Universal Journal of Educational Research Vol. 2(5), pp. 421 - 431
DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2014.020504
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Aspirations and Expectations: Comparing Scientist and Teacher Views as a Source of Ideas for Teaching Evolution

Matthias Weiss 1,2, Daniel C. Dreesmann 2,*
1 AG Didactics of Biology, Institute of Zoology, Johannes Gutenberg-University, D-55099 Mainz, Germany
2 Rabanus-Maurus-Gymnasium, 117er Ehrenhof 2, D-55118 Mainz, Germany


Biological evolution still lacks representation in school, especially below high school level. In order to find new implications that could help achieve significant improvement in teaching evolution, twelve expert interviews with both renowned researchers and experienced science teachers were conducted. Results of the comparison between the mindsets of scientists and teachers yield the five recommendations that could significantly improve the teaching practices of biological evolution: (1) Evolution should be taught as early as possible and should be exposed as the central concept of biology. (2) Despite the large theoretical framing of biological evolution, many occasions occur for hands-on, creative, and even experimental class-room-activities. (3) Biological evolution allows discussing controversial scientific concepts, illustrating the scientific way to gain knowledge. Thereby, misconceptions held by students could be changed towards a scientific perspective. (4) Biological evolution topics are well suited to practice reflection and evaluation skills, equipping students with the keys to answer questions humans have. (5) Since effective teaching can only succeed with capable teachers, new teaching and training materials for biological evolution issues should be developed.

Evolution, Education, Nature of Science, Experimental Evolution, Competencies, Controversial topics, Expert Interview

Cite this paper
Matthias Weiss , Daniel C. Dreesmann . "Aspirations and Expectations: Comparing Scientist and Teacher Views as a Source of Ideas for Teaching Evolution." Universal Journal of Educational Research 2.5 (2014) 421 - 431. doi: 10.13189/ujer.2014.020504.