What can we learn from 1) The Literature 2) The Classroom
Literature Review of the Issue: The Hard Approach: Just the Facts Ma'am Miller et. al. 2006; Paz-y-Mino & Espinoza 2008, 2009 The Soft Approach: There's room for two! Matthews 2001; Cavallo & McCall 2008
The Hard Approach: Evolution should be taught throughout elementary school and high school. More time spent on evolution equates to higher rates of “ acceptance”. You will learn science Maggots!!!
The Hard Approach Part II: What causes the controversy? IGNORANCE!!! “ Adults, who, for example believe that humans were designed in the present form within the last 10,000 years coincide with the views of the least educated population” --Paz-y-Mino & Espinoza, 2009 How will it be solved? Building socio-scientific norms only derived from naturalistic ways of knowing. “ The core theme of all sciences, the centerpiece of all naturalistic explanations about the cosmos—should be required at and integrated into all educational levels.” --Paz-y-Mino & Espinoza, 2009 Post / positivism Science as “Truth” Post / positivism Science as “Truth”
The Soft Approach: Room for nontraditional discussion. Build science knowledge through student preconceptions and beliefs. Other ways of knowing seen as equally valid. And he sayeth, “there is room enough for belief in science learning!”
The Soft Approach Part II: “ Consideration of students' existing ideas important for conceptual change” --Matthews, 2001 “ The exclusion of discussion of students' existing views about the origin of life from the science classroom has contributed to the failure of traditional evolution education, perhaps even giving students the sense that a “cover-up” exists.” --Matthews, 2001 “ The question remaining is do students need to believe in evolution for evolution to be taught in our schools?” --Cavallo & McCall, 2008 Constructivism Social negotiation of truth
Evolution case studies: Videos to help educators address evolution http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/educators/teachstuds/tvideos.html
So what about the classroom? Current recommendations by NSF and other Science Education initiatives seem to suggest a “Hard Approach” to teaching evolution. Socioscientific norms are assumed as a given. There is no experience of “taken-as-shared” as teachers tend keep discussions in science classrooms purely “naturalistic”. Other ways of knowing are marginalized. And these themes are generally ignored. Belief, Faith, Metaphysics, etc. Evidence supporting evolution presented usually as a means to convince students. Studies have shown this is effective in building evolution acceptance. If that, in fact, is the goal.
Some general trends: From the Research 1 in 3 American adults firmly rejects the concept of evolution, a significantly higher proportion than found in any western European country. ( Miller et. al. 2006 ) Overall acceptance of evolution among biology students, regardless of Secular or Religious colleges increased gradually from the freshman to senior year, due to exposure to upper division courses with evolutionary content. ( Paz-y-Mino & Espinosa 2009 ). Acceptance of evolution was correlated to the number of bio courses taken. ( Nadelson & Southerland 2010 ). Curriculum which includes creation stories is more effective In fostering scientific views about evolution than “traditional” Curricula which lacked creation stories ( Matthews 2001 )
Cavallo, A. M. L., & McCall, D. (2008). Seeing may not mean believing: Examining students’ understandings & beliefs in evolution. The American Biology Teacher , 70, 522-530. Miller, J. D., Scott, E.C., & Okamoto, S. (2006). Public acceptance of evolution. Science , 313, 765-766. Matthews, D. (2001). Effects of a curriculum containing creation stories on attitudes about evolution. The American Biology Teacher, 63, 404-409. Paz-y-Miño, G., & Espinosa, A. (2009). Acceptance of evolution increases with student academic level: A comparison between a secular and a religious college. Evo Edu Outreach , 2, 655-675. Paz-y-Miño, G., & Espinosa, A. (2009). Assessment of biology majors’ versus nonmajors’ views on evolution, creationism and intelligent design. Evo Edu Outreach, 2: 75-83. Nadelson, L.S., & Southerland, S. A. (2010). Examining the interaction of acceptance and understanding: How does the relationship change with a focus on macroevolution? Evo Edu Outreach, 3