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Journal Articles; Reports - Research
The teaching of evolutionary theory has historically been problematic, often times marred with legal and moral battles. In recent years, state boards of education have prohibited or somehow compromised the role of evolutionary theory in school science. Consistent with the diversity of beliefs in contemporary society, preservice science teachers may hold personal beliefs, including creationism or intelligent design, that may restrict their willingness or ability to teach evolution concepts based in scientific theory. Other preservice science teachers who agree that evolution is a fundamental scientific concept may be uncomfortable with the prospect of teaching evolution to their future students because of the potential for creating controversies in the classroom, or with parents. In science teacher education programs that model acceptance of diversity and student-centered instruction, reversal from constructivist teaching philosophy to a dualistic treatment of evolution versus creationism is inconsistent and may be perceived by students as a shortcoming of constructivist practice. Implementation of the instructional strategy, "structured academic controversy" (SAC), is one means of teaching evolutionary theory while maintaining a constructivist approach. In this article, implementation of SAC and its effects on one class of preservice science teachers will be discussed, along with the implications for use in middle school and high school classrooms.