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ntially, due to the diverse population, teachers face a difficult challenge of teaching science to students with limited knowledge of the English language. It is important for teachers to identify ways of combating the language barrier so effectively facilitate students’ simultaneous acquisition of academic content.
The use of instructional interventions facilitates learning of EAL students. Cummins observes that effective language interventions for ESL students are built on 3-pillars, that is, activating prior knowledge, access content and extending language (Cummins 1). Accessing prior knowledge involves utilising the student’s prior knowledge so as to facilitate learning. The author hypothesises that students tend to construct meaning to a scientific text by “bringing their prior knowledge of language, science, and of the world in general to the text” (Cummins 1). Therefore, by activating the students’ prior knowledge, teachers are able to validate ESL students’ background experiences and affirm their cultural knowledge. Moreover, through the use of methods such as visuals, dramatisation or other language-oriented activities, teachers can clarify the meanings of concepts and words thereby making the content accessible (Cummins 2).
The students’ visualisation can be enhanced through the use of models and analogies in the curriculum (EMA 2002:5). Arguably, models provide a scientific representation of abstract ideas and complex relationships that enable the EAL students unlock their potential in science while at the same time developing their scientific literacy (EMA 2002:5). According to EMA teachers, by actively engaging students in the use of models and analogies, EAL students can communicate their ideas confidently using scientific terminology. Moreover, teachers can encourage students to devise their models so as to facilitate understanding of the curriculum.
Teachers play a detrimental role in assisting EAL students. In a research carried
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