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ERIC Number: EJ937524
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 24
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9266
Children's Anthropomorphic and Anthropocentric Ideas about Micro-Organisms
Byrne, Jenny; Grace, Marcus; Hanley, Pam
Journal of Biological Education, v44 n1 p37-43 2009
Different views exist about whether anthropomorphic ideas assist or hinder learning in biology. This paper discusses the anthropomorphic and anthropocentric ideas children have about micro-organisms, and whether they affect their understanding. The research was carried out in primary and secondary schools in the South of England and involved 414 children aged 7, 11 and 14 years. Three different research techniques were used to elicit their ideas. Anthropomorphic and anthropocentric ideas about micro-organisms are apparent in responses from all age groups. Anthropomorphic ideas seem to help children to explain their understanding of some aspects of micro-organisms but the imbalance in children's anthropocentric views of micro-organisms appears to prohibit them considering other aspects of micro-organisms; for example, the importance of their role in decomposition and cycling of matter, or their beneficial technological applications. The focus on the danger micro-organisms are thought to pose to human health creates a hostile view of micro-organisms and this may inhibit future learning. (Contains 1 figure and 5 tables.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)