But i'm not an English teacher!

disciplinary literacy in Australian science classrooms

Chris Davison*, Sue Ollerhead

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


In Australia, increasing calls to strengthen the teaching of science in schools, stimulated by a need for higher levels of scientific understanding in the general community and also concerns about falling educational standards, have led to a concerted push to raise scientific literacy. Given the multicultural nature of Australia, government and educators have acknowledged the critical role of identifying and describing the language and literacy demands in all disciplines and supporting learners and teachers to meet them. In science, a range of support material and teacher resources, mostly drawing on systemic functional linguistics, have been developed alongside revisions to national and state-based curricula. In addition, all preservice teacher education programs are required to address literacy as well as the needs of students learning in and through English as an additional language or dialect (EALD) as national priority areas. However, research into the complex language and literacy challenges faced by low literacy and EALD learners suggests that many mainstream secondary school teachers feel inadequately prepared to meet their needs. Thus, some universities are also developing more targeted language and literacy programs for preservice student teachers (PSTs). One example of a language and literacy tutoring program involving science PSTs at a secondary school is described, showing how the student teachers came to understand their key roles not just a disciplinary experts, but as providers of language and literacy development to students both before and after their mentoring placement.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal developments in literacy research for science education
EditorsKok-Sing Tang, Kristina Danielsson
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783319691978
ISBN (Print)9783319691961
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • science
  • English language
  • literacy
  • curriculum
  • preservice teacher education

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