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The portrayal of evolution in school textbooks and its significance to pedagogy and understanding.

Davies, Paul (2012) The portrayal of evolution in school textbooks and its significance to pedagogy and understanding. Science Education. ISSN 0036-8326. DOI UNSPECIFIED (Submitted)

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Abstract

Proper interpretation of patterns of evolutionary processes is essential for a thorough understanding of many areas of biology. However, the way that these patterns are displayed in school textbooks can be often misleading, implying that living things evolve into new species in a stepwise way, known as anagenesis, where, in reality, this happens through population divergence, known as cladogenesis. This correct interpretation of evolutionary patterns is called tree-thinking. This study sets out to do two things, one is to review the way that evolution is presented in diagrams in UK school science textbooks and, two, to determine the responses that pre-service biology teachers have to these diagrams. The most commonly found example in textbooks is the evolution of the horse, and this is explored in terms of its place as an icon of evolutionary biology. Almost all images depicting horse evolution are inaccurate, outdated and suggest evolutionary mechanisms which are incorrect. Of equal concern is that they encourage science graduates, training to be teachers, to view the evolution of new species as occurring through anagenesis and therefore do not promote tree-thinking. Suggestions are explored of more appropriate organisms and diagrams to be used in both schools and teacher training institutions.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
Depositing User: Atira Pure
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2013 01:55
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 08:55
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