Teaching students to think critically about science and origins
In David Long’s article, Scientists at Play in a Field of the Lord, he studies the discourse between a network of regional scientists, atheists, activists and evolutionists at the opening of The Creation Museum on Memorial Day, 2007. This review essay examines the teaching of evolution through the teacher’s ‘lens of empathy’ and also considers a ‘pupil centeredness’ approach. As a practicing science educator, I have found it paramount to take into consideration my students’ backgrounds and their families’ beliefs in order to understand their preconceived notions about the origins of life. By teaching evolution as ‘a theory with both facts and fallacies’ only then does it become an opportunity for critical thinking that fosters growth and risk taking in a safe environment. Most times students hear evolution preached as a one-sided lecture by teachers who believe it’s “my way or the highway” and leave little or no room for dialogue. I believe that a teacher’s job is to stay updated with current research on the theory of evolution and then present all the information to students in a way that creates personal opportunities for them to adjust their existing schema without demeaning them, their ideas, or their faith or belief system. This not only shows value, compassion and tolerance for them as thinking humans, but also allows them opportunities to develop critical thinking, which helps to shape whom they become as adults.
KeywordsCritical thinking Evolution Science education Creationism Empathy
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