THE DISCOURSES AND LITERACY PRACTICES OF DOING SCIENCE IN ENGLISH

Revathi Ramiah, Koo Yew Lie, Jamilah Mustafa

Abstract


In January 2003, Malaysia re-adopted the English language as a medium of instruction for science
and mathematics. This change in the medium of instruction brings with it challenges of its own.
What does it mean to ‘do’ science in the Malaysian context and to do so in English? How does the
change in the medium of instruction from Bahasa Malaysia to English impinge upon the
instructional and literacy practices of teachers and learners? What kinds of changes are required of
the communities and stakeholders involved in the teaching of science? This article will address
these questions by critiquing some dominant assumptions behind the literacy practices of ‘doing’
science in the Malaysian context based upon the findings of a qualitative case study conducted to
investigate how two teachers working in diverse and different contexts in Malaysian schools cope
with the new medium of instruction.


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