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Evolution Education: A Delicate Balance Among Science, Controversy and Pedagogy

Chautauqua Course DAY-9

 

Evolution Education: A Delicate Balance Among Science, Controversy and Pedagogy


GREGORY A. FORBES, Evolution Education Institute and Grand Rapids Community College


May 21-23, 2015 in Dayton, OH                                                                                Apply: DAY

          Despite a long history of debate, legal battles and court decisions supporting the teaching of evolutionary science, there remains strong social pressure to replace the instruction of evolution with nonscientific ideologies. As a result, many teachers and professors are hesitant or afraid to teach evolution and therefore many students are never exposed to the topic of evolution. As these students will be the teachers of tomorrow, the problem is passed onto the next generation. Without a significant change in the way schools and faculty deal with the issue of scientific evolution, there may be little chance that this situation will be resolved.

          This course will introduce educators to the socio-political factors that account for the continuation of this debate as well as provide an overview of contemporary evolutionary theory. This workshop will also focus attention on the pedagogy of teaching both evolution and the nature of science; a necessary precursor to teaching evolution. Participants will engage in multiple activities that can be used in the classroom to demonstrate important concepts in evolution.

Workshop sessions include: 1) “Why Teach Evolution?”, an assessment of the value of evolution in a comprehensive science education 2) “Evolution; What's All the Fuss?”, an examination of the socio-political basis of the evolution debate 3) “Teaching About the Nature of Science”, an essential precursor to the introduction of evolutionary theory 4) “An Evolution Primer”, an overview of the unifying themes and concepts of evolutionary theory (This presentation can be easily incorporated into the classroom as a comprehensive introduction to evolution at the high school or college level) 5) “Responses to Anti-Evolutionist's Claims”, a review of scientific and philosophical responses to statements and questions regarding the “validity” of evolution and the “fairness” of teaching evolution 6) “Resources for Teaching Evolution”, an examination of resources, materials and strategies for teaching evolution and the nature of science.

          Upon completion of this course, participants will have a strong understanding of the background and direction of this continuing debate as well as a working knowledge of the foundations of contemporary evolutionary theory along with the ability to respond to questions from students, campus administration and the community regarding evolution theory and the necessity of its inclusion in a comprehensive science education. Pedagogical techniques introduced will allow workshop participants to weave evolutionary theory and the nature of science as a thread throughout their science courses. The relative emphasis of each of these topics within the course may be adjusted to best suit the interests of the participants.


For college teachers of: all disciplines.  Prerequisites: none.

 


 

Tentative Costs for 2015

Application fee: $100

Course fee: $195 [Due in March 2015]

Optional on-site lodging: approximately $58 per person per night in a single

 



Dr. Forbes is the former Education Director and co-founder of the Michigan Scientific Evolution Education Initiative, a federally-funded initiative to provide science educators with the content, pedagogy and support system to effectively teach scientific evolution. He is also the past Executive Director of the Evolution Education Institute which takes the Michigan model to a national audience. He serves as the Evolution Education Specialist to the Michigan Science Teachers Association and is a co-founder and Board member of the Michigan Citizens for Science. He is former Director of the Science Education Center at Grand Rapids Community College where he teaches courses in organismal biology and human anatomy and physiology. Dr. Forbes also serves on the Editorial Board of Skeptic Magazine and has been a keynote and featured speaker on evolution and evolution pedagogy at many dozens of scientific, educational, in-service and religious conferences and meetings. He is an evolutionary zooecologist with interests in the evolution of feeding ecology of vertebrates with an emphasis upon the feeding ecology of sea turtles in tropical reef systems. In 2004 Dr. Forbes was named the Michigan College & University Science Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Science Teachers Association and in 2005 he was selected as the Michigan Civil Libertarian of the Year for his legislative work in protecting science education and in 2006 Dr. Forbes was awarded the Center for Inquiry’s highest award for his legislative and academic efforts to protect the integrity of evolution education.

 


 

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University of Dayton Chautauqua Course