Original Research

Challenges in the teaching of evolution in the life sciences classroom.

Josef J. De Beer, Elizabeth Henning
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 32, No 1 | a261 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v32i1.261 | © 2013 Josef J. De Beer, Elizabeth Henning | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 October 2011 | Published: 11 February 2013

About the author(s)

Josef J. De Beer, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Elizabeth Henning, University of Johannesburg

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In this article the authors report on research that was conducted about teachers’ views on evolution, which was introduced as a theme in the school life sciences curriculum in 2008. This innovation in the curriculum has been met with mixed reactions. Whereas some teachers embrace this new theme, many teachers are opposed to the teaching of evolution. The article reports on an inquiry that was conducted amongst 255 teachers and in which survey questionnaires were used to collect qualitative data, which was analysed for its discourse. The discourse of the teachers shows that many of them cannot reconcile their religious faith with their teaching and that they may teach the ‘facts’ of evolution, but make sure that they discredit evolution as a theory. This raises serious concerns about teacher education and curriculum development. The authors examine these issues through the lens of conceptual change theory.


Evolution; conceptual change; barriers to learning


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