Darwin, ensinar genética primeiro pode melhorar o ensino de sua teoria da evolução. Será Projeto ENCODE???

quarta-feira, maio 24, 2017

Teaching genetics prior to teaching evolution improves evolution understanding but not acceptance

Rebecca Mead, Momna Hejmadi, Laurence D. Hurst 


What is the best way to teach evolution? As microevolution may be configured as a branch of genetics, it being a short conceptual leap from understanding the concepts of mutation and alleles (i.e., genetics) to allele frequency change (i.e., evolution), we hypothesised that learning genetics prior to evolution might improve student understanding of evolution. In the UK, genetics and evolution are typically taught to 14- to 16-y-old secondary school students as separate topics with few links, in no particular order and sometimes with a large time span between. Here, then, we report the results of a large trial into teaching order of evolution and genetics. We modified extant questionnaires to ascertain students’ understanding of evolution and genetics along with acceptance of evolution. Students were assessed prior to teaching, immediately post teaching and again after several months. Teachers were not instructed what to teach, just to teach in a given order. Regardless of order, teaching increased understanding and acceptance, with robust signs of longer-term retention. Importantly, teaching genetics before teaching evolution has a significant (p < 0.001) impact on improving evolution understanding by 7% in questionnaire scores beyond the increase seen for those taught in the inverse order. For lower ability students, an improvement in evolution understanding was seen only if genetics was taught first. Teaching genetics first additionally had positive effects on genetics understanding, by increasing knowledge. These results suggest a simple, minimally disruptive, zero-cost intervention to improve evolution understanding: teach genetics first. This same alteration does not, however, result in a significantly increased acceptance of evolution, which reflects a weak correlation between knowledge and acceptance of evolution. Qualitative focus group data highlights the role of authority figures in determination of acceptance.

Author summary

What is the best way to teach evolution? We hypothesised that if students know the fundamental concepts of genetics, then this might help them understand evolution better. To evaluate this, we performed a large trial in which pupils in United Kingdom secondary schools were either taught genetics and then evolution or evolution and then genetics. We found that the students being taught genetics first had a 5%–10% improvement in their understanding of evolution, above that shown in the group taught evolution first. The change was seen in both higher- and foundation-ability classes. Indeed, in the foundation classes the genetics-first approach was the only approach that enabled an increase in evolution understanding. Teaching genetics first comes at no cost to genetics understanding (and may even improve it). However, the genetics-first approach was no different from the evolution-first approach in helping the acceptance of evolution. Qualitative follow-up studies indicated a major role for authority figures in determining acceptance, potentially explaining the weak correlation between understanding and acceptance. These results suggest a simple, minimally disruptive, zero-cost intervention to improve evolution understanding: teach genetics first.

Citation: Mead R, Hejmadi M, Hurst LD (2017) Teaching genetics prior to teaching evolution improves evolution understanding but not acceptance. PLoS Biol 15(5): e2002255. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2002255

Academic Editor: Mary Tyler, University of Maine, United States of America
Received: February 16, 2017; Accepted: April 11, 2017; Published: May 23, 2017

Copyright: © 2017 Mead et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files (S1 Data).

Funding: Evolution Education Trust. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Abbreviations: GCSE, General Certificate of Education; GLAI, Genetics Literacy Assessment Instrument; GM, genetically modified; MATE, Measure of Acceptance of the Theory of Evolution



P.S. 24/05/2017:

Ensinem genética aos alunos antes de ensinar a teoria da evolução. Ensinem especialmente as descobertas do Projeto Encode:

“If the human genome is indeed devoid of junk DNA as implied by the ENCODE Project, then a long, undirected evolutionary process cannot explain the human genome,” said ENCODE opponent Dan Graur at the 2013 meeting of the Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution in Chicago. “If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, then all DNA, or as much as possible, is expected to exhibit function. If ENCODE is right, then evolution is wrong.”

Se as descobertas do Projeto ENCODE estiverem certas, então a [teoria da] evolução está errada!!!

Fui, nem sei por que, esperando que essa recomendação de ensinar primeiro a genética aos alunos os ajudem a compreender as falácias da teoria da evolução no contexto de justificação teórica!