Barriers in the teaching and learning of evolutionary biology amongst Muslim teachers and learners in South African Muslim schools

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dc.contributor.advisor Dr. Josef de Beer en_US
dc.contributor.author Yalvac, Gurtug
dc.date.accessioned 2012-06-07T12:13:00Z
dc.date.available 2012-06-07T12:13:00Z
dc.date.issued 2012-06-07
dc.date.submitted 2011-05-30
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/5058
dc.description M.Ed. en_US
dc.description.abstract In this study, using qualitative research methods, I aimed to explore the acceptance of evolutionary theory among Muslim teachers and learners in South African Muslim Schools. Evolution, as part of the Life Sciences curriculum, was introduced to South African schools in 2008. It constitutes 25% of the Grade 12 Life Sciences content, and is also included in Grades 10 and 11. Evolution places a high premium on higher-order thinking skills, and educationists (Dempster, 2006) often view evolutionary biology as the ‗golden thread‘ running through the subject. For this reason the learning of evolutionary biology in FET Life Sciences is seen as an important gateway to tertiary studies, especially in the Science and Medicine faculties. As happened in different parts of the world, South African parents, teachers and learners often reject the idea of evolution from a religious point of view. Teacher and learner interviews in four different Muslim schools in Gauteng, South Africa are the core structure of this research. Learners were interviewed before and after they learnt evolution. Teachers are generally against teaching evolution but they teach their learners for the sake of university placement. The teaching and learning of evolution asks for radical conceptual change for those who have not encountered it before, since evolution and natural selection are often seen to be in direct conflict with some religious beliefs. I concur with authors who argue that conceptual change research too often uses a rational, cognitive and ―cold‖ lens, not giving due recognition to motivational, social and historical factors that can be enable or obstruct conceptual change- the so-called ―hot‖ or ―irrational‖ factors. I will focus on the issue of teacher conceptual change in this study. The teaching of evolution does not have much influence on the belief of Muslim learners, however they are against it but they study the content of evolution to the best of their ability in order to obtain good marks in the examination. This research is framed in a qualitative paradigm, and I have decided to use the Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) as a lens in my study. CHAT is considered a good conceptual framework, as it is a barometer for tensions in an activity system (in this case, the schools in which I have done the research), and it highlighted the ―hot‖ factors that authors such as Pintrich et al. (1993) feel are missing in conceptual change research. If we aim in Life Sciences to get to a point where all teachers and learners accept the science of evolution, we may have a lost case, and we may be shouting against the thunder, based on the data of this study. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Evolution en_US
dc.subject Behavior genetics en_US
dc.subject Evolution (Biology) en_US
dc.subject Evolution (Biology) Study and teaching en_US
dc.subject Muslims Education (Secondary) South Africa. en_US
dc.title Barriers in the teaching and learning of evolutionary biology amongst Muslim teachers and learners in South African Muslim schools en_US
dc.type Mini-Dissertation en_US

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