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Towards an integrated learning strategies approach to promoting scientific literacy in the South African context

The focus of this paper is on selected recent South African research studies that have explored efforts to promote the discussion, writing, and arguing aspects of scientific literacy in primary and middle schools, particularly amongst second-language learners. These studies reveal improvements in the participants’ abilities to both use the ‘science notebooks’ approach and argue their findings, as well as statistically significant improvement in their problem solving skills. The positive findings of these studies, and the call for attention to be paid to the fundamental sense of scientific literacy by a number of international researchers, resulted in the development of an integrated learning strategies approach. This approach not only specifically includes classroom discussion, argumentation and writing strategies to learn science, but also provides teachers with ideas and techniques to stimulate their learners to develop their own investigable questions, plan and execute a successful investigation in the classroom, and present their findings to an authentic audience. Findings on the effect of the strategy on learners’ general literacy skills, both in their home language and the language of learning and teaching in their schools, are reported.

Keywords: Scientific literacy; general literacy; writing to learn science; classroom discussion; argumentation

Uploaded by: Paul Webb
Author: Webb, Paul | ORCID:
Institution: Nelson Mandela University | Centre: DIGI-FACE
Type: Journal article | English | Peer Reviewed
Subjects: Education

Published: International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education | 4(3) | International Journal of Environmental and Science Education
Date: Webb, P. 2009). | Pages: 313-334.
Copyright: P Webb | License: