ERIC Number: EJ937417
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
Student Teachers' Attitudes towards and Willingness to Teach Evolution in a Changing South African Environment
Abrie, A. L.
Journal of Biological Education, v44 n3 p102-107 2010
This article investigates the attitudes of South African student teachers towards the theory of evolution and their willingness to teach it. The teaching of evolution has been excluded from the South African school curriculum for most of the 20th century. In 2008, Grade 12 learners were for the first time exposed to the concept of evolution in the Life Sciences curriculum. The participants in this study completed school prior to 2008 and thus have to interpret this curriculum with no or very little training in this topic. A questionnaire consisting of Likert-style and open-ended questions was administered to student teachers who intend to become secondary school biology teachers. A large percentage of the participants were found to reject the theory of evolution. In addition, the majority indicated that they are religious. Those who were more observant were more likely than their less observant counterparts to find evolution incompatible with their belief system and to renounce the theory of evolution. Although 70% of the participants felt that they were adequately prepared to teach evolution, the data shows that these student teachers have a poor understanding of evolution theory and that they harbour many misconceptions. In fact, less than half of the students support the teaching of evolution in South African schools. The article concludes with a number of recommendations.
Descriptors: Evolution, Biology, Misconceptions, Science Instruction, Student Teacher Attitudes, Foreign Countries, Questionnaires, Likert Scales, Secondary School Science, Religion, Religious Factors, Knowledge Base for Teaching, Controversial Issues (Course Content)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa