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Writing for Biology Learning
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  1. Writing for Biology Learning Stella Kong Hong Kong Institute of Education stella@ied.edu.hk

  2. Overview • Pedagogical framework: knowledge structures and text structures • Application of the framework: Respiration • Workshop activities: • Worksheet tasks • Text analysis

  3. 1. Pedagogical framework Focus on knowledge relationships between content/facts  higher order learning Content / Biology learning Focus on organised use of language to respond to content needs C-L integration Language / English learning

  4. Examples of knowledge structures • Definition: term to be defined  definition • Description: object to be described description of features of object • unclassified objects  taxonomy of classification • event  event  event  event • similarities and differences between two or more objects • causes  effects • object to be evaluated  evaluation • Hypothesis: situation/event  reasoned guesses • etc. Knowledge structures  Graphic organisers  Text structures Classification: Sequence: Comparison and contrast: Cause-effect: Evaluation:

  5. Classification Comparison and contrast Evaluation Information report Process description / Recount / Procedure Comparison-contrast Process explanation Factorial explanation Persuasion / Discussion Knowledge structures  Graphic organisers  Text structures • Tree diagram • Flow chart • Table • Arrows / Table • Table (for / against) Sequence Cause-effect

  6. 2. Application of the framework Workshop activities on Respiration Graphic organisers  Information transfer activities [text  graphic  text]

  7. Process description: Ventilation of the lungs Definition of process to describe Description sequence Language to define Ventilation of the lungs is the process by whichair is inhaled and exhaled. This process isthe first stage in respiration. When we inhale, air containing 21% oxygen entersthe respiratory system through the mouth and the nose. The air passes throughthe larynx and the trachea intothe two bronchi, which divide into many bronchioles. The air passes into these bronchioles, which connect to tiny sacs called alveoli. Gaseous exchange takes place in these alveoli. When we exhale, air containing less oxygen but much more carbon dioxide goes back fromthe alveoli to the bronchioles and then tothe bronchi. From the bronchi, air goes back tothe trachea and the larynx and then goes out ofthe respiratory system throughthe mouth and the nose. Verbs + prepositions  direction When-clause  cause-effect Which-clause  additional information

  8. Verbs of causes Process explanation Definition of the process to explain The when-clause Air is forced into and out of the lungs by the ribs, the intercostal muscles and the diaphragm. When the intercostal muscles contract, the ribs move upwards and outwards and the diaphragm becomes flattened. This causes the volume of the chest to increase and the pressure inside the chest therefore decreases. Air is therefore drawn in. When the intercostal muscles relax, the ribs move downwards and inwards and the diaphragm becomes dome shaped. This causes the volume of the chest to decrease and pressure inside the chest therefore increases. Air is therefore pushed out. Explanation sequence Causal connective

  9. Respiration and photosynthesis in plants Points of comparison Statement of comparison Both photosynthesis and respiration take place in green plants and both involve gaseous exchange. Respiration takes place all the time but photosynthesis only occurs when there is light. The rate of gaseous exchange depends on the light conditions. In bright light, such as on a sunny day, photosynthesis occurs quickly and respiration occurs at the same time. The plant releases oxygen and takes in carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and releases carbon dioxide and takes in oxygen through respiration. In these light conditions, more oxygen is released by photosynthesis than is taken in by respiration. More carbon dioxide is released by respiration than is taken in by photosynthesis. In darkness, such as at night, respiration continues but photosynthesis does not occur. The plant only releases carbon dioxide and only takes in oxygen. In dim light, respiration continues and photosynthesis occurs slowly. The plant releases oxygen and takes in carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and releases carbon dioxide and takes in oxygen through respiration. In these light conditions, about the same amount of oxygen is released by photosynthesis as is taken in by respiration. About the same amount of carbon dioxide is released by respiration as is taken in by photosynthesis. In bright light there is a net intake of carbon dioxide and a net release of oxygen in green plants. In darkness they only take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. In dim light the plant may take in about the same amount of oxygen through respiration as it releases through photosynthesis. It may take in about the same amount of carbon dioxide through photosynthesis as it releases through respiration. Summary of comparison

  10. Gradual release of support (Examples) • Blank filling with content words • Blank filling with language (grammar) words • Sentence starters • Paragraph starters • Model paragraphs • Text structures given • etc.

  11. 2. Application of the framework

  12. References • Derewianka, B. (1990). Exploring how texts work. Newtown: Primary English Teacher Association. • Derewianka, B. (1996). Exploring the writing of genres. Hertz, England: United Kingdom Reading Association. • Kong, S. (2008). Late immersion in Hong Kong: A pedagogical framework for integrating content-language teaching and learning. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 5, 107-132. • Martin, J. R. (1989). Factual writing: Exploring and challenging social reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. • Martin, J.R., & Veel, R. (Eds.). (1998). Reading science: Critical and functional perspectives on discourse of science. London: Routledge. • Mohan, B. (1986). Language and content. Reading: Addison-Wesley. • Tang, G. M. (1994). Bridging Chinese-medium and English-medium content area instruction through cross-cultural graphic representation of knowledge structures. Institute of Language in Education Journal, 11, 99-118.