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In-service training for teachers: Student conceptions of evolution: diagnosis and handling in the classroom (kick-off event)

Teaching and learning in the subject area of evolution presents a particular challenge, as it is a complex subject matter whose understanding is often counterintuitive for learners. What has proven itself in our everyday conceptions often turns out not to be (entirely) true in an evolutionary biology context. Two everyday conceptions are of particular importance for the two-day training: First, learners transfer human characteristics and ways of thinking to nature (anthropomorphic conceptions), e.g., when assuming an intentional phylogenetic adaptation of individuals. Second, there is extensive empirical evidence of biological explanations of purpose, purposiveness, or adaptive necessity of living things (teleological conceptions). This is evident, for example, in the following student statement: "Giraffes got long necks because they needed them to reach food at high altitudes."

The training addresses the question of how student conceptions can be efficiently diagnosed and used in the classroom to support the understanding of evolution. Video sequences will also be reflected upon. After the first seminar session, the participants will have the opportunity to try out the diagnostic tools and concepts for dealing with student ideas. For this purpose, materials for their own lessons will be made available and possible applications in the context of a series of lessons on the topic of evolution will be discussed.

In the final seminar session on 30.03.2023 (09:00 - 15:30), the participants will reflect on their (own) handling of student ideas in a collegial setting and on the basis of (their own) video recordings of evolution lessons, and alternative courses of action will be discussed in relation to the situation. Recording your own videos is encouraged, but not required.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Helge Martens (University of Kassel) & StR. Jens Steinwachs (University of Münster)

Registration is possible via the website of the Center for Teacher:in Education:

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