On developing reading skills for biology : the role of the communication in science module (SCOM).
Tutshana, Vivienne Nomathamsanqa.
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This is an interpretive study to determine the role of the Communication in Science (SCOM) module in developing reading skills for the Biology mainstream module. Module course outlines, interviews with SCOM and Biology tutors and ex- SCOM students were used in this study. To better understand the role of Communication in Science in developing the reading skills for Biology, interviews, course outlines and ex-SCOM students’ written work were considered. The critical questions that framed the study were: 1.What are the reading requirements for Biology? 2. How are students expected to demonstrate their understanding of these requirements? 3. How does the SCOM module prepare students for the demands of the mainstream Biology module? The theoretical framework adopted in this study is the constructivists’ theory in which students actively construct their learning. Using an interpretive paradigm, qualitative data was collected. The Biology course outline was used to identify the disciplinary reading fundamentals of Biology. The SCOM course outline was used to evaluate the perceived impact of SCOM. Students’ written work was examined to assess their demonstration of their understanding of the use of basic reading for Biology. An interrogation of these tools provided answers to the research questions. From this study, it was found that the SCOM coordinator and ex-SCOM students believed that the module played a crucial role in developing reading skills for Biology. However, the researcher acknowledges that there could have been other factors that contributed to their performance besides the SCOM module. The students indicated that SCOM should be incorporated into the Science mainstream module so that it may assist other students who are struggling to read effectively. On the whole, the use of comprehensive approaches when teaching reading can significantly contribute to comprehension, especially for students who struggle with reading.