The Influence of 8ative Language on Ghanaian Junior Secondary School Students\' Understanding of some Science Concepts

  • E Ngman-Wara


The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of the native language of Junior Secondary School (JSS) students on the meanings they give to science words when used in and out of science context. Two multiple choice tests involving twenty-five common words in science were administered to 1028 students (573 males and 455 females) from twelve Junior Secondary Schools (6 urban and 6 rural) in Northern Ghana. The tests first sought to find out the extent to which the students' understand the science concepts and secondly to find out how their native language influenced this understanding. The general performance of the students was very low. They performed better on ‘science concepts with native language equivalent words' than those without ‘native language equivalent words' with percentage mean scores of 32.2% and 29.1% respectively. In this light, the paper argues that the native language of the learner has an influence on the students' understanding of science concepts and that the native language of the student can not be ignored during science instruction. There is therefore the need to develop language register for science instruction.

African Journal of Educational Studies in Mathematics and Sciences Vol. 3 2005: pp. 43-52

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2508-1128