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ERIC Number: EJ1107062
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9266
50 Years of JBE: The Evolution of Biology as a School Subject
Jenkins, Edgar
Journal of Biological Education, v50 n3 p229-232 2016
When the "Journal of Biological Education" was first published in 1967, biology was still very much the Cinderella of the three school sciences in many countries. Most selective secondary school biology courses readily betrayed their origins as an unconvincing coalition of botany and zoology. In the non-selective secondary modern schools, biological education was often limited to socially- or economically-directed courses such as Human Biology, Health Education, Physiology, Hygiene, Agriculture and Horticulture. Courses of this kind were also the antecedents of the general biology programmes that developed in high schools in the USA. Reviewing the past half century of biological education offers much that can properly be described as progress. More biology is now being taught to more students than at any time in the past, school curricula are more in touch with developments in biological science, and the public salience of biology is high. In many countries, there has also been some easing of the gender gap. However, as school biology has become more mathematical, more experimental, more focused at the level of the gene, chromosome and cell and more conceptually demanding, is there a risk that this will make biological science more difficult and less readily accessible to a wider public? Biology teachers are facing ways to overcome the challenge of providing a biological education that meets the needs of the overwhelming majority of students. Data from many countries suggest that too few citizens have an adequate grasp of relationships such as causality and probability, of what it means to think scientifically and of many basic scientific concepts. Creationism and intelligent design hold sway in many parts of the world and the teaching of evolution continues to be forbidden in several education systems, usually because it is seen as in conflict with long-held revealed truths. The 2012 Eurobarometer survey indicated that most EU citizens were opposed to the introduction of genetically modified (GM) food and believed that scientists could not be trusted to tell the truth about controversial scientific and technological issues because of their growing dependence on industrial and commercial sources of funding. While the "great development" of the biological sciences envisaged by Tizard has unquestionably taken place, much work remains to be done to promote public understanding of the biological sciences and of biology-related issues.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England); United States
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for International Student Assessment; Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A