Pam Hanley, creationism and science teaching

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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby Brian Jordan » Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:34 pm

This could have gone to News and Links, but Alice Roberts and schools are mentioned....
A York University study reveals horrifying figures about the acceptance of creationism and comes - or perhaps the article writer dones - to very wishy-washy conclusions.
Warning: very large elephant discovered but skirted around.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2014/02/21/creationism-has-no-place-in-a-science-class/
The American article has no link to the source - I'll have a dig for it.
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby Brian Jordan » Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:54 pm

This brief article seems to be the source:
http://theconversation.com/can-schools-find-way-through-creationism-meets-science-minefield-in-the-classroom-22807
The author,
Pam Hanley is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Effective Education. She has a BSc in Psychology/Zoology and an MA in Social Sciences. Her PhD focused on the teaching of the origin of life in secondary school science and RE classrooms.

http://www.york.ac.uk/iee/staff/phanley.htm
There's a substantial and interesting-lookin bibliography, too, but I can see no mention of her Ph.D. thesis. If we could track a copy down, it would be fascinating to compare and contrast with Sylvia Baker's!
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby Brian Jordan » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:05 pm

Wow, it never used to be this easy!
http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/2748/
Abstract

This study explored the opinions of teachers and 14-16 year old students about the teaching of the origin of life in Science and RE. It focused on any discontinuities between students’ religious or cultural backgrounds and what they are taught in school. A mixed methodology was used: a national teacher survey and work in four case schools (teacher interviews, student questionnaires, student focus groups). The case schools represented three contexts: a Christian faith school, a non-faith school with predominantly Muslim catchment, and two non-faith, mixed catchment schools. Grounded theory guided the design and analysis. Most Science teachers mentioned religious beliefs in their teaching of the origin of life, and most RE teachers mentioned scientific theories. However, there was little cross-departmental collaboration, raising the concern of inaccurate teaching of science theories in RE and potentially insensitive, counter-productive treatment of religious students in Science. Students tended to perceive Science as based on fact and closed to questioning or discussion of their concerns whereas RE had a more interactive pedagogy, encouraging challenge and the expression of opinion. Two complementary frameworks were developed from the data. One is a taxonomy of the different ways science and religion are seen to inter-relate. The other, which has been set in the context of the cross-cultural border crossing literature, reflects the propensity to engage with the science/religion interface as exemplified by the topic of the origin of life. Many Muslim students resisted engagement because of conflicting religious beliefs. Teachers did not always appreciate the extent to which this topic troubled some students who needed help to accommodate clashes between science and their religious beliefs. Building up cross-curricular working may increase teacher knowledge and confidence as well as providing better support for students. The engagement typology could be used to develop a simple questionnaire to enable teachers to assess student responsiveness before tackling potentially sensitive or controversial topics.

It can be downloaded as a pdf from the above link. 275pp - that's my weekend gone!
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Pam Hanley, creationism and science teaching

Postby Brian Jordan » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:46 pm

I've decided to split this off from the Alice Roberts thread, now that there's a thesis to discuss.
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Re: Pam Hanley, creationism and science teaching

Postby cathy » Sat Feb 22, 2014 4:46 pm

Weeeell on just the abstract I cannot make head nor tail of it. The parameters do not seem to be clearly defined. I really haven't a clue what she has studied or whom.

For a start what is the Christian faith school? I went to an RC school which I supposed could be defined as a Christian faith school. No creationist controversies ever, ever, ever raised their ugly heads at all. Science was one of the few subjects taught well and free from prejudice. History on the other hand! A very different take on Henry VIII to the non RC schools.

I know I'm getting repetitive and boring about this, but my school takes in lots of kids from RC schools into sixth form, and my own daughter, and no controversies at all. All well taught scientists no real issues with evolution. In fact the problems only come from the loony tune churches who are usually not at faith schools.

My daughter went to an RC school and knows about it purely because of my links to the subject via her attendence at a loony church youth club from a minor sect that does/did not run schools (tho who knows under gormless Gove). She was asked about it once in year eight, two kids were creationists - one because he didn't want his friend to be the only one. The rest all science is true independent of whether or not they believed in God. So is this a state Christian faith school? If yes of what flavour? Where? Background?

If state it's very likely to be RC or CofE? If private or newer state/free school could be CST, could be more benign could be anything. I know private schools that are to all intents and purposes secular yet have a Christian 'ethos'.

Secondly what does she mean by evolution with God involved? That could mean anything at all. Does it mean evolution has it happened but with a belief in God as some kind of divine originator as I used to believe? Or the more bizarre guided evolution where God pops down every few thousand years to conjure up a mutation? Cos I was definitely of the former camp yet at 15 if asked such an ambigous question would have gone for God guided? so lots of perfectly happy with science kids might be being maligned as creationists when merely believers or not. Purely as simply from some kind of belief in some kind of creator outside of this world - some kind of originator of laws. That question would never have occurred to me back then, because the two - science and religion - did not cross over. One was evidence etc the other was faith and beyond the remit of science. And up to 16 and beyond a lot of my science was taught to me by believers with no obvious issues at all. So what does she mean exactly?

