Stoddart and colleagues (2010) take the position that “learning and doing science is not just a process of acquiring a set of facts, principles, and procedures; it also involves using the language of science in ways of talking and representing the natural world through discourse, interaction and collaboration. Science is a discourse about the natural world.” (p. 164).
"In addition to being a discipline, science activities are achieved through a social process where the language used for competent participation requires specialized ways of talking, writing, and thinking about the world in scientific ways (Cervetti et al., 2007). Learning and doing science is not just a process of acquiring a set of facts, principles, and procedures; it also involves using the language of science in ways of talking and representing the natural world through discourse, interaction, and collaboration. Science is a discourse about the natural world: “Biology is not plants and animals. It is language about plants and animals . . . . Astronomy is not planets and stars. It is a way of talking about planets and stars” (Postman, 1979, p. 165). Learning science and talking about science are, therefore, interrelated. The discourse of science has its own vocabulary and organization that are embodied in the ways scientists think and communicate about their work. Language mediates and structures the ways in which scientists think about and investigate problems. These processes include formulating hypotheses, proposing alternative solutions, describing, classifying, using time and spatial relations, inferring, interpreting data, predicting, generalizing, and communicating findings (Chamot & O’Malley, 1986; National Science Teachers Association, 1991). The use of these language functions is fundamental to the process of inquiry science (NRC, 1996). By engaging in scientific discourse, students learn how to think about science, how to “do” science, and, consequently, develop their own scientific understanding."
Stoddart, T., Solís, J.L., Tolbert, S. & Bravo, M. (2010). A framework for the effective science teaching of English language learners in elementary schools. In D. Sunal, C. Sunal & E. Wright (Eds.), Teaching Science with Hispanic ELLs in K-16 Classrooms (Research in Science Education Series), 151-181. Albany, NY: Information Age Publishing