Student Voices

English language learner students in a South Texas school district were surveyed by IDRA in 2008 about their science learning. Below is a sample of their responses.

What are some things teachers do that really help you learn science?

  • They make themselves available after class for tutoring, and they give us good strategies.
  • Explain what the work is about.
  • Do experiments and help us a lot in anything we have a problem with.
  • Do experiments in the form of games. 
  • Show you steps to remember the importance of what we are studying about.
  • They give examples that have to do with your life.
  • The teacher translates the class.
  • Explaining with something related to what we already know.

What advice would you give to teachers and the school to help you be successful in science?

  • I guess make it simple, and try not to scare the students.
  • To have fun with the students while teaching.
  • The same thing as every class, to really explain to us carefully each problem.
  • Help students with the instructions. 
  • To make experiments or other activities so we can understand.
  • Do experiments, and also do a lot of vocabulary.
  • Use pictures and key words.

When did you enjoy learning science the most? Why?

  • By having projects, I learn things that I didn’t learn before. 
  • When the teacher explains and shows demonstrations like videos or whatever. 
  • When we start doing experiments, we pay more attention.
  • When I learn something that I never can forget, and always I can do that work.
  • I don’t remember enjoying science.
  • Because you can see everything that happens with the animals, planets, earth. 
  • Because I like learning about life, how it works and stuff like that.

Comments and questions may be directed to IDRA via e-mail at

[©2009, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the June-July 2009 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Every effort has been made to maintain the content in its original form. However, accompanying charts and graphs may not be provided here. To receive a copy of the original article by mail or fax, please fill out our information request and feedback form. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]