THE LAN­GUAGE OF SCI­ENCE

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

PRIM­I­TIVO G. CASILANG

To­day, most of the stu­dents find dif­fi­culty in study­ing sci­ence. Based from Deped re­ports, the NAT mean per­cent­age score (MPS) for high school in school year 2012-2013 was 51.43 per­cent which is 23.59 per­cent away from the tar­get and among the five sub­ject ar­eas assess to the stu­dents, sci­ence has the low­est MPS. In the K to 12 Cur­ricu­lum, sci­ence is be­ing taught start­ing from Grade 3 to Grade 12. The new sci­ence cur­ricu­lum is be­ing teach in a spi­ralling the com­pe­ten­cies in sci­ence. Learn­ing sci­ence re­quires mas­tery to its lan­guage-English and Math­e­mat­ics in or­der to un­der­stand con­cepts, ideas and ex­plore the won­der of sci­ence.

English is the Lan­guage of Sci­ence.

From el­e­men­tary to sec­ondary level, English lan­guage is used in sci­ence ed­u­ca­tion that is why English skills are es­sen­tial in the learn­ing process and un­der­stand­ing the con­cepts in sci­ence. Text­books or learn­ing ma­te­ri­als in sci­ence are writ­ten in English. It re­quires read­ing abil­ity to de­code the con­tents of text to un­der­stand sci­ence con­cepts. Sim­i­larly, English is the medium of in­struc­tion in teach­ing sci­ence. The teacher should use English to com­mu­ni­cate to his/ her stu­dents and vice-versa stu­dents will re­spond to their teach­ers ques­tion in English. Log­i­cally speak­ing, to ex­cel and to learn more in sci­ence, a stu­dent’s must have good com­mu­ni­ca­tion, read­ing and writ­ing skills in English.

Un­for­tu­nately, most of the stu­dents are not com­fort­able in speak­ing English in learn­ing sci­ence es­pe­cially dur­ing recita­tion and re­port­ing in sci­ence class. Most of stu­dents take more time to ex­press their ideas in English and once their teacher ask ques­tions, they feared to an­swer even they know an­swer be­cause they are afraid that they could be laugh by their class­mates once they com­mit mis­takes in speak­ing English or their an­swer is gram­mat­i­cally in­cor­rect. Stu­dents also strug­gling in an­swer­ing es­say ques­tions and guide ques­tions in sci­ence ac­tiv­ity or ex­per­i­ments. They brawl to write be­cause their brain try­ing to find the right word to ex­press their ideas.

Math­e­mat­ics is the Lan­guage of Sci­ence.

Galileo Galilei, an Ital­ian As­tronomer and Physi­cist, says “Math­e­mat­ics is the lan­guage in which God has writ­ten the uni­verse.” Lin­guist Noam Chom­sky de­scribes lan­guage as a set of sen­tences made us­ing a fixed set of el­e­ments. Anne Marie Hel­men­stine stated that Math­e­mat­ics is a lan­guage be­cause it con­sists of words or sym­bols, syn­tax and set of rules wherein the mean­ing is em­bed­ded and it is use and un­der­stands by group of peo­ple. Sci­ence is filled with sym­bols, codes, num­bers and equa­tions or for­mu­las used to de­scribe, com­pare and con­trast, un­der­stand and ex­plain con­cepts. It is a tool for com­mu­ni­ca­tion that con­cludes to an ex­act an­swer and unison for a cer­tain ques­tions. At el­e­men­tary level, stu­dents must master the ba­sic nu­mer­acy skills like read­ing, writ­ing num­bers and per­form­ing fun­da­men­tal oper­a­tions of math­e­mat­ics. This abil­ity will help them in study­ing sci­ence just like in de­scrib­ing ob­jects; mea­sure­ments play a vi­tal role to de­ter­mine the quan­ti­ta­tive prop­er­ties of mat­ter. A sim­ple quan­tity ba­si­cally con­sist of a num­ber and a unit but de­rived quan­ti­ties con­sist of for­mu­las or equa­tions to find their value e.g. den­sity and vol­ume. Stud­ies say that physics and chem­istry are the branches of sci­ence that are greatly in­flu­ence by math­e­mat­ics. Prob­lem solv­ing, graph­i­cal pre­sen­ta­tion and com­plex for­mu­las are most like use to teach most les­sons in physics and chem­istry. The sci­ence cur­ricu­lum from el­e­men­tary to ju­nior high school seem­ingly di­vided into four branches of sci­en­ce­physics, chem­istry, bi­ol­ogy and earth sci­ence; it is been teach to the stu­dents through spi­ral pro­gres­sion method.

But what if the stu­dents lack nu­mer­i­cal abil­ity? How can he mea­sure the ex­act amount of cer­tain quan­ti­ties? In learn­ing sci­ence, ex­per­i­ments are usu­ally done and mea­sur­ing is the most ba­sic skills per­formed in per­form­ing it. How do stu­dents can solve word prob­lems if they have poor math­e­mat­i­cal abil­ity? They can­not solve word prob­lems be­cause they can­not in­ter­pret the re­la­tion­ships and they don’t master the fun­da­men­tal oper­a­tions even know­ing the cor­rect for­mu­las in solv­ing the prob­lem.

— oOo—

THE AUTHOR IS TEACHER III AT PARALAYA HIGH SCHOOL

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