to help secondary science teachers learn about the language demands of science text. There are indications from this st udy that secondary science teachers learning is anchored in their prior knowledge and experience in teachi ng the technical words that are specific to science. However, findings from this study al so indicate that providing scienc e teachers with opportunities to learn about the spec ialized features of science language and integrate those ideas into their teaching is a pr omising practice. Specific features of the professional development ex perience served to support science teachers learning and offer insight into future planni ng of professional development for science teachers. It is also believed that findings from this study can extend across the di sciplines and impact future practices and research in adolescent literacy. Need to Foreground the Role of Language in Science Teaching and Learning This study looked directly at how se condary science teachers understanding of the specialized features of science language developed over the course of a 7-month professional development st udy. The influence of opportunities to talk about their learning held the most value to these scienc e teachers. This suggests that future practice in providing professional developm ent for content teacher s in reading provide
272 ample time for teachers to share and discu ss the ideas they are learning and the strategies they are implement ing in their classrooms. The science teachers in this study were c onvinced of the efficacy of ideas when other teachers attested to their success in the classroom or articulated their understanding of a particular concept. The p eer interactions served as a powerful influence on the development of teachers understanding and the change in their dispositions about science and reading. This informs our understanding of the importance of providing opportunities for teachers to talk to one another about disciplinary literacy and classroom practices that are useful. In addition to opportunities to talk to one another, findings indicated that the teachers valued support and feedback from talking to the facilitator. By participating in the classroom, presenting materials, and m onitoring the discussions during professional development meetings, the fa cilitator became an important influence on the teachers growth in understanding about the speciali zed language of science. The science teachers in this study depended on insight fr om the facilitator on implementation of strategies and student learning processes. This finding suggests that secondary content teachers need continual suppor t and encouragement as they engage in learning about new ways to address literacy in their content areas. In addition, this study showed that scienc e teachers believe that vocabulary is important in teaching reading to secondary students. During this study, the science teachers continued to address technicality in reading and were less comfortable with abstraction, density, and genres. When desi gning professional development to teach about the specialized language of science it is important to give science teachers many
273 opportunities to compare their new learning to what they believe about reading in science and provide support for their underst anding about the less familiar components of the specialized language of science. Need to Equip Teachers with Knowledge of Grammar and its Function in Science Meaning Making In this study the teachers lack of grammar knowledge influenced their understanding and int egration of di scipline-specific reading stra tegies in science. When working with science teachers it is important to provide time to learn about and practice identifying the grammatical features of sci ence language. For example, in this study teachers felt uncomfortable with their k nowledge level of embedded and non-embedded clauses when studying density. More prac tice during the professional development analyzing sample texts and identifying grammatical construct could have helped to alleviate this problem. When designing professional development for science teachers about disciplinary-reading practices, it is important to in clude explicit instruction and sufficient practice in looking at science te xts for how the grammar is used to develop meaning. Encourage Border Crossing between Reading and Science Educators The focus on science language in this st udy honored the unique c hallenges that science texts present to both the teachi ng and learning of science. The science teachers valued the discipline focused c ontent of the profe ssional development sessions and felt that t he strategies presented addressed their needs in helping students in reading scientific text s. The science teachers in th is study attested to the usefulness in understanding how language functioned in science in order to better teach reading in science.
