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Associate Professor of Science Education
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Learning evolution is tough for most high school students. It’s abstract, and learners have to trace its development over millions of years. For many religious students, learning evolution is really tough because it questions some of their deepest beliefs. I know this first hand. I grew up in fundamentalist Christianity in north Mississippi.
I guide science teachers to see ways to teach evolution beyond a warfare model. Many American science teachers see only two ways to approach evolution. Either they stay true to the science and run roughshod over their religious students' beliefs, or they try to honor the beliefs of those students and their families by not teaching evolution at all. There is a third approach to these tensions. Teachers can both stay true to science and honor students’ faith-based questions and concerns. This third approach is rooted in an inquiry-based approach to teaching evolution, as I’ve outlined in my book (see resources).
Changing how American teachers approach the teaching of evolution is a long, long conversation. Teaching evolution can easily become a shouting match. My work is about engaging science teachers in finding ways to bring civil discourse to their classrooms that engage all science learners.
2009 The Missing Link. An Inquiry Approach for Teaching All Students About Evolution, 152pp, Paperback