Human evolution in the South African school curriculum

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dc.contributor.author Sutherland, Clarisa
dc.contributor.author L'Abbe, Ericka Noelle
dc.date.accessioned 2020-05-21T06:50:01Z
dc.date.available 2020-05-21T06:50:01Z
dc.date.issued 2019-07
dc.description.abstract A decade after the introduction of the topic into the South African public school curriculum, the theory of evolution by natural selection is poorly understood among those who teach it, and that flawed understanding is transferred to those attempting to learn it. The curricula, support material and textbooks designed to underpin teaching and learning of evolution are often inaccurate. Deeply held religious views in the country, especially Christianity, remain a stumbling block towards understanding and accepting evolution. The lack of scientific literacy allows for the continuation of Social Darwinism and racial stereotypes and deprives the victims of those ills of the knowledge and mechanisms of thought to counter these ideas. This review explores the relatively sparse but nevertheless well-conducted research into evolution education in South Africa. We conclude that an understanding of human evolution is essential to the country’s growing democracy because it provides a framework within which South Africans can understand and appreciate the diversity and heterogeneous nature of our society. SIGNIFICANCE : Various obstacles in the teaching and learning of evolution are identified, and generalisable recommendations are provided to improve evolution education on a practical level. • Evolution education is important for the South African public: to take pride in our rich fossil resources; to understand and appreciate human diversity; to dispel the racist myths of Social Darwinism; and to ensure the success of our education system by teaching the consilience of induction and logical reasoning. • This synthesis of the research provides a starting point for anyone wanting to conduct evolution education research in South Africa in the future, specifically those in the fields of curriculum reform, life sciences or biological anthropology. en_ZA
dc.description.department Anatomy en_ZA
dc.description.librarian pm2020 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship National Research Foundation (South Africa) en_ZA
dc.description.uri https://www.sajs.co.za en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Sutherland C, L’Abbé EN. Human evolution in the South African school curriculum. South African Journal of Science 2019;115(7/8), Art. #5672, 7 pages. https://doi.org/10.17159/sajs.2019/5672. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 1996-7489 (online)
dc.identifier.issn 0038-2353 (print)
dc.identifier.other 10.17159/sajs.2019/5672
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/74667
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Academy of Science of South African en_ZA
dc.rights © 2019. The Author(s). Published under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence. en_ZA
dc.subject Life Sciences literacy en_ZA
dc.subject Science education en_ZA
dc.subject Social Darwinism en_ZA
dc.subject Evolution education en_ZA
dc.subject Life Sciences curriculum en_ZA
dc.title Human evolution in the South African school curriculum en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA


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