Biology Teachers' Professional Development Needs for Teaching Evolution

By Friedrichsen, Patricia J.; Linke, Nicholas et al. | Science Educator, Summer 2016 | Go to article overview

Biology Teachers' Professional Development Needs for Teaching Evolution


Friedrichsen, Patricia J., Linke, Nicholas, Barnett, Ellen, Science Educator


Introduction

In the first six months of 2014, The National Center for Science Education documented anti-evolution legislative bills in South Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Virginia, and South Dakota (http://ncse.com). This social controversy directly impacts biology teachers and their teaching practices. Past research has focused on determining which teachers are teaching evolution, factors contributing to the likelihood a teacher will teach evolution, the nature of teachers' evolution practice, as well as obstacles to teaching evolution (Sickel & Friedrichsen, 2013). But few researchers are examining the professional development (PD) needs of secondary biology teachers who are teaching evolution in the face of increasing anti-evolution efforts. By better understanding secondary biology teachers' professional development needs and addressing those needs, we can improve the quality of evolution education in our schools.

Literature Review

We focused our review of the literature on studies of practicing secondary biology teachers in the United States. Evolution teaching takes place within a community and state context, with state standards and community values differing across the country. To reflect this, we identify the state in which each study took place. In the first section, we review the literature on teachers' content understanding for teaching evolution, including understanding of the nature of science. Next we review the nature of secondary biology teachers' practice as it relates to teaching evolution, including number of hours evolution is taught, approach to teaching evolution, and topics most likely to be taught. The section concludes with a review of perceived obstacles to teaching science and teachers' self-reported professional development needs.

Teachers' Content Understanding for Teaching Evolution

Studies in which researchers directly assess evolution content knowledge report secondary pre-sendee biology teachers often have the same misconceptions as secondary students (e.g., only the strongest survive, need-driven adaptation) (Abrie, 2010; Crawford, Zembal-Saul, Munford, & Friedrichsen, 2005; Zuzovsky, 1994). Other studies show that misconceptions persist among in-service biology teachers (Aleixandre, 1994; Nehm, Kim,& Shepard, 2009; Nehm & Schonfeld, 2008) and, consequently, some in-service teachers have difficulty identifying students' alternative conceptions (Aleixandre, 1994). For a comprehensive review of common misconceptions held by students, pre-sendee and in-sendee teachers, see Nehm & Schonfeld, 2008.

When biology teachers rate the adequacy of their teacher preparation in regard to teaching evolution, there is a great range in perceptions. On the high end, 99.2% of Ohio biology teachers (Borgerding, 2012) and 95% of Florida biology teachers (Fowler & Meisels, 2010) reported they understood evolution well enough to teach it. In the mid-range, 74% of Oklahoma biology teachers felt well prepared to teach evolution (Weld & McNew, 1999) and 62% of Louisiana biology teachers reported their academic training was adequate to teach evolution (Aguillard, 1999). In contrast, only 1/3 of Minnesota biology teachers felt they had proper undergraduate training to teach evolution (Moore & Kraemer, 2005).

Teachers with evolution coursework are more likely to teach evolution (Aguillard, 1999; Berkman & Plutzer, 2011) and teachers with more total hours of biology credits in their degree programs allocate more time to teaching evolution (Aguillard, 1999). However, Nehm, Kim and Shepard (2009) reported that in regard to advocating for creationism, there was no difference between teachers in a study who had taken an evolution course and those who had not.

A strong understanding of the nature of science (NOS) has been shown to be positively correlated (r=.59; /?<0.05) to biology teachers' emphasis on teaching evolution (Trani, 2004). …

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

Biology Teachers' Professional Development Needs for Teaching Evolution
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.