Scaffolding Scientific Writing through Disciplinary Literacy Instruction
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One of the competency domains gaining prominence in the 21st century is communication skills. In Singapore emphasis has been given to develop students’ communication skills in all subjects. Despite a curriculum emphasis on communication skill scientific communication skill such as scientific writing skill receives little attention and is often neglected in Science classrooms. This research study explored and examined how scientific writing was taught in a Chemistry classroom over the course of two weeks in a Secondary Three class. Informed by a disciplinary literacy approach of explicitly teaching the language and genre processes of the discipline a series of lessons on the topic of the Atmosphere and the Environment was designed to scaffold the writing of the scientific article. The series of lessons incorporated a range of literacy activities such as reading, discussing, and writing. Student-generated articles were analyzed through genre analysis to examine their resemblance to conventional scientific report articles. Teacher’s pedagogical strategies were analyzed sequentially. The current findings suggest that explicit teaching coupled with proper scaffolding, results in student- generated articles that resemble conventional scientific articles. These findings imply that students at Secondary level are able to acquire the set of skills necessary to communicate in a Science community through literacy instructional scaffolding in the genre of scientific report articles.
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