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Language-sensitive Biology Instruction - Intervention study to Promote Professional Competence Through Lesson Observation

Involved persons: Prof. Dr. Birgit J. Neuhaus, Franziska Behling, Dr. Christian Förtsch

Biology instruction does not seem to have much in common with language at first glance. However, research has shown that student achievement depends on the command of edu-cational language (Prediger et al., 2015). Consequently, in addition to acquiring subject knowledge, instruction should also promote the development of educational language. Therefore, pedagogical scientific language knowledge (PSLK) is needed. However, most teachers do not have much PSLK (Markic, 2017). Theoretically, PSLK can be assigned to pro-fessional competence (Kunter et al., 2011). Furthermore, teachers’ professional vision (Seidel et al., 2010), content knowledge (CK) and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) are described as important aspects of professional competence.
The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of observing biology instruction with the focus on language-sensitive aspects (Echevarria et al., 2014; Riebling, 2013) on the devel-opment of aspects of professional competence (Kunter et al., 2011), as well as the profes-sional vision (Seidel et al., 2010) of teacher education students.
The study has an experimental design and is conducted within the framework of the Uniklasse Naturwissenschaften at the Städtisches Lion Feuchtwanger-Gymnasium München is used. The Uniklasse Naturwissenschaften enables a video-based live-observation of in-struction without disturbing the lesson. Within the experimental group, biology teacher stu-dents take part in a seminar focusing on aspects of biology-specific pedagogical content knowledge. In addition, students reflect biology instruction, which is broadcasted live to an observation room, with the focus on language-sensitive traits aspects using an observation form (Echevarria et al., 2014). Students in the control group attend a seminar with the same content, but without the observation of biology instruction. Instead, the language-sensitive content is edited in practice phases. In a pre-post design, CK, PCK and PSLK are collected using paper-pencil tests. Expectations and attitudes regarding language-sensitive biology instruction are assessed by means of a Likert-scale questionnaire and professional teaching by means of text vignettes.