274 It is important to for literacy educators and science educators to collaborate in order to better understand how literacy and science work together. Siebert & Draper (2008) suggest that there will be little impact on changing secondary content teachers attention to literacy if messages to them do not include specific attention to the way that literacy is used with those disciplines. This study confirms that these science teachers were appreciative and responsive to learni ng about literacy in sci ence. These findings support continued efforts in identifying ways to support secondary teachers in their learning about how language works in particu lar disciplines to create knowledge. School Structures and Personn el That Support Innovation The need for supportive leaders hip at the secondary level is identified as a key component of successful secondary litera cy programs in The R eading Next Report (2004). The findings from this study confi rm the recommendations of that report. The support of the principal was highly valued by the science teachers. She encouraged teachers to participate in the study and support ed them by visiting their classrooms and asking them about the study. In addition, the reading specialis t was also supportive of the science teachers and even attended one meet ing to learn more about what the teachers were doing in the study. Despite the support from the principal and reading specialist however, neither one had the knowledge level to suppor t the teachers learning. The principal was a prior health teacher and the reading specialist was not familiar with disciplinary-reading practices. Implications from this resear ch show that support is important from leadership, but could be enhanced with personnel in the building who can support the teachers classroom practices. The science teachers were dependent on the support of
275 the facilitator whose position was temporar y. Secondary schools need personnel in the building who can support content-teachers us e of disciplinary-r eading practices. In addition, teachers need school structures that support thei r implementation of new ideas. The science teachers indicted th at if they had comm on planning times or more time with their students they could more fully address the concepts from the professional development m odules. In order to address the needs of the teachers, secondary schools should consider ways to in clude flexible scheduling or longer class periods to support teachers in implementing disciplinary literacy practices into their teaching. Another factor that provided challenges to the teachers was a la ck of a variety of science texts in the classroom. Science teachers need access to various resources such as science magazines for kids and appropria te research articles to give students a wide variety of reading experiences in scien ce. School libraries could support science teachers in this area by includ ing a multiple types of scientif ic texts in their collections that support the teachers curriculum. Science teachers and librarians could work together to identif y appropriate and useful materials. Create Communities of Practice Tha t Value Language in Schooling. It is important to develop communities of practice in secondary schools that allow teachers to meet together in discipline related team s to think about how language functions to create meaning in that subject area. The science teachers in this study valued time to work together and discuss ho w language played a ro le in learning about science. In this case, the science teachers met to look closely at science texts and consider how to help students understand t he language. In addition, the teachers shared their struggles and succes ses in implementing ideas associated with science
276 language. This was helpful because it developed a support network for the teachers to share ideas and encourage one anot her to continue to impl ement strategies. For example, if one teacher st ruggled with implementation and reported it to the group, another teacher would offer insight into anot her way to try the idea. The science teachers reported that knowi ng how other teachers were planning for their lessons and how the integration process happened was useful. Previous experiences with learning about reading in the content area had required the teac hers to try the ideas independently in their classrooms and the teachers reported often abandoning the idea if it was not easy to implement. Creating a place where teachers c ould collaborate with one another proved to make an impact on the sci ence teachers use of ideas from the professional development m odules. Developing communities of practice that value language in schools can support teachers in learning how to better help their students learn how to improve reading in particular content areas. Future Research Although this study supports the value in pr oviding secondary content teachers with information on how literacy is used within their discipline, much research is still needed. In considering the demands of advanced liter acy instruction, it is important that literacy experts and content area specialists understand how literacy is used in particular disciplines. In science, scholar s describe the unique ways that language functions to create theories and ideas (Veel, 1997; Halliday & Martin, 1993), and have recommended strategies to address issues of language in science in the classroom (Fang, 2006; Fang & Schleppegrell, 2008), yet more information is needed on how these ideas actually take shape in the classrooms. Future studies need to consider how these ideas impact student performance. Experimental studies are needed to examine
277 the impact of language-based teaching practices on student learning. Further, comparison studies examining the effect s on student science-le arning of different approaches to reading integration (e.g., disciplinary-specific reading strategies vs. generalized reading strategies) could info rm our understanding of the impact of disciplinary reading strategies. Another area in need of investigation is t he knowledge level of the facilitator. This study reflects claims that characteristics and knowledge of the facilitator can make an impact on teacher learning (Fieman-Nemser 2001; Siebert & Draper, 2008). Literacy experts typically are not specialists in c ontent areas, yet they are responsible for delivering content literacy training and professional development to content teachers. At this point, the question still remains about how literacy educators can develop enough expertise across the disciplines to adminis ter effective professional development to content area teachers. Future research also needs to consider the importance of time and support on content teachers learning and application of disciplinary literacy practices. The science teachers in this study indicated a desire to continue working together to develop their understanding of how to implement the ideas associated with t he specialized language of science into their classrooms. Ethnogr aphic studies investigating ways to most effectively help teachers learn and teach the language of science could be helpful. Further questions remain about how the teac hers experiences and the culture of secondary schools can facilitate content teac hers working together to support their learning about best practices in addressing liter acy in the disciplines. Qualitative studies investigating how science teachers ba ckground/experience and school culture impact
278 their adoption of disciplinary-specific language/literacy practices could contribute to our knowledge in this area. Finally, similar types of studies need to investigate the learning processes of teachers in other content areas. It is impor tant to also understand how teachers learn about the function of language in subjects such as history, math, and art. This could give us greater insight into the usefulness of approaches to disciplinary literacy which include a focus on the linguistic aspects of particular texts. Conclusion It is believed that teaching adoles cents to understand how language is used in particular ways in content area like science and math will further improve their understanding of texts in those disciplines. T herefore, it becomes necessary to work with content teachers to help them understand the role of disci pline-specific reading in their areas. Designing effectiv e professional development efforts in disciplinary literacy however is a challenge. In science, language plays a role in shaping knowledge. Fang & Schleppegrell (2008) offer the approach of functional language analysis to help science teachers understand how to teach their students to read science. Fang (2008) argues that reading instruction in secondary science clas srooms should incorporate strategies to address the specialized features of scienc e language. Because science texts are the primary medium through which science knowle dge is shared, it is important that students understand how to read these texts. Only through an understanding of the complex nature of science language, Fang argues, can students begin to meet the language demands of these difficult science texts.
