Researchers in science education agree that learning science includes, and is also facilitated by, use of scientific language; learning to talk science (Lemke 1990; Mortimer and Scott 2003; Norris and Phillips 2003; Wellington and Osborne 2001. In addition, scientific language is an important part of the nature of science and should, as such, be included in the teaching of science. These two points about language and learning science ought to be reflected in the language used in science classrooms. In our study of lessons across the three subjects Science, Mathematics and Language Arts (Klette et al. 2008) and in a separate study of science lessons (Odegaard and Arnesen 2010), we found that a large proportion of the science lessons, significantly larger than for the two other subjects, were characterized by teacher-led dialogues. Taking these findings as a point of departure we have analyzed the material from the science lessons we have studied to try to clarify the characteristics of classroom talk and use of language in science lessons.

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