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Controversial Before Entering My Classroom: Exploring Pre-service Teacher Experiences with Evolution Teaching and Learning in the Southeastern United States (Ch 4)

Chapter Abstract


Evolution continues to be a polarizing topic amongst the public as well as in K-12 and

post-secondary classrooms. One issue that contributes to the polarization is the absence of

accurate and meaningful instruction on evolution. The divide is especially pronounced in regions

such as “The South”—Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina,

North Carolina, and Tennessee—where cultural underpinnings strongly align against scientific

topics dealing with human origins and change. Research shows that acceptance or rejection of

evolution provides a reference for teachers’ as to choice whether to teach controversial topics

such as evolution as well as the depth, breadth and duration of instruction. In this chapter we take

a deeper look at the lived experiences of pre-service science teachers at a teaching college in the

Southeastern United States in an effort to frame a context within the region by which later

choices regarding teaching are made. Furthermore, we provide suggestions for improvements to

teaching and learning that have implications beyond this critical region. Although public

controversy surrounding evolution is widely regarded as being defining of the United States, the

implications of studies here have translational value to teaching and learning evolution around

the world.

Book Overview


This edited book provides a global view on evolution education. It describes the state of evolution education in different countries that are representative of geographical regions around the globe such as Eastern Europe, Western Europe, North Africa, South Africa, North America, South America,Middle East, Far East, South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.Studies in evolution education literature can be divided into three main categories: (a) understanding the interrelationships among cognitive, affective, epistemological, and religious factors that are related to peoples’ views about evolution, (b) designing, implementing, evaluating evolution education curriculum that reflects contemporary evolution understanding, and (c) reducing antievolutionary attitudes. This volume systematically summarizes the evolution education literature across these three categories for each country or geographical region. The individual chapters thus include common elements that facilitate a cross-cultural meta-analysis. Written for a primarily academic audience, this book provides a much-needed common background for future evolution education research across the globe.