Cultural Influences on Students' Views About the Origins of Life

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution



Publication details

Title of host publicationContemporary science education research: Scientific literacy and social aspects of science.
DatePublished - 2010
Number of pages346
PublisherPegem Akademi
Place of PublicationAnkara, Turkey
Original languageEnglish
ISBN (Print)9786053640349


This paper examines how students accommodate any differences between their own religious or cultural beliefs and the teaching of the
origins of life in school. Four schools were selected for the study (one a Christian faith-based school, one not faith-based but drawing
mostly from Muslim families, and two with mixed catchment areas). Students’ views and beliefs were elicited using questionnaires and
interviews. The findings show that students have a number of perspectives on the way science and religion do, or do not, inter-relate.
Further, we have categorised those with religious beliefs into four groups according to their attitudes to engaging with science and religion:
‘resistors’ (who see science and religion in conflict); confused (wanting to reconcile two worldviews but struggling to do so); ‘reconciled’ (who
have found a way to accommodate their religious and scientific outlooks) and ‘explorers’ (who actively inquire into the relationship
between the two). Teachers need to be sensitive not only to the students’ cultural backgrounds when addressing this topic, but also to how
individuals might conceptualise the inter-relationship of science and religion.

    Research areas

  • evolution, science, religion, cultural border crossings

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