Research in Science Education

, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 1171–1186 | Cite as

Scientific and Religious Perspectives on Evolution in the Curriculum: an Approach Based on Pedagogy of Difference

  • David C. OwensEmail author
  • Rachel S. A. Pear
  • Hanan A. Alexander
  • Michael J. Reiss
  • Tali Tal


There is a long history of some students finding that the science instruction they receive in schools fails to address their deeply held concerns about the theory of evolution. Such concerns are principally religious, though there are also students with deeply held religious views who are perfectly comfortable with the theory of evolution. New instructional strategies are emerging, aimed at reducing the tensions that may exist between evolution and religion by making space for students to examine their own views and recognize the spectrum of views that exists between atheistic evolution and special creation, as well as the bounded nature of science and different ways of knowing. In this article, we discuss the teaching of evolution in societies where acceptance of the theory of evolution is far from universal, and argue that an approach based on pedagogy of difference has considerable potential to enhance students’ development of epistemic insight through recognition of the multiple perspectives that exist concerning the relationship between religion and science. In doing so, we explicate precisely what pedagogy of difference entails and introduce an approach that should enhance evolution education, and even aid students’ situating of science as a resource for making decisions about issues with scientific and societal aspects where the acknowledgement of multiple perspectives is valuable.


Epistemic insight Religion Evolution Creation Pedagogy of difference 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Middle Grades and Secondary Education, Armstrong CampusGeorgia Southern UniversitySavannahUSA
  2. 2.Center for Jewish Education in the Faculty of EducationUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  3. 3.Faculty of EducationUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  4. 4.UCL Institute of EducationLondonUK
  5. 5.Faculty of Education in Technology and ScienceTechnion-Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael

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