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My Approach to Teaching Evolution to a Skeptic

I love my job, but as a former Evolutionary Biologist, working in a religious school can be complex! However - I live for a challenge, and I respect my students, I know we can all separate our personal beliefs to learn about Biology! When approaching evolution with potential skeptics, there’s a few things that need to be communicated more urgently than others, but nothing you can say is more important than the respect that you show. Students can’t learn unless they feel heard. Students can’t learn unless they feel safe. Students can’t learn unless they feel seen. And that’s not a theory, that’s a fact (oh wait... They're like the same thing :P)!

^ Make no bones about it. Evolution is NOT a matter of opinion (at least no more than Gravity is...), but it's also important to understand that just because this is the first time students are learning about evolution in class, does not mean this is their first exposure to the topic. Some may have picked up confusing misconceptions along the way and some may have been taught that believing in evolution is somehow wrong or immoral. It's ok to comfort students and assure them that this is not an attack - instead, it is giving them the opportunity to broaden their horizons and learn something new!

I hope this information is helpful. It is a fine line to walk as an evolutionary biologist at a religious school – but my kids never fail to impress me with their curiosity and willingness to explore!

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