Calling all teachers, professors, and other educators! Evolution in the classroom question!

Hello. I would like to ask a question to any and all teaching professionals on this website. It pertains to evolution in the classroom and is part of a bigger project.

How do you feel the current level of evolution education at the high school level effects science education at a college level? Do science professors find that they spend more time teaching students that which they should have learned in high school rather than moving on to deeper and more complex topics? Does the lack of evolutionary knowledge and the precedence of  religion effect students' choices in majors or careers? And finally, do students arrive at college with an adequate level of critical thinking skills?

Thank you!

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I'm not from the US but i would like to chime in.

Do students arrive at college with an adequate level of critical thinking skills?

No, absolutely no. In high school we are thought to repeat not to think; lazyness is pretty much rewarded and getting a good grade is more important than understanding the subject or even remember it by the next test.

How do you feel the current level of evolution education at the high school level effects science education at a college level?

Not even close. I saw american biology stem books and i would have prefer to learn on that than whatever i used. It was simple, understandable and it didn't dumb it out. I would like it to have more examples, whales, non-avian dinosaurs to avian dinosaurs, its uses in medicine and engineering or even daily life applications.

Do science professors find that they spend more time teaching students that which they should have learned in high school rather than moving on to deeper and more complex topics?

No, most teachers i found rather get over it as soon as possible, teach that they don't believe and that the only reason they teach it is because they have to teach it. The closest thing i got from actual evolution in school was theistic evolution.

Does the lack of evolutionary knowledge and the precedence of  religion effect students' choices in majors or careers?

I doubt it, but i can give myself to thrust a doctor that doesn't believe in evolution. I don't want viruses and bacteria evolving inside of me and having my doctor refuse to change treatment because evolution isn't true., but that is just me being an asshole.

I held an adult education certificate and can add something of possible historical interest.

In the mid-1960s, while employed in a General Electric computer facility, I taught an evening course in scientific report writing in the junior college in Daytona Beach.

America, recovering from the shock of the Soviet Union's sending a man into space, had been moving scientific talent to the nearby Cape Canaveral (now Cape Kennedy). The state education department was adapting to the shock of having the kids of employees at the Cape who knew more math and science than their secondary school teachers.

The adaptation included strengthening the teaching of evolution, which had languished since the 1925 Scopes trial in Tennessee. The first adaptations consisted of moving college material into grades 10-12, and material from those grades into grades 7-9. Schools also offered courses for the parents of children who were studying "New Mathematics".

The efforts to improve education achieved some success. In the mid-1990s I had retired and was tutoring in a public high school in California's Napa County. It's wine country and more prosperous than many counties in the state.

I was tutoring kids who had not succeeded in the school's algebra classes, and the material included subjects (set theory and more) that I hadn't seen until I was in college.

My best wishes for success with your project.

I think it's actually the lack of teaching of logic that is the big problem. Once kids have the thinking skills, it won't really matter what bullshit is spouted by the teachers and textbooks. Most people who end up in a logic class at all do so on the college level.

Agreed... far too much emphasis is placed on memorisation and not enough on actual thought skills.

Boy is that ever the truth so much so that there was no way one could relate to another indecent in history. It wasn't until I got to college and took some humanities courses that I was able to relate the history of the old US west with what was going on in other parts of the world nor able to relate what was going on in California to the civil war. Just one example.

I am not qualified to answer this question but surely most of biology cannot make sense without evolution?

As to critical thinking - this is as much a cultural attitude as a skill right? If teachers simply regurgitate material then so will students.

Forget college, my employees come to our office after university with almost no ability to apply even the most basic thought to the simplest of tasks. I try to get them to ask two fundamental questions of everything:

- what happens next?

- why are we doing this?

I would PREFER that the school systems concentrated on HOW to learn, and HOW to think, rather than concentrating on the students doing well on standardized tests and educational ranking systems that reward conformity and grade inflation, etc.

If all we do in history is memorize what dates what happened, instead of why what happened, etc, we have mostly useless knowledge.

History WILL repeat itself if all you learned from it was the chronology.

When the victors get to write the history books, we see history books that say the North went to war with the South in the US, to free the slaves, and that Columbus had to convince people of his new idea that the world was round to be able to sail to India, etc,...instead of what was really going on.

I was taught a mythology about Pocahontas that was ~ 95% total fabrication, in school, even though historians knew the truth for centuries.

"Controversial" subjects, such as evolution and aspects of cosmology, etc, were either diluted by biblical caveats or even skipped so as to avoid the issues altogether.

And so forth.

At NO time was HOW to learn new information or ideas, or critical thinking, TAUGHT.

Even questioning the teacher about what WAS taught, was considered grounds for disciplinary action is some cases.

The mantra in most schools seems to be "memorize and repeat"...so, garbage in/garbage out.

Sure, some stuff was useful, and, things DO get learned...but, to me, knowing that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 is not as useful as finding out how we came to know that, and, how to find out about other things we do not know.

In real life, the issues you face may require you to think critically, and to be able to "do word problems", and use logic, etc.

So, kids who are whizzes at "solving problems" might not be able to "set up" the problem, it might need to be presented as an equation from the get go.

In real life, ALL problems are "word problems"...and you need to know HOW to parse them into equations...and there's no one to grade you any more, or, point out why you were wrong, or, even IF you were wrong.

That often leads people to come up with "answers" that are wrong...and, they never even find out that they were wrong.

Kids are dumb, compared to adults, as the base they have to work with is so short in development time, and, some types of thinking is too abstract at some ages...

BUT - They are a LOT smarter than they are taught as, and, some concepts NEED to be taught from nursery school onward, in ever increasing depth, and NOT saved until its a potential elective in college, etc.

Science needs to be a real subject, AS science, and, not as taught, which is more like the "History of Science + Making Slime".

Kids graduate HS w/o even knowing the scientific method and how to apply it...even after taking science classes.

Even in college, in logic classes, they often just memorize the types of errors, laugh over the endless always lie/tell the truth puzzles, and never learn how to USE it.

So, sure, some DO learn how to use it, but, most seem to just memorize what's needed for the tests, and that's it...and it has no context to them OTHER than for the tests.

So, they learn enough to spout things like "You insulted me and that's an ad hominem attack!"

W/o knowing that the term only applies to arguments based upon that, etc.

So, I'd like to see at least K-12 education add more use of critical thinking, more recognition of mistakes made in thinking, and how to tell if one is making them or not, so the CONCEPT of how to think WELL is something they grow up with, and not just a test question one day.

Awareness that some ways information is presented to them might be flawed, and, to recognize these flaws, and not be fooled, would be a great life skill to come away with.

:D

What TJ said.

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