Educating recently immigrated students: Exploring the suitability of scientific Modules in secondary education

Authors

  • Mario Schmiedebach Universität Bielefeld, Biologiedidaktik (Botanik und Zellbiologie)
  • Vivienne Litzke
  • Claas Wegner Universität Bielefeld, Biologiedidaktik (Botanik und Zellbiologie)

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.25321/prise.2019.923

Keywords:

recently immigrated students, science education, integration, modules

Abstract

Background: Over the last few years there has been a surge in the number of recently immigrated students to Germany. Schools often educate these students in separate language learning classes to facilitate integration, as immediate integration can be perceived as frustrating, boring and associated with language-use anxiety.

Purpose: Using short-term science modules as an intervention method can possibly circumvent several negative emotions such as frustration, boredom, and language-use anxiety, as well as encourage scientific interest.

Sample/setting: Students enrolled in nine preparation classes at seven different secondary schools in Germany (N=137, mean age = 13.9 years) participated in a module lasting three to four days.

Design and methods: To provide a range of topics, three modules in zoology, botany and electricity were offered. Each module could be chosen by each participating school and taught using the content and language learning (CLIL) concept combined with an action-oriented approach. A pre-post-design surveyed student perspectives with questionnaires before and after the module.

Results: After the module, we observed a significant decrease in boredom and language-use anxiety in the regular class, and a comparable trend was seen in frustration and perceived language barriers. However, we saw a significant increase in scientific interest.

Conclusions/Implications for classroom practice and future research: Content learning should be used in language preparation classes to ease the integration process for recently immigrated students. In particular, modules provide the opportunity for students to experience both the subject-specific content and language level necessary to participate in regular classes. These modules are easy to implement, as schools do not have to reorganize their preparation classes. Future research should examine differences in language level and knowledge gain, as well as add positive constructs such as “joy” to better grasp how international student perceive their regular classes.

Keywords: recently immigrated students, science education, modules

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Published

2020-03-13

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