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South African Journal of African Languages

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Language mastery, narrative abilities and oral expression abilities in chemistry learning: Importance of mother-tongue and traditional narration

Liliana Mammino

Abstract


The importance of language and language mastery for science learning has been the object of extensive investigation in recent decades, leading to ample recognition. However, specific focus on the role of narrative abilities is still scarce. This work focuses on the relevance of narrative abilities for chemistry learning. Chemistry is an ideal area for the investigation of the role of language-related aspects in science learning, because it combines and integrates all the modes of expression that are relevant in the sciences: narrative, mathematical, and symbolic. 

The impact of inadequate narrative abilities on chemistry learning is illustrated through a number of concrete examples serving as experimental documentation. The discussion considers the synergism of the development of language mastery and the development of narrative abilities, and the deep connections of the latter with cultural heritage, also giving specific attention to the importance of oral narrative abilities. The benefits of the acquisition/enhancement of narrative abilities within traditional heritage are highlighted. It is concluded that the richness of African oral tradition and its closeness to the learners’ cultural heritage make it a powerful ground for such acquisition; in other words, an important cultural-heritage component becomes a ground to enrich learners’ equipment of intellectual instruments, thus enhancing their learning abilities in all areas.




http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02572117.2015.1056459
AJOL African Journals Online