By Loredana Buchan, Momna Hejmadi, Liam Abrahams and Laurence D. Hurst: For Complete Post, Click Here…
A randomised controlled trial found that children learn about evolution more effectively when engaged through stories read by the teacher, than through doing tasks to demonstrate the same concept.
The scientists investigated several different methods of teaching evolution in primary schools, to test whether a pupil-centred approach (where pupils took part in an activity) or a teacher-centred approach (where pupils were read a story by the teacher), led to a greater improvement in understanding of the topic.
They also looked at whether using human-based examples of evolution (comparing arm bones in humans with those in animals), or more abstract examples that were harder to emotionally engage with (comparing the patterns of trilobites), produced better results in terms of the children’s understanding of evolution.
Whilst all the methods improved the pupils’ understanding of evolution, the study, published in the journal Science of Learning, found that the story-based approach combined with the abstract examples of evolution were the most effective lessons.
This goes against educational orthodoxy that states that a pupil-centred approach to learning, using human-based examples with which children can easily identify, should yield the best results.