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Helping Teachers Teach Evolution in the United States

BERTHA VAZQUEZ

Being a science teacher is the greatest job on Earth. Science can be a truly wondrous gift to share with young people. Although the day-to-day interaction can often feel like I am being pecked to death by ducks, I do not regret my decision twenty-six years ago to become a science teacher. I love working with young people and introducing them to humanity’s best way of finding answers.

One of the most important things a teacher can do is build rapport with his or her students. Because I have my students for at least two years in a row, we develop a relationship built on trust and mutual respect over time. In my classroom, learning takes place in a welcoming environment, and this firm but friendly atmosphere is compromised only during one unit of study: evolution.

Richard Dawkins (2009) said it best in his book The Greatest Show on Earth. Imagine being a professor of Roman history who has to constantly, year after year, defend the very existence of the Roman Empire. Despite the overwhelming evidence coming from various sources—architecture, art, literature, etc.—your students are not only skeptical, they can be downright disrespectful. This is what teaching evolution feels like for many science teachers.

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Other Articles in this Issue


Editor’s Letter
We could say that the whole reason the Skeptical Inquirer
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Benjamin Radford is a research fellow at the Committee for
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