Exploratory study of emerging multilingual students’ experience in science

Project Overview

While academic language development is critical for all students, supporting the acquisition of this type of discourse becomes essential for the increasing number of immigrant students enrolling in schools in the United States today. Statistics suggests that as this population grows, it continues to experience high rates of academic failure—44% of immigrant children do not complete high school (PEW Hispanic Center, 2002). These statistics, in addition to findings demonstrating that it takes emerging multilingual students from four to seven years to develop academic language, have led to the development of instructional programs that systematically integrate language and content objectives. Since 2007, our team has focused on the acquisition of content knowledge and academic language in science and mathematics for emerging multilingual students. The research site is a 3-week summer school for students enrolled in the local school district.

Project 1

Recent research in science education has investigated the integration of conceptual understanding with language development (Gee, 2004; Lee, Quinn & Valdes, 2013; Oliveira & Weinburgh, 2016; Smolkin & Donovan, 2004; Weinburgh, Silva, Smith, Groulx & Nettles, 2014). The purpose of this study was to investigate how emerging multilingual students use hybrid language: a) to demonstrate their knowledge of science and b) in argumentation. The study focuses on emerging multilingual students who participated in a summer science and mathematics enrichment program embedded with language acquisition.

Research Team                                  

Dr. Molly Weinburgh

Dr. Cecilia Silva

Graduate Students

Ms. Shelly Wu

Ms. Allison Silveus

Mr. Stacy Vasquez

Ms. Daniella Biffi

 

Project 2

This research focuses on the distinction between procedural language and conceptual language for emerging multilingual students engaged in a science exploration.

Research Team                                  

Dr. Molly Weinburgh

Dr. Cecilia Silva

Dr. Smith