South Africa consistently lags behind other nations on international benchmarking tests of literacy, mathematics and, especially, science as illustrated in the low achievement outcomes on the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) tests. Research in the 21st century has shown that learning science at an early age is a predictor of scientific literacy later in life. The low science achievement in South Africa is impacted by several variables, however, one important aspect of students’ failure to acquire science reasoning skills lies in how they are taught science. Drawing on the work of Vygotsky, Hedegaard, Freire, and Feuerstein, this paper reports on an intervention using a novel pedagogical model to teach science in grade two classrooms. A comparative case study is presented where one teacher is trained in the novel pedagogical model and one is not trained to use this model. Both teachers teach in the same school and the demographics of the children in the two separate classes studied are similar. Findings indicate that where the novel pedagogical model is used, the teacher uses more scientific, abstract concepts in her lesson; she links the abstract to the children’s everyday concepts and, perhaps most significantly, she illustrates to students why they must learn the content she is teaching them.
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