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Teaching Evolution in Schools

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Authored by Kate Beswick in Teaching and Learning
Published on 08-15-2009

There’s no doubt that at some point in every child’s life, they’re bound to ask the loaded question, “Where did we come from?” This is a question that many parents and even teachers struggle with. This is because there are a few different theories as to how our world came into existence. The two most widely believed theories are those of creation and evolution. And this is a topic that is widely debatable. Proponents of creation believe that evolution should not be taught in schools. This is because it goes against the belief of creation. On the other hand, those who believe in evolution think that it’s not a belief but that it’s based on actual facts and evidence. So it’s then easy to see why this is such an issue of debate. It is also easy to see why people are so passionate about their stance on the topic.

The theory of evolution states that we all came from one single-celled organism. This organism, over time, transformed and evolved into the world that we know today. This theory states that over hundreds and hundreds of years, one thing could become something else. The theory of creation states that God created the world in seven days. In creation, there is no evolving. It simply states that God commanded that certain things such as light, animals, and people, come into existence. Believers of creation think that this is how the world we know today came to be.

The fact is that evolution is the theory that is taught in schools. Curriculums require it so that students have a better grasp on scientific concepts. It’s also taught so that all students have the same basic understanding of where the world, and themselves, came from. Science textbooks and teachers are required to teach the concept of evolution as fact. They are generally not allowed to give their own interpretations of evolution or how the world came to be. By the same token, they are also not allowed to judge or belittle any other beliefs that any individual student may have.

Evolution is generally taught in schools from kindergarten all the way through the high school years until the student has completed school. Of course, the teaching is adapted to the student’s age. During the first few years of schools, students may only be given pictures to understand how evolution works. During the middle and later years of school, scientific evidence such as fossils may be introduced to further prove the scientific theory. This can also help give students a better understanding of the idea behind evolution.

While the theory of evolution is something that’s required in school curriculums, many parents still do not agree with it. Those that come from highly religious backgrounds, or have always believed in the theory of creation may have a problem with their child learning something different than what is believed at home. So what solution is there for these parents?

The best thing that creationists (those that believe in the theory of creation) can do is to encourage their child to learn all they can about evolution. This will be a great help to them in school and will ensure that they succeed. However this is not to say that other theories cannot be taught at home. Parents should be very careful to explain that evolution is widely believed by many, many different people. Parents should also explain to their children that in order to succeed at school, they will need to be able to understand and explain the theory of evolution themselves. However, parents can also remind their children that their household does not believe in evolution. They can then move on to explaining their own beliefs. This is the only way to ensure that a child can carry the beliefs of their parents should they wish, but still succeed in school.

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