Thirdly the idea of Muslims having trouble is relatively new! I guess their leaders have picked up on the old creationist bullshit to. Older Muslims don't seem to have ever given it much thought. And what sort of Muslims or Muslim schools?

Lastly it is time to stop pussyfooting around the teaching of evolution and pretending it is sensitive and controversial cos it ain't and comments like hers do not help. It is scientific fact and only a bother to folks beliefs if they wish to make it so. It is time perhaps for some training in RE to make the non controversial fact of evolution clear! An
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Re: Pam Hanley, creationism and science teaching

Postby Brian Jordan » Sat Feb 22, 2014 6:27 pm

I haven't got to the meat yet, so I don't know how much she gives away about the schools involved. I did skip down to the references though, and there's no entry for Baker, S.
I suspect it will turn out to be in favour of Michael Reiss. Who she says was pushed by the RS, rather than fell.
Oh, ok, I'll jump ahead!
p123 (ie 137 of the pdf.
It's just described as comprehensive, mixed, voluntary aided. Urban with around 900 pupils.
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Re: Pam Hanley, creationism and science teaching

Postby cathy » Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:38 pm

comprehensive, mixed, voluntary aided, urban with 900 pupils means nothing at all. Does not even say what sort of Christian faith school it is.

Not exactly happy with her article either. Firstly should evolution be taught with reference to religious beliefs. NO!!!!! NO!! NO!! It is a scientific fact which is unaffected by the religious beliefs of those learning it. I have friends who have taught in the Middle East (paid off their mortgages and saved a fortune) who have pointed out that teaching with ref to beliefs is an unworkable nightmare as kids will come up with lots of stuff - including issues with gravity and air resistance.

Are we going to teach science/history/phse/citizenship with ref to other beliefs. Women are second class citizens for example? Hindus/Jews/Catholics are inferior scum? I doubt it - so why do we keep singling out evolution! About time we pointed out that rejection of evolution is just as offensive as the above, and just as illogical.

Science teaching is about science and science is independent of religious beliefs. Go down that route and you might as well forget teaching science and just carry out a few opinion polls instead. Science teachers should say of evolution this is how it is - issues are for the RE dept or your religious leaders!

Will it alienate those with religious beliefs? Well that is why we have RE and it is perhaps an issue that RE teachers need training on. RE can deal with those issues mainly by pointing to the fact that there are many ways in which beliefs are reconciled - and there are. The downgrading of RE is not good. It is the arena where a lot of these issues can and should be resolved. By properly trained teachers with perhaps extra training to deal with these newer issues. We should stop downgrading RE and update the training to incorporate problems like creationism.

In terms of her categories, she has identified two groups that have no issues, but two groups that do.

Most of the Muslims, she claims, are the resistors. If she's right they will present the biggest problem but the solution lies in the fact that that has got to be a feature of their religion and upbringing rather than personality. Unless she is claiming they are a homogenous group. Then there are the confused, who are an easier problem to solve. Just explaining how some Christians/Muslims etc reconcile their beliefs should solve their issues. Our school manage that well. My childrens' schools also managed it well - simple fact of pointing to groups who have no issues and explaining how they reconcile.

The resistors therefore become the only problem. She claims that is the Muslim groups and I would assume some Christians. Freeing up that group is where her research should be headed not how to sugar the evolution pill for religious loonies or alter the teaching in some way. They may well be resistors because of the make up of the schools. But I think the solution lies outside the schools, by tackling the religious leaders involved.

The other thing I'm getting really annoyed about is exactly sure why she, or any others like Reiss, think that is an issue for schoolchildren to solve! Why are all these well meaning witterings all about how schools deal with the problems. If evolution is an issue for certain groups than I'm afraid it is those religious leaders that are the ones that need educating and changing. Not the poor bloody kids they are indoctrinating.

I think it is high time for debates like the recent one on Big Question to become more prevalent, i.e. should religion embrace evolution. No more evolution/creationism debates, that has long since been won by evolution.

No more 'ooh, how do we be culturally sensitive in teaching evolution'. After all that is how we've ignored stuff like forced marriage (or kidnap as I like to call it) and female genital mutilation for so long. By sensitively dealing with it rather than saying it is just wrong. Now it is the time to stand up and tell religion that evolution will be taught, that it is right and that the children of their followers will be told that in both science and RE. Accept it, deal with it or lose out.

It is such an easy debate. I can think of thousands of good arguments for those with open minds. The remaining few egos and bullies like our Christian creationist or the Arab Wahabbi Muslims need to be constantly frozen out. The Arabic vile misogynistic flavour of Wahabbi Islam is becoming far too powerful anyway - it is more an excuse to abuse human rights than true to the spirit of Islam as I've been led to understand it.

