Preservice Teacher Understanding and Vision of how to Teach Biological Evolution

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The learning and teaching of biological evolution is conceptually challenging. To fully comprehend evolution, it is posited that individuals also need to understand the roles that the nature of science and situations of chance play in the process. The consistent detection of misconceptions of evolution suggests that new approaches to increasing understanding need to be explored. I predicted that preservice teachers’ ideas for teaching biological evolution could be influenced by three brief web-based interventions, one focused on the common misconceptions of evolution, one on the nature of science, and one on situations of uncertainty in the context of evolution. An experimental group received a combination of the three web-based tutorials while a control group received the misconceptions and nature of science instruction and a time on task filler tutorial. Participants were directed to develop a lesson idea applying the knowledge they learned from the tutorials. The lesson ideas were examined for evidence of the influence of the web-based instruction, participant understanding and misconceptions of concepts, and their ideas about teaching evolution. The results of this study revealed that the participating preservice teachers held a wide range of conception and misconception of evolution, were somewhat influenced by the tutorials, and had an array of visions for teaching evolution. The outcomes support the need for further investigation into the multifaceted nature of preparing preservice teachers to teach evolution.