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ERIC Number: EJ1060427
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1935-7869
Teaching Evolution: From SMART Objectives to Threshold Experience
Wolf, Alexander; Akkaraju, Shylaja
Journal of Effective Teaching, v14 n2 p35-48 2014
Despite the centrality of evolution to the study of biology, the pedagogical methods employed to teach the subject are often instructor-centered and rarely embedded in every topic throughout the curriculum. In addition, students' prior beliefs about evolution are often dismissed rather than incorporated into the classroom. In this article we describe the use of SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-sensitive) guidelines to "flip" our classroom in order to create and maintain a supportive learning environment that addresses these concerns. This environment consisted of at-home learning modules deployed at specific times throughout the semester. We found that students responded well in the environment and generally achieved our benchmarks for performance. We observed that many students struggled both with conceptual understanding as well as their conflict between deeply held personal beliefs and evolutionary theory. Our observations also appear to support the view that evolution through natural selection is a threshold concept in biology.
Journal of Effective Teaching. Center for Teaching Excellence, 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403. Tel: 910-962-3034; Fax: 910-962-3427; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A