Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 4-25-2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

College

College of Education

Department

Education

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Libi Shen, Ph.D.

Content Specialist

David Kluth, Ed.D.

Content Reader

Christopher Maddox, Ph.D.

Keywords

acceptance, cognitive theory, evolution, hominins, middle school science, religious sensitivity

Abstract

Avoidance of the theory of evolution occurs in science classrooms due to levels of dissonance from challenges that persist in the United States from conflicting worldviews and a lack of support regarding the topic of evolution. The purpose of this qualitative study with a narrative inquiry design was to explore the stories of science teachers teaching evolution in middle schools. This study adopted a qualitative method with a narrative inquiry design. Participants were 10 public middle school science teachers with at least 10 years of science teaching experience in urban, suburban, and rural areas of the Pacific Northwest. The central research question of this study was: What are the stories of science teachers teaching evolution in middle schools? The results disclosed eight major themes: (a) intrinsic motivation from science authors, childhood interests, and family members; (b) microevolution as a common teaching approach to teach evolution; (c) macroevolution as an uncommon teaching approach for teaching evolution; (d) hominins as an uncommon teaching approach for teaching evolution; (e) external challenges of religious conflict among students, colleagues, and parents; (f) internal challenges with colleagues and students; (g) support from administrators and colleagues; and (h) need for support by administrators and colleagues. The findings showed a need for teacher training courses and professional development opportunities. Recommendations for future research are included.

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