Cultural and Conceptual Change

What does it say about classroom learning when a majority of the United States populace does not accept evolution? Somewhere between university studies and entry into the classroom, something is influencing teacher decisions about evolution, something that determines what they teach their students and how. Understanding this process is the key to designing pre-service teacher curriculum that enhances understanding, encourages teaching of evolution, and provides support to do so confidently and accurately. This study sought to examine the lived experiences of pre-service science teachers as they prepared to enter the classroom as teachers. To do so, interviews were conducted among individuals who were sorted based on their levels of acceptance of evolution. These interviews provided insight into the cultural and personal experiences that shape ideas about evolution, teaching evolution, and the nature of science itself among students in a rural teaching college in the Southeastern United States, a region where evolution controversy is openly contentious. While the United States stands at the opposite of many other first tier nations in this position, what we have learned about culturally responsive approaches to teaching, learning, and teacher education applies across fields to all areas where there is public misconception, including climate change, science and religion, and cultural divergence from scientific positions.

Conceptual Change

Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

Focused Discussion

  • Amanda Glaze
    • Assistant Professor, Department of Middle Grades & Secondary Education, Georgia Southern University, United States United States