WHAT HIGH SCHOOL ARAB STUDENTS IN ISRAEL REVEAL ABOUT BILINGUAL LEARNING OF SCIENCE USING CASE STUDIES?

A. Abed1, J. Dori2

1Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education (ISRAEL)
2Israel Institute of Technology, Division of Continuing Education and External Studies and Department of Education in Technology and Science Technion (ISRAEL)
Science learning involves difficulties which arise from the essence of science and the methods used to teach it. Students in the Arab sector experience special difficulties since learning materials are written in Hebrew. Incorporating case studies in learning scientific concepts, may increase students motivation to engage in learning science and fostere their acquisition of higher-order thinking skills. However, it may be difficult for those students to understand the case study which is written in Hebrew. Therefore, partial translation of the textbook may contribute to improving their understanding of the scientific issues. In this research, students in an Arab high school studied the module “The Quality of Air Around Us”, written in Hebrew, to which partial Arabic translation was provided. In the teaching/learning process both languages were used. The aim of the research was to follow cognitive and affective aspects in the bilingual learning process of the module among Arab students. The research population included 107 tenth and eleventh grade students who were either science or non-science majors. The tenth grade students were exposed to science taught in Hebrew for the first time. The eleventh grade students had studied in tenth grade another module written in Hebrew. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used.
The research findings indicate a significant improvement in knowledge of the Air Quality subject in all classes in a bilingual environment. A trend for improvement with time in posing questions and system thinking skills was found as well. The ability of students to analyze case studies improved. Students improved their Hebrew verbal ability. The research shows that partial translation of scientific learning materials is effective. It promotes students` understanding and attenuates their resistance to the introduction of learning materials written in a second language.