The Goal of Evolution Instruction: Belief or Literacy?

Robert A. Cooper, National Center for Science Education

This paper discusses an approach to teaching evolution that allows students to develop an accurate understanding of the nature of science and the scientific process, resulting in improvement in their scientific literacy. The author contends that attempting to make students believe in evolution is both ineffective and is not the most important goal in teaching evolution. It is stressed that teachers should respect students' beliefs. Other recommendations include using a classroom dialog and introducing the topic in a way that allows students to examine their current beliefs and contrast them with currently accepted scientific views. Suggestions for teaching approaches are general, with recommendations drawn from a variety of other papers.

This resource is referenced here:
Subject: Biology:Evolution, Environmental Science:Ecosystems:Evolution, Education
Resource Type: Pedagogic Resources:Opinion, Overview/Summary
Research on Learning: Affective Domain:Teaching Controversial Topics, Instructional Design:Science Education Standards/Science Literacy
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Environmental ScienceKeyword: affective domain