Teachers behavior modification: evolving for survival

A poll of biology teachers indicate that many are cautious about teaching evolution in high school biology courses. IBT reports Teachers Back Away From Evolution In Class.

But the crux of the study is what the authors call the “cautious 60 percent” who neither advocate for the science of evolution nor push creationism, but simply avoid the issue altogether. Teachers may want to avoid controversy, but the problem, Berkman says, is that it undermines science as a mode of thought and means of finding out about the world. Many high school students in the U.S. take no science classes at all, and for 25 percent of high schoolers, biology is the only one.

The proposed solution is missing one of the factors described.

The simplest way to solve this problem is to change the ways people who will become teachers are taught the subject before they ever get into a classroom, Berkman says.

No matter how well the teacher understands the science, parent pressure will modify the teacher’s behavior. Teachers respond to angry parents. The creationists tend to have a zeal that demands satisfaction. If the teacher does not provide that satisfaction, the teacher will suffer. It is much more prudent for the teacher to take on a course of ‘caution’ rather than become a martyr for the cause of science and intellectual integrity.

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