While considerable progress has been made to improve educational outcomes in science and math education in schools and universities in Abu Dhabi in recent years, research conducted locally suggests that a language barrier is impeding optimal attainment in some educational settings. Learning science and math through English as an English language learner presents challenges, partly since scientific discourse in English is different from general academic English. This suggests particular care may be needed in helping science teachers address the linguistic issues of their students.
This project proposes to address this situation. We plan to explore the issue from different perspectives. Informed by our earlier research at Khalifa University that investigated content instructors’ perspectives of student challenges in processing science and mathematics texts in English, we will compare how teachers and university instructors integrate literacy into STEM curriculum and how these practices are perceived by students. We will involve six high school teachers and six university instructors in the study. In addition, a small number of students at both the high school level and the university level will be interviewed via small-group discussions. Data will be gathered through triangulation, including observations, interviews, and analysis of specific teaching material. We will produce our first paper on how effective grade 12 high school math and science teachers and university instructors integrate literacy into their curriculum based on the implementation of similar activities. Our second paper will analyze teacher, instructor, and student interviews for insight into their lived experiences. Papers will be disseminated widely, both locally and internationally.