Preparing Preservice K-8 Teachers for the Public School: Improving Evolution Attitudes, Misconceptions, and Legal Confusion

By Vaughn, Ashley R.; Robbins, Jennifer R. | Journal of College Science Teaching, November-December 2017 | Go to article overview

Preparing Preservice K-8 Teachers for the Public School: Improving Evolution Attitudes, Misconceptions, and Legal Confusion


Vaughn, Ashley R., Robbins, Jennifer R., Journal of College Science Teaching


Although science teachers have a responsibility to educate students on evolutionary theory, current research has indicated that many teachers do not value evolutionary theory, do not understand the role of evolution within the curriculum, and in some cases do not believe evolution should be taught in school (Losh & Nzekwe, 2011; Nadelson & Nadelson, 2010). Preservice teacher (PST) beliefs toward pseudoscience and evolution approximately align with the general public (Losh & Nzekwe, 2011). In 2014, over 40% of Americans believed humans were created in their present form (creationism), 31% believed humans evolved with guidance from God (intelligent design), and only 19% believed humans evolved without God (Newport, 2014). Encouragingly, acceptance of evolutionary theory increased 10% in the past 2 decades (Newport, 2014); however, widespread misconceptions remain (Losh & Nzekwe, 2011). Schools and teachers have a significant role in correcting these misconceptions, yet specific knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of K-8 PST about evolution have not been well reported.

K-8 and special education PST may not expect to teach evolutionary theory; however, as more states adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; NGSS Lead States, 2013), pressure increases to introduce these concepts in an age-appropriate manner. Evolutionary theory serves as a NGSS Disciplinary Core Idea (DCI) beginning in 2nd grade (2-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity; NGSS Lead States, 2013). DCI are themes or ideas central to science disciplines, serve as organizing concepts and tools for understanding key ideas and solving problems closely related to societal concerns, and can be taught to a wide range of grades and depths.

Nadelson and Southerland (2010) discussed the need for increased education on macroevolution to further knowledge, acceptance, and belief, having demonstrated that acceptance of evolution and understanding of macroevolution are significantly correlated. Prior research has indicated a significant correlation between biology majors' microevolution knowledge and evolution acceptance (Nadelson & Southerland, 2010; Southerland & Sinatra, 2005). Others have effectively used inquiry-based instruction to foster significant gains in acceptance and knowledge of evolution among undergraduate nonscience majors (Robbins & Roy, 2007).

All citizens benefit from increased science understanding, but public school teachers have an additional responsibility: communication of science in a religiously neutral way. Procreationist groups have promoted standards and lesson plans to "Teach the Controversy," encouraging the public to see creationism and evolution as equally valid choices in a menu of possible scientific explanations for diversity of life (Meyer, 2002; Mitchell, 2012). Although teaching creationism is illegal in U.S. public schools, many teachers still include creationism or "evidence" that evolution is incorrect in their curricula (Moore, 2004, 2008). Moore (2004) found four factors influencing teachers' evolutionary theory instruction: pressure to teach creationism or avoid evolution; teachers' acceptance of creationism and rejection of evolution; teachers' lack of knowledge about the law; and teachers' religious beliefs. Almost 30% of biology teachers think there are places in the United States where teaching evolution is a crime. Twenty-eight percent believe both evolution and creationism can be taught in the classroom if students, parents, and administrators desire (Moore, 2004). Explicit legal instruction for education majors would seem to be merited.

We contend it is essential for science teachers not only to be fully prepared for grade-level appropriate evolutionary theory content, but also to have a clear understanding of both legal and ethical issues surrounding teaching evolution in the classroom. Here we analyze misconceptions, attitudes, and beliefs of preservice K-8 and special education teachers enrolled in a college life sciences class restricted to education majors. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Preparing Preservice K-8 Teachers for the Public School: Improving Evolution Attitudes, Misconceptions, and Legal Confusion
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.