279 In order for the students to develop an understanding of the language of science, their science teachers must understand how l anguage serves to shape the theories and ideas in science texts. For this reason, it is important that sec ondary science teachers have time and opportunities to explore the role that language plays in constructing science knowledge and how that knowledge translates into classroom practice. This study showed that when teachers had time to talk about their learning, they were motivated to try new ideas. Engaging in meaningful professional dev elopment can support science teachers learning about disciplinary literacy prac tices that support st udent learning. As secondary science teachers are afforded opportuni ties to talk about their learning and teaching of the way that language functions in disciplines, changes in dispositions and practice can occur. This research shows the potential for meaningful professional development to impact how teachers think about and teach reading in secondary content areas. Crossing borders between literacy and science will enhance science teachers instructional routines and in turn, hopeful ly impact student learning. While the relationship between literacy and science is complex, this study confirms that it is worth investigating how literacy educ ators and science experts can wo rk together to improve the teaching and learning of science. Improvi ng reading instruction in science and other disciplines will provide our adolescents with the ability to engage as critical and productive citizens in a world that demands hi gher levels of literacy to lead productive and enriched lives.
280 Figure 7-1. Grounded Theory Diagram
281 Figure 7-2. Model of Opportunities to Talk Opportunities to Talk Locations (Formal/informal) -Professional Development sessions -Classrooms -Teacher Loun g e Topics -New concepts -Planning -Sharing about implementation Participants -Teachers in workshop -Facilitators with groups/individuals -Colleagues Influencing Factors Influencing Factors Acquisition of Knowledge
282 APPENDIX A INFORMED CONSENT FORM Protocol Title: Secondary Science Teachers Learning to Teach Scienc e as Specialized Discourse: A multi-case study Please read this consent document carefully before you decide to participate in this study. Purpose of the research study: The purpose of this study is to understand how science teachers learn and teach about the specialized discourse of science. What you will be asked to do in the study: In this study you will be asked to parti cipate in 7 two-hour meetings with the researcher. During these meetings you will be asked to participate in readings and discussions about science lite racy. You will also be asked to bring classroom materials to the sessi ons to review with your peers. Meetings will be either audio or video taped. In addition, you will be asked to complete an initial survey about your previous experiences with reading and science. You will also be asked to participate in 2 interviews regarding your participation in this study at your convenience. Finally, you will be asked to allow the researcher to observe in your classroom for up to one class period per week during the time of the study. Time required: Dates: August 2008May 2008 Meetings to be held tri-weekly between August and February. Data analysis and final interviews held between March and May. Approximate hourly commitment: 15-17 total hours. Risks and Benefits: None. Compensation:
283 You will be paid $300.00 com pensation for participating in this research. Results Distribution: Results of this study may be present ed at conferences or published in educational journals. Confidentiality: Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. Your information will be assigned a pseudonym. The list connecting your name to this number will be kept in a locked file in my faculty supervi sor's office. All data including video and audio tapes wil l be accessible to the researcher and the faculty advisor. When the study is completed and the data have been analyzed, the list will be destroyed. Your name will not be used in any report. All audio and/or video recordings will be destroyed once analysis is completed. Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is comp letely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from the study: You have the right to withdraw fr om the study at anytime without consequence. Whom to contact if you hav e questions about the study: Primary Contact: Jennifer Drake Pa trick, Graduate Student, College of Education, School of Teaching and Learning, 2417 Norman Hall, phone 352-392-9191 or 757-871-8823(cell). email@example.com Faculty Advisor: Dr. Zhihui Fang, Ph D, College of Educat ion, School of Teaching and Learning, 2417 Norman Hall, 352-392-9191 X 287. Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: IRB02 Office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 326112250; phone 352-392-0433.
