Learning Disabilities Research & Practice

Abstract - Detail

Science for All: Engaging Students with Special Needs In and About Science

Authors: Villanueva, M. G., & Hand, B.


The notion of Science for All suggests that all students – irrespective of achievement and ability – should engage in opportunities to understand the practice and discourse of science.  Improving scientific literacy has an intrinsic goal of science education, yet current instructional practices may not effectively support all students, in particular, students with special needs.  Argument-based inquiry approaches, such as the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH), require all students to construct their scientific understandings by engaging in investigations and negotiating their ideas in multiple contexts, such as discussions and writing. VariousSWH studies demonstrated that students engaged in appropriating the language, culture, practice and dispositions of science generallyimproved their critical thinking and standardized test scores. The implementation of such an approach has several implications for science and special education research and practice, including how learning environments should be established to encourage the inclusion of all students’ ideas, as well as how scaffolded supports can and should be used to support science learning.

Publishing information: Volume 26, number 3