AAAS looks at the problems of teaching evolution and climate change
Posted by David Brooks | Wednesday, June 6, 2012
The American Association for the Advancement of Science - the chamber of commerce of scientific inquiry in the US, if you will - has a two-part series looking at how public-school teachers deal with political and theological push-back when teaching evolution and climate change. Unusually for such pieces, it concentrates on push-back from students, not from grownups outside the schools:
Raphael Rabinowitz was teaching about the characteristics of living and non-living things like viruses when emotions began to flare in his classroom. “The second I dropped the word ‘evolve,’ mayhem followed,” he remembers. The science teacher at Youth Connection Leadership Academy, an alternative high school in the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, couldn’t stop the lesson from escalating into a full-blown argument. We can’t be descended from monkeys, his students said, their defensive voices rising in frustration as Rabinowitz tried to explain about shared common ancestry. “They would either clam up and say ‘forget about it,’ or try to argue with me,” Rabinowitz says. “It was emotionally charged and caused me to reassess whether I was going to bridge this topic.”
Here's the piece about teaching climate change, which includes this tidbit:
But students who shut down or argue aren’t really looking at the data, she explains, and instead use sources such as blogs to support their points. “That is typical — the hard science is completely discounted,” she says.