BIOLOGY TEACHERS’ EXPERIENCES WITH THE TEACHING OF EVOLUTION IN A SAMPLE OF SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLS

M. Mpeta

University of Venda (SOUTH AFRICA)
One of the recent developments in Life Sciences curriculum for secondary schools in South Africa is the introduction of Biological evolution. A number of studies conducted in South Africa and other places show that, in many places, evolution poses problems for teachers and learners. One of the major causes of these problems is lack of acceptance of this concept emanating from some strongly-entrenched religious beliefs of some people. This paper reports part of a study done to explore the beliefs of teachers and learners in five secondary schools in Limpopo Province in South Africa. Five Grade 12 biology teachers were interviewed individually to explore their beliefs about biological evolution. They were also observed teaching evolution in some of the biology lessons. All the five teachers were Christian. They differed in their acceptance of evolution. Some experienced conflict between their religious beliefs and evolution, based on varying reasons. The study concluded that the teachers’ beliefs did not deter teachers from teaching evolution, but that they influenced how they taught the topic.