The effect of learning a second language on sixth-grade students' abilities to utilize the problem-solving processes in science

Genest, Michel Pierre (1993) The effect of learning a second language on sixth-grade students' abilities to utilize the problem-solving processes in science. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

This study is aimed at establishing theoretical and empirical bases necessary for the elaboration of an instructional model that would capitalize on second language learners' strategic skills in communication to enhance their problem-solving abilities in science. An analysis of selected quotations from psycholinguists and science educators dealing specifically with the mental processes involved when engaged in second language learning and problem-solving respectively, revealed that there are definite similarities in reasoning patterns between these two actitivities. As part of this research, a null-hypothesis was tested to test whether an intense second language learning experience, such as offered by the French Immersion program, would enhance children's abilities to solve problems in science. -- Fifty-four sixth-grade students participated in the study. Half the group were students selected from the French immersion stream and the other half were selected from the regular unilingual stream. A limited control over I.Q. and socio-economic level was exercised. The two groups were administered a twenty-six-item criterion-referenced test. The multiple choice items were designed to measure the degree to which students develop processes of science in the elementary levels grades 4, 5, and 6. -- Results indicated that there were no significant differences in achievement between the two groups. The results were interpreted in light of the design limitations. The discussion that followed served to establish a theoretical framework needed to elaborate an instructional model aimed at promoting children’s transfer of strategetic skills from second language learning to problem-solving. Based on the use of metacognitive strategies, such a model when properly implemented, could have bi-directional positive effect on the children's mastery of both subjects.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5121
Item ID: 5121
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 95-101.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1993
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Language and education; Science--Study and teaching (Elementary); Problem solving; Second language acquisition

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