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ERIC Number: ED552557
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 368
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2679-6290-4
Teaching of Evolution in Public Schools: A Cross-Cultural Examination
Stewart, Joshua M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Northern Colorado
The current study sought to examine how the cultural settings of Colorado, United States, and Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, influenced perspectives, understandings, and acceptance of college students who want to become teachers (i.e., prospective teachers) in regard to the theory of evolution, creationism, and intelligent design with both quantitative and qualitative components. The quantitative sample for the study consisted of 221 German prospective teachers from Baden-Wurttemberg and 231 United States prospective teachers from Colorado. The quantitative component consisted of a 42-item survey with both Likert and true/false items to examine how (1) country of origin, (2) religious participation, and (3) educational background influence students' views and understandings of the theory of evolution and alternative conceptions. Additionally, in a Likert 6-item motivated reasoning task (a theoretical construct), prospective teachers were asked to read and critique arguments supporting and opposing the theory of evolution; differences in how students critiqued arguments were hypothesized to demonstrate biases. For a separate sample from the same locations (8 German and 11 United States students), a qualitative component examined prospective teachers' positions on teaching the theory of evolution in public schools. Prospective teachers were asked to provide support for their position, anticipate opposing arguments, and implications that both positions would have for students. Lastly, prospective teachers were also asked to explain and define the theory of evolution. The current study aided in examining how teachers' perspectives, understandings, and acceptance impacted what was taught in the science classroom. The researcher found that country of origin, religious behavior, and educational background predicted prospective teachers' responses to numerous criterion variables used in the current study. Further, qualitative results expressed major differences between prospective teachers' views regarding the inclusion of evolution or alternative conceptions in public schools, between Colorado and Baden-Wurttemberg. As a potential indicator, findings from the current study may be useful in understanding potential differences between these two countries, in regard to perceptions of the theory of evolution and alternative conceptions. Further, findings from the current study might also inform how these topics might be covered in educational settings with a lowered risk of conflict. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado; Germany