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COMPREHENSION LEVEL OF NON-TECHNICAL TERMS IN SCIENCE: ARE WE READY FOR SCIENCE IN ENGLISH

COMPREHENSION LEVEL OF NON-TECHNICAL TERMS IN SCIENCE: ARE WE READY FOR SCIENCE IN ENGLISH,Maznah Ali,Zurida Ismail

COMPREHENSION LEVEL OF NON-TECHNICAL TERMS IN SCIENCE: ARE WE READY FOR SCIENCE IN ENGLISH  
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Most students find the learning of science not an easy task. These difficulties arise not only from the use of symbols to represent concepts, but also the language that must be mastered, in particular the technical and non-technical vocabulary. Students who learn science not in their first language face the problem of understanding both the scientific terminologies (technical terms) and regular explanation of the knowledge itself. Non-technical vocabulary refers to terms that have one or many meanings in everyday language but which have a precise and sometimes different meaning in a scientific context. Studies indicated that technical language of science posed a problem of familiarity, but students were seen to be able to cope reasonably well with this. Where a more acute problem lay, was in the use in science of normal, familiar language in a highly specific, often-changed and unfamiliar way. This paper will present the finding from a survey that aim at investigating form 4 students' comprehension of common non- technical terms used in science. Sample consisted of 91 students (form 4 students of different streams - arts, science and engineering) who were requested to respond to 50-item questionnaire. Facilities index were calculated for each item. Analysis of the result showed that these students do encounter some difficulties in understanding the meanings of the non-technical terms. Abstrak: Kebanyakan pelajar mendapati bahawa mempelajari sains bukannya suatu tugas yang mudah. Kerumitan ini timbul bukan hanya dalam penggunaan simbol bagi mewakili konsep malahan bahasa yang perlu dikuasai terutamanya perbendaharaan kata berbentuk teknikal dan perbendaharaan kata bukan teknikal. Pelajar yang menggunakan bahasa bukan bahasa ibundanya untuk mempelajari ilmu sains menghadapi masalah memahami kedua-dua terminologi saintifik dan penjelasan biasa ilmu tersebut. Perbendaharaan kata bukan teknikal merujuk kepada terminologi yang bukan sahaja mempunyai satu atau beberapa maksud dalam bahasa harian tetapi juga satu maksud tepat dan kadangkala maksud yang berlainan dalam konteks saintifik. Kajian menunjukkan bahawa bahasa teknikal sains menimbulkan masalah yang lazim tetapi pelajar didapati dapat menanganinya dengan baik. Masalah yang lebih runcing adalah dalam penggunaan bahasa saintifik biasa yang amat spesifik, selalu bertukar dan gaya yang tidak lazim bagi pelajar. Kertas kerja ini akan membincangkan dapatan daripada soal selidik yang bertujuan menyiasat kefahaman pelajar-pelajar tingkatan 4 tentang terminologi- terminologi bukan teknikal biasa yang diguna dalam sains. Sampel terdiri daripada 91 pelajar (pelajar tingkatan 4 daripada aliran berlainan - sastera, sains dan kejuruteraan) yang dikehendaki menjawab soal selidik yang mengandungi 50 item. Indeks kesukaran dihitung bagi setiap item. Analisis terhadap keputusan respons menunjukkan bahawa
Published in 2006.
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