Real Science in Clear English


Real Science in Clear English The Issue English dominates the world of science. In order for students in countries such as China, India, Asia and the Middle East to compete globally in their fields, an increasing number of their tertiary institutes use English – rather than local languages – as the medium of instruction. However, most available textbooks are written in a manner that assumes total native fluency in English. Studying science is already challenging; in a foreign language it is even more so. It is our experience that this causes many unnecessary problems in the learning process. Our Solution1 Students need textbooks that are more language accessible, without reducing the level of scientific content. This presentation will demonstrate our approach to achieve this goal through the: • Elimination of complex sentence construction, formal vocabulary, and idiomatic expressions. • Removal of the many distractions that disrupt readability for students reading in English as a foreign language - such as italics and unnecessary sidebars. • Inclusion of language features that assist non-native speakers. We will demonstrate these principles using our pilot project, Organic Chemistry Concepts: An EFL Approach.2 Except for essential technical terms, the vocabulary contains about 1250 words drawn from the 2,000 most common English words and the 570 most common academic words.3 The outcome of this is learning material that is presented in straightforward language and format, without compromising the scientific content. References 1 2 G Roos and C Roos, Organic Chemistry Concepts: An EFL Approach, Academic Press, Boston, 2015 3

Author Information
Gregory Roos, Murdoch University, Australia
Cathryn Roos, Zayed University, Dubai

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2015
Stream: Higher education

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon