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Beth Warren and Ann S. Rosebery

—(1995) In W. Secada, E. Fennema, and L. Adajian (Eds.), New directions for equity in mathematics education, pp. 298-328. New York: Cambridge University Press.


This paper discusses teaching science to language minority students and describes work with linguistic minority children and their teachers. A key goal of this work is to create scientific sense-making communities in the classroom that parallel science as it is practiced in the world. Following a critique of current practice in science education, the paper explores what conditions are necessary to create classroom communities of scientific sense-making. This is followed by a look at a new approach to teacher development based on the belief that the teacher, whether bilingual, English-As-A-Second-Language, or science specialist, is critical to creating communities of scientific sense-making. Also discussed is the role of discourse appropriation in teacher development, with an example of teachers and students reviewing a homework assignment on acids and bases. A case study of one teacher's experience of learning science in order to teach science illustrates the nature and complexity of the learning process that undergirds the creation of classroom communities. A conclusion brings the issues together and emphasizes that in their reflective practice, teachers can construct a view of science as a socially constituted, meaning-making activity that includes rather than excludes linguistic minority children.

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