So instead of trying to mess with evolution - point out to religion this is how it is, how it will be taught and that is that. And use the normal sane thinking religious people more widely than currently.
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Re: Pam Hanley, creationism and science teaching

Postby Brian Jordan » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:13 pm

I'm reeling from being about 80 pages in and she's still the literature survey - maybe that's the way theses in woolly subjects like sociology work?
But I did take a break and look at that little paper with the graphs and noticed a glaring omission: no provision for people who think there is no need to reconcile evolution and religion - religion being, say, merely a distraction. She seems, there, to disregard anyone who disregards religion. I'm not sure that she does that in her thesis though. So far, it seems a reasonable stab at a literature survey and - judging by the "why me" section - she certainly doesn't profess any serious religiosity herself so I don't think she has a religious axe to grind.
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Re: Pam Hanley, creationism and science teaching

Postby a_haworthroberts » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:11 am

Please see this BLOG by Paul Braterman on the Forbes Magazine article: http://paulbraterman.wordpress.com/2014 ... s-enemies/


Please also see my attempted comment submitted underneath it just now (however, due I assume to the inclusion of two links, my comment awaits moderation at the time of writing - and thus I reproduce it below as it is relevant to this thread).


"In his thread on this topic on the British Centre for Science Education community forum Brian Jordan has also flagged this article by Pam Hanley, one of the York University researchers who wrote the paper flagged by Nick Morrison (whose background seems to be education rather than science and who is writing in a magazine targeted at US business people):
http://theconversation.com/can-schools- ... room-22807

Brian is also I gather reading through a 2012 PhD thesis by Pam Hanley entitled ‘The inter-relationship of Science and Religious Education in a cultural context: Teaching the origin of life’.

I note that this is NOT the 2013 paper flagged by Mr Morrison – which is by Hanley and two other York University academics and which is entitled: ‘The Inter-relationship of Science and Religion: A typology of engagement’ (full access is restricted).

This is the BCSE thread – where I’m about to flag this blog: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3449"


PS Although the 2013 paper is only available in full upon payment, the Abstract can be read here - for what it is worth:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1 ... wk-DPl_v81
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Re: Pam Hanley, creationism and science teaching

Postby cathy » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:59 am

Concerned that there is eighty pages of literature survey. It should never have been allow to gets thats far. I'm in agreement with paul. We should stop talking about evolution as an issue cos it isn't and start talking a bout the science deniers as the problem. Why are we just taking their feelings in to account when we've long since knocked homophobia and sexism on head as beliefs to be respected. Time to try and re frame the debate in terms of dealing with the creationists as the real problem to be solved. By telling them firmly that their ideas have no place in any public sphere and the rights of their children to learn science will take precedent over their right to deny them education. Preferably in the private sector too. As Alice has said

If as informed adults those children chose creationism fine. It will be their INFORMED choices! You cannot deny them that right to make an informed choice by messing with their education.

If creationism is so good why the fear of education.
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Re: Pam Hanley, creationism and science teaching

Postby Brian Jordan » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:03 am

a_haworthroberts wrote:I note that this is NOT the 2013 paper flagged by Mr Morrison – which is by Hanley and two other York University academics and which is entitled: ‘The Inter-relationship of Science and Religion: A typology of engagement’ (full access is restricted).
Now there's a discussion point about science education: inhibiting dissemination of academic studies by paywalls. Particularly ludicrous in this case, where they want £24 for a paper derived from a thesis, the whole of which is available free of charge.
Did I miss a link in the Forbes article, Ashley, or have you tracked this down yourself? I assumed the conversations article was the one because it's more recent and the author speaks of "we".
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Re: Pam Hanley, creationism and science teaching

Postby a_haworthroberts » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:08 pm

Brian Jordan wrote:
a_haworthroberts wrote:I note that this is NOT the 2013 paper flagged by Mr Morrison – which is by Hanley and two other York University academics and which is entitled: ‘The Inter-relationship of Science and Religion: A typology of engagement’ (full access is restricted).
Now there's a discussion point about science education: inhibiting dissemination of academic studies by paywalls. Particularly ludicrous in this case, where they want £24 for a paper derived from a thesis, the whole of which is available free of charge.
Did I miss a link in the Forbes article, Ashley, or have you tracked this down yourself? I assumed the conversations article was the one because it's more recent and the author speaks of "we".



http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1 ... wpv__l_v82
I reached this link via the Forbes article by Nick Morrison that Paul Braterman flagged at his blog.
(It's also provided as a link here: http://www.york.ac.uk/iee/staff/phanley.htm. The PhD thesis by Hanley that you found is not listed at this link though.)
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Re: Pam Hanley, creationism and science teaching

Postby Brian Jordan » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:08 pm

a_haworthroberts wrote:http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09500693.2013.853897#.Uwpv__l_v82
I reached this link via the Forbes article by Nick Morrison that Paul Braterman flagged at his blog.
(It's also provided as a link here: http://www.york.ac.uk/iee/staff/phanley.htm. The PhD thesis by Hanley that you found is not listed at this link though.)
Yes, sorry Ashley, Paul has pointed out that I missed the link. Really must get those new glasses. :)
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