284 Agreement: I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to participate in the procedure and I have received a copy of this description. Participant: _________________ __________________________ Date: _________________ Principal Investigator : __________________ _________________ Date: _________________
285 APPENDIX B PERSONAL STATEMENT Teaching History: Number of years teac hing: __________ _______________ Degree(s) earned: ________ __________________ ______________ Type of teaching progr am: 4 yr. traditional alternative Other relevant job experi ence: ___________ ___________________ Current Position at OPHS: Room Number: __________ School email address: __________________________ ____________ Courses taught: (please include grade level) Period 1: ________________ _____________________ ___________ Period 2: ________________ _____________________ ___________ Period 3: ________________ __________________ ______________ Period 4: ________________ _____________________ ___________ Period 5: ________________ _____________________ ___________ Period 6: ________________ _____________________ ___________ Period 7: ________________ __________________ ______________ What time is your lunch period? _______________ _______________ Thank you for taking your time in answering the following questions. Please provide detailed answers, using specific examples and references when you can. 1. What role, if any, has reading play ed in your personal endeavor to learn about science? Please explain
286 2. What role, if any, does reading pl ay in learning about science? Please explain your answer. 3 a. What are some similarities between reading in science and reading in other subjec t areas such as.? b. What are some differences betw een reading in science and reading in other subject areas such as..? 4. What reading skills do students need to access scientific texts successfully? 5. What issues do your students confr ont in accessing scientific texts? And how do you address these issues in your teaching? 6. What would you hope to learn in this professional development effort about helping students with science texts? 7. Tell me about the reading materials av ailable to use in your classroom. Draw a semantic map representing the skills you believe students need to read scientific texts. Give a complete description and justify your map.
287 APPENDIX C MIDTERM INTERVIEW QUESTIONS Mid-Term Interview Questions What made you pursue a career in teaching? What constitutes good practice in science te aching? What should a teacher know how to do? What experiences best prepared you for being a science teacher? How would you characterize your own content knowledge in science? What is the role of language in learning and teaching science? How is science language technical? Abstract? Tell me about using the strategies fo r technicality in your classroom? Which ones did you find the most useful/not? Tell me about using the strategies for abstractness in your classroom? Which ones did you find the most useful/not? What are you thinking about your science teachi ng as a result of participating in this workshop? Please share any questions you may have about the material up to this point.
288 APPENDIX D EXIT INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Time of interview: Date: Interviewee: Questions: 1. Tell me how scienc e language is di fferent from the language we use in our everyday life. 2. On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest, how would you rate your understanding of each of the following topics we covered on scientific language? Technicality Abstractness Density Genres 3. Explain your ra ting of Technicality Abstractness Density Genres 4. Do you view science reading diffe rently than you did 6 months ago? 5. What new understanding have you developed about science text, science reading, and the teaching of science reading in your class? 6. How are the teaching tools you lear ned here different from the ones you were taught before? 7. Are there any challenges in impl ementing what you learned from these professional development work shops? Could you describe them?
289 8. What did we do during the past 6 m onths that may have facilitated your learning about science language? 9. How has this professional development had an impact on you?
290 APPENDIX E OBSERVATION PROTOCOL Classroom Observation Teacher: _________ _____________ Class: _______________________ Date: _____________ Time: (b) ______ (e) _________ Total minutes:______ Descriptive Notes Reflective Notes
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302 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jennifer Drake Patrick completed her undergraduate degree in communications education at Miami University in 1992. S he received her masters degree in readin g education in 1993 from Miami University. She taught middle school reading in Worthington, Ohio from 1993-1995. From 1995-1998 she taught high school in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Jennifer worked for The Johns Hopkins University as a mentor-liaison with The Center for Reading Excellence from 1999-2002. While there, she also taught reading courses in the graduate school of education. Jennifer has presented at various national conferences including the Na tional Reading Conference (NRC) and The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). She has published in The International Journal of Science and Language Arts. Jennifer received her doctorate from the University of Florida in 2008 with a focus on Reading Education. Jennifers research interests include se condary content readi ng and professional development. Jennifer, and her husband, Rob, currently reside in Fleming Island, FL and have three children, M aggie, Trey, and Makayla.