Globalization has vastly enhanced the mobility of people and ideas, in turn changing the world’s educational landscape and increasing the proportion of nonnative English speakers within English learning environments. Although research exists on English Language Learner (ELL) pedagogies and on international education as two separate bodies, few studies have examined the experiences of ELLs learning science within the multicultural environment of international schools. The purpose of the study is to answer three questions: 1) ELLs experience the integration of language and content within mainstream science classes? 2) Which, if any, aspects of their classroom experience do they find problematic, and which, if any, do they find conducive to learning Biology in English? 3) How do mainstream teachers experience the immersion of ELLs within their classes? Qualitative means are employed to explore these questions, uncovering several findings. Firstly, the data reiterates the central role of language as a mediator for learning, in any discipline. Secondly, the importance of native language to both additional language acquisition and learning Biology is highlighted. Similarly, the importance of communicative competence, especially in scientific expression is supported by the data. Time, pace, and differentiation were also found to be fundamental aspects that require careful consideration in the design and delivery of international exam courses. Finally, the importance of fostering a supportive learning environment that promotes high self-efficacy among students is reiterated.


International & Comparative Education Department

Degree Name

MA in International & Comparative Education

Graduation Date

Spring 5-26-2017

Submission Date

January 2015

First Advisor

Skaggs, Jennifer

Second Advisor


Third Advisor


Committee Member 1

El Deghaidy, Heba

Committee Member 2


Committee Member 3



108 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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