Learning to do science: Influences of culture and language

Carol Westby, Jodi Dezale, Sandra H. Fradd, Okhee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Educators and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are expected to evaluate increasing numbers of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and to provide services within general education classrooms for students with language learning disabilities. To cope with these challenges, educators and SLPs must have an understanding of classroom curricula. Much of the information available on classroom demands has focused on the cognitive and linguistic skills essential for literacy in language arts. Little information is available on the cognitive and linguistic demands essential for scientific literacy. This article presents a discussion of the components of scientific literacy or discourse and a description of the academic and social participation structures of science lessons in four classrooms of elementary school students learning English as a second or third language. The data from the classroom observations are interpreted in terms of the discourse requirements of scientific literacy and cultural influences on discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-64
Number of pages15
JournalCommunication Disorders Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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