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White Paper

Science Speak: Common vs Technical Science Language


Language in the context of a science or engineering classroom is not necessarily consistent with every day, colloquial speak. In terms of an engineering or science course, for students to “speak engineering” or “speak science”, we must treat language as a concept and explicitly teach students the languages of science or engineering. This white paper explores the rationale for science speak in the context of learning and language development, and argues that instructors and students need to be aware of the language acquisition required in order to more effectively learn and engage in the scientific community.

Science Speak: Common vs Technical Science Language

Science Speak: Common vs Technical Science Language


Jacquelyn Kelly

Jacquelyn Kelly, Ph.D., is an Associate Dean at University of Phoenix with more than 15 years of experience in science and math education. Her expertise is in translating STEM education research into practice at institutions of higher education. Kelly earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Science Education from Arizona State University. Her master's degree is in Materials Science and Engineering from Arizona State University. Her undergraduate degree is in Physics and Chemistry from California State University, San Marcos. She has been principal investigator and co-principal investigator of multiple federal grant projects to develop science education support for rural area K-12 teachers and to develop student government science officer roles in K-12. Kelly’s previous positions include science teaching, teacher evaluator for the county education service agency, and program director for professional development programs for science and math educators.