The subject behavior in the biology education.

by da Silva, Filipe Cavalcanti

Abstract (Summary)
This research intends to discuss the possibilities of inserting issues related to animal behavior inBiology high school curriculum in order to overcome the nature versus nurture controversy. We mean bynature/nurture controversy (debate) the historical dichotomic view of the animal (biological) and socio-cultural aspects of human nature. The former is studied by the biological sciences and the latter by the human sciences. This dichotomy has dominated the behavioral sciences and the high school subjects, suggesting that the both extremes of this continuum are not related to one another. Thus high school students are often exposed to afragmentary view of human nature. However, Evolutionary Biology has been developing for over forty yearstheories and empirical data that sustains that this dichotomy should be overcome. If we admit to, that the study of Evolution (a central issