Sunday, November 25, 2007


Teaching Responsibilities

Presented without comment:

Education content in [Michigan] high schools is mandated by the state, but teachers walk a tightrope between the state and parents who may have contrary opinions regarding evolution. ...

But according to Jan Ellis of the Michigan Department of Education, the course content expectations are not enough to stop local districts from teaching evolution as one of several theories, and not necessarily as fact. ...

The state says the material has to be taught, and school districts choose which curriculum to use, but individual high school and college teachers have the task of interacting with students who have strong religious beliefs about how life began. ...

Grand Valley State University anthropology professor Judith Corr sees religion and science as two different ways of knowing things -- but many of her students don't agree. ...

"I tell them, if you have to, just write the answers down," said Corr. "I don't want to mess up your psyche or anything.

"I also tell them, don't expect me to tell you the truth, because I don't know the truth, I just know what science tells me."

Hope biology professor Donald Cronkite, who has taught at Hope College for 28 years, received an award last year in evolution education from the National Association of Biology Teachers.

"You're doing a fearful thing as a teacher," Cronkite said. "You're asking people to change as a matter of course. You can have people get together to have discussions or take classes, but it's hard to change. I don't do it very well myself."

Cronkite said it sometimes bothers him that students will absorb information without deciding whether they believe in it or not.

"They haven't yet come to terms with how they're going to reconcile what they've learned about science and religion," Cronkite said. "They've got a lot of things going on in their lives. I can be of some use to them, but a lot of it they're going to have to work through on their own."
Okay, one comment. I happened to be watching the video of session three of Beyond Belief 2006 last night and even Richard Dawkins said that he doesn't want to take away people's religion and the various comforts it gives them.

And the comment: we don't pay teachers enough.

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