Teacher Preparedness to Teach Evolution

Teacher Preparedness to Teach Evolution

The idea for this study came from the shortage of research that has been done to understand the evolution instruction provided by new secondary education teachers. A lack of training in teachers can potentially impact student understanding and acceptance. This study used a mixed- methods approach with a quantitative questionnaire modeled after Sickel and Friedrichsen’s (2013) research to measure teacher preparedness in evolutionary content knowledge, acceptance, and pedagogy. On a scale of one to five, new teachers scored an average of three in evolutionary content knowledge, a four in acceptance of evolution, and a three in pedagogy. A strong negative correlation was found between acceptance of evolution and religion. Qualitative interviews were conducted with eight participants to find out their thoughts on the interaction of evolution and religion, and if they had any personal worldview conflicts between the two because conflicts have been found to negatively impact evolution instruction (Barnes & Brownell, 2016). Most interviewees did not have a personal internal conflict between evolution and religion even though their average religiosity score was 3.01 (out of five). The primary external conflict teachers have is that their evolution instruction will have negative effects on students’ perception of evolution because they may offend students. This study is important for science education research and for credential programs because it shows that new teachers are not well prepared to teach evolution which is a problem since evolution is the cornerstone of biology. Furthermore, this study reveals that evolutionary content knowledge and pedagogy are not improved by the completion of a course on evolution or a scientific methods course in a teacher credentialing program.







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