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ERIC Number: EJ1110254
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1094-3277
Biology Teachers' Professional Development Needs for Teaching Evolution
Friedrichsen, Patricia J.; Linke, Nicholas; Barnett, Ellen
Science Educator, v25 n1 p51-61 Sum 2016
The social controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution puts pressure on secondary biology teachers to deemphasize or omit evolution from their curriculum. In this growing pressure, professional development can offer support to biology teachers. In this study, we surveyed secondary biology teachers in Missouri and report the data from teachers who are teaching evolution (N = 276). Teachers were asked to self-report their content understanding of evolution topics, the nature of their evolution teaching practice, their level of familiarity with available evolution education resources, obstacles they perceived as barriers to their evolution instruction, and their self-reported professional development (PD) needs related to evolution education. Seventy-five percent of teachers reported having an adequate understanding of all the listed evolution topics. Sixty percent of teachers reported teaching evolution as a unifying theme as well as including a unit devoted to evolution. Natural selection and nature of science were the most commonly taught topics. Teachers identified the lack of good labs and supplemental materials as their two biggest obstacles to teaching evolution. Teachers were not familiar with available evolution education resources. Teachers expressed interest in many aspects of professional development with over 75% of teachers reporting that they wanted "some emphasis" or "great emphasis" placed on every topic listed. In particular, teachers reported they wanted PD that placed a great emphasis on current research in evolution, labs/investigations using real data and/or live organisms, evolution simulations, contemporary evolution examples, and misconceptions. Implications for professional development are given.
National Science Education Leadership Association. P.O. Box 99381, Raleigh, NC 27624-9381. Tel: 919-848-8171; Fax: 919-848-0496; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Missouri
Grant or Contract Numbers: TUES1140462