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Teaching Evolution: Letting Go of The "Truth"

bhealy's picture

 In class on Tuesday Professor Grobstein touched briefly upon one specific aspect of evolution that I hadn't really thought of before. For whatever reason, this lingered with me throughout the week. The idea was in relation to teaching evolution in schools, most notably elementary schools. Professor Grobstein stated that although we cannot say with certainty that evolution is 100% true, there is a great deal of value in teaching children about it, despite its controversy. Over the years I have tried to pay attention to news stories that often involve religious schools or parts of the country that ban the teaching of evolution because it conflicts with religious ideas/ideals, but I hadn't thought about the value of teaching it regardless. I hope to work as an elementary school teacher after graduation, and I've always assumed that teaching evolution was valuable because it (to me) was the "truth." Now, I'm not so sure. Of course I still believe that evolution is the core of our being, but I think that there's more value in teaching it than just because I see it as the "truth." It causes us to think harder and differently about things, and teaches us to be skeptical of things and to create our own opinions about controversial issues. I don't think that it's ever too early to begin to reconcile different or conflicting ideas- I think that's what we do for a lot of our adult lives. Why not introduce this earlier? I think that if we tried to let go of the notions of "truth" or "certainty," the things that we teach our kids in elementary schools would be a lot less controversial. Instead, let's focus on the different ways that children can learn from the topics and the ways that they can learn about themselves and their own beliefs/opinions. 

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