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Understanding student approaches to learning evolution in the context of their perceptions of the relationship between science and religion

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Disciplines
  • Religious Science

Abstract

This study investigates a range of positions that learners take on the relationship between science and religion and the potential for these positions to explain student approaches when learning about evolution. A phenomenographic study based on interviews with nine students studying in Christian high schools in Thailand led to the identification of five distinct positions on the relationship between science and religion. Each position was associated with a characteristic pattern of learning about evolution that could be explained as an attempt by the students to align their particular learning approach with their position. Three of the positions have the potential to support scientifically valid understandings of evolution while avoiding emotional conflict. We suggest that knowledge of the range of positions and associated learning approaches can help educators to focus on the form and timing of support of benefit to those holding different viewpoints.

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