Language difficulties in first year Science - an interim report


  • Felicia Zhang
  • Brett Lidbury
  • Jurgen Schulte
  • Adam Bridgeman
  • Brian Yates
  • John Rodger


A key goal of the study entitled ‘A cross-disciplinary approach to language support for first year students in the science disciplines’, funded by the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, is to examine the role of language in the learning of science by first-year university students. The disciplines involved are Physics, Chemistry and Biology. This national project also aims to transfer active learning skills, which are widely used in language teaching, to the teaching of science in first year. The paper discusses the background to the study, reports on some of the preliminary results on the language difficulties faced by first year student cohorts in science from data collected in 2008, and describes the framework we have established for the organization and delivery of first year science courses to be implemented in semester one 2009.