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New Biology teacher in a Christian work place.

 
 
Jixxy
 
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 01:39 pm
Hello folks! I am volunteering my services at a local Christian based rehabilitation clinic/homeless shelter. My education (and beliefs) include evolution. However my employer does not wish me to teach that. I'm ok with this, but was wondering if anyone has any resources or advice they can give me on this. I want to be respectful to the organizations wishes but have honestly never taught without teaching evolution as well.

I am allowed to explain what evolution is, but after I do so I am in no way allowed to bring it up again, nor am I permitted to present it as fact. I will stress that there is no "proof" in science only evidence that supports an idea.

Any helps or ideas would be fantastic! Thanks all Very Happy
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 02:12 pm
@Jixxy,
Are you using a Christian science book? I'd imagine that you would use that for your basis of what you are teaching.
Jixxy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 02:28 pm
@Linkat,
Unfortunately no. The materials I was given to teach from are traditional Biology. We rely on donations for materials. I made copies of pages to hand out to the students. I left out the specific evolution chapters. But as I go through the kingdoms of life evolution is referenced. :/

Additionally while I'm thinking of it, are there any other topics that are a no go in a traditional christian setting as far as Biology goes?
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 02:29 pm
@Jixxy,
Welcome to A2K! Very Happy

I might say that there are two schools of thought regarding the universe: evolution vs. creationism. There is no "proof" on either stances, and each person has to make up his own mind on which side he stands.

Or is that too radical?
Jixxy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 02:42 pm
@Phoenix32890,
/waves Thanks for the welcome!

What I was instructed to cover was what evolution is. But I cannot in anyway endorse it as truth or even being possibly true. I can't say that creationism is in anyway not possible. I'm just totally new to this. All of my teaching prior was in public environments where I was required to teach evolution xD

Perhaps a bit more background on the organization. It is a non-profit Christian based drug and alcohol rehabilitation program with as well as a homeless shelter. We also offer free GED courses. I started out teaching and tutoring the GED courses but they needed a Bio instructor so I volunteered for it. The game changed entirely going from GED (which gets a small government grant) to the NLP program (which only receives private donations).

The men in the NLP program are required to do bible studies and devotions, as well as, attend church twice a week. This is totally out of my element as I was raised in a very liberal, figure out your beliefs on your own kind of home, and organized religion never spoke to me the way science does.

Please also understand that I in no way want to start any kind of debate on what is the "right" line of thinking either. Just looking to do this right Very Happy
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 02:42 pm
@Jixxy,
Wow, that's a tough one. If it's a private organization then they have the right to restrict whatever information they want. But it'll be impossible for you to instruct Biology effectively at a conceptual level without including evolution.

It sounds like you'll just have to bypass the subject material entirely and not address it. This will leave you with an incomplete ability to explain Biology, but you can probably still focus on other isolated Biology topics. If your students are particularly inquisitive, then you may keep running back into areas which are off limits to you. I don't think you'll be able to avoid talking about evolution if any of your students actually start trying to understand Biology on a large scale, it's too intrinsic to the biological process to avoid.

It sounds like quite a challenge.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 02:50 pm
@Jixxy,
The only other way to approach this would be from a philosophical basis rather than a scientific basis. You might let the students know that within the methodology of science, evolution is an intrinsic part of biology and dominates our entire understanding of biological processes. But outside of science from a purely philosophical context virtually anything can be considered, even "magic" or Creationism.

Maybe you could let the students know that you will be addressing Biology from an open philosophical perspective which doesn't rule out supernatural possibilities. It would be a very unusual way to teach Biology, but you could probably squeeze it through.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 04:20 pm
@Jixxy,
Well my kids go to a Christian school and I can't remember this really being an issue. I think if like you say just teach what it is and not ponder on it. As in don't say this is not possible or it is entirely possibly - this is the theory of evolution. There are theories about a good part of science - big bang theory, for example. And in a sense you cannot really know for yourself what is true - you weren't there watching evolution or the big bang.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 04:24 pm
@Linkat,
I also thought - can you utilitize some ideas from the internet? Do you have a Christian education resource perhaps on the internet.

Here is the ACSI - or Association of Christian Schools International website -
http://www.acsi.org/

Maybe there is some information you can utilize or maybe if you reach out to them, they would be able to assist you.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 04:31 pm
@Linkat,
You don't know what theory means in the scientific community, do you?
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  0  
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 04:58 pm
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:

Are you using a Christian science book? I'd imagine that you would use that for your basis of what you are teaching.


