The influence of language on the teaching and learning of Natural Sciences in Grade 7
It has been noticed in many schools that Grade 8 learners arrive in the secondary school with a big gap in their understanding of the meaning of science concepts. In science cluster meetings teachers identified science terminology of the Grade 8 learners as problematic because learners tend to ascribe different meanings to science concepts that were dealt with in previous grades. Research conducted at the Grade 7 level to investigate the use of science language and terminology seemed the best way to understand this predicament. This study was aimed at understanding the meaning, use and application of language dealing with concepts in the Natural Sciences classes at the end of primary school. This study was underpinned by the critical theories of critical pedagogy and critical literacy. The study took place in three schools in one of the townships in the Eastern Cape. The sample for this study was Grade 7 Natural Sciences class from selected primary schools. Natural Sciences lessons at three schools were observed, one class per school. The teachers from each of the observed classes were interviewed for their perception of issues around language and science in their classes. The study aimed at providing some insight into the use of language and terminology in Grade 7 Natural Sciences classes and add some answers to the concerns of secondary school teachers regarding Grade 8 learners' language and understanding of science concepts. The study found that educators would like to see Language Policies in the Education Department being changed to accommodate the African learners who are the majority in the country. As a result of LoLT being the second language, teaching and learning experiences a lot of misconceptions in Natural Sciences in Grade 7.