I really got a laugh out of "christian science book". I bet that is similar to a picture book for the blind.
0 Replies
 
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 05:02 pm
@Linkat,
Quote:
Well my kids go to a Christian school and I can't remember this really being an issue. I think if like you say just teach what it is and not ponder on it. As in don't say this is not possible or it is entirely possibly - this is the theory of evolution. There are theories about a good part of science - big bang theory, for example. And in a sense you cannot really know for yourself what is true - you weren't there watching evolution or the big bang


I went to both Christian and Public schools and I don't remember it being an issue at either place.

All possibilities were taught. Even at the public school the idea of creationism was brought up...nowadays there would be all kinds of theories - because even in the Creationist camp there are Evolutionists that believe evolution was part of God's design. I think that would be an amazing class. All the theories laid out before the students. What great discussions!

There was a conference in Birmingham, AL not long ago that had some discussion of beliefs within the Christian Community....
http://blog.al.com/living-news/2011/06/birmingham_conference_opens_a.html
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Tue 27 Mar, 2012 10:05 pm
@mismi,
Sounds like Fox News.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 07:18 am
@mismi,
Yes that is kind of what I've seen at my kids' school. I think the only thing that I'd say is a Christian spin on the text book is references to God's creatures or when there is some great interesting fact about an animal or some such thing - how insightful God is in His design. More along those lines. Other than that - it really is not different than what I was taught in public school.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 07:49 am
@Jixxy,
The real question here is who does a teacher work for? If you have to choose between what is best for the students and what is best for the school, what do you choose?


Any good educator is subversive. I would follow the rules to the letter, but I would take every chance I could to slip in real education (meaning questioning beliefs, seeking evidence and reaching understanding based on the facts).
mismi
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 10:30 am
@JTT,
Quote:
Sounds like Fox News.


I wrote this big whole thing on bias in the media as a fault of both conservatives, liberals and those in between...but it was such a huge waste of my energy.

Everyone knows that.

So phth to you JTT. Razz Wink
0 Replies
 
mismi
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 10:38 am
@Linkat,
Agreed.

@maxdancona
Quote:
The real question here is who does a teacher work for? If you have to choose between what is best for the students and what is best for the school, what do you choose?

Any good educator is subversive. I would follow the rules to the letter, but I would take every chance I could to slip in real education (meaning questioning beliefs, seeking evidence and reaching understanding based on the facts).


They are not asking him not to give the information. They just want both sides presented right? I think that is pretty simple to do. Of course keeping our own bias out of our teaching is very difficult. But setting out to purposely go against what they are asking is not subversive - it's dishonest. Don't say up front you will do what they ask and accept the paycheck and then purposely do what they asked you not to. Ick. Integrity. HUGE.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 11:20 am
@mismi,
No, it looks pretty clear that Jixxy is being told to NOT teach evolution as something that might be factual. As in, not both sides presented as equally plausible, but just one side presented. Creationism, full stop.

Jixxy wrote:
What I was instructed to cover was what evolution is. But I cannot in anyway endorse it as truth or even being possibly true. I can't say that creationism is in anyway not possible.


I do have a really hard time with this kind of thing... it's a theory that the world is flat, too, but we don't have to teach that the world might be round or might be flat, these are the two theories.

Although in this case it's really, "The world is flat. Oh and some people might think it's round, but whatever."

Eek.

I wish I had some constructive advice, Jixxy, as I think you're doing a good thing in sum by volunteering in an organization that provides help to people who really need it. But what a tough spot.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 11:32 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:
I would take every chance I could to slip in real education (meaning questioning beliefs, seeking evidence ... ).


I like this bit.

It's so important to teach critical thinking skills. Even if someone isn't allowed to provide all the information, if they can teach a love of learning and how to think critically, the students can take the next step independently (or in another setting).
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 11:46 am
@Jixxy,
Could you weave the case of Galileo v. the Catholic Church into your lessons? You may get away with it if your school administration is biased against Catholicism. You may be able to teach lessons about the freedom of conscience, an important theme in Protestant theology. And the smarter ones among your students may well end up drawing analogies between physics and biology, between the 17th century and the 21st.
0 Replies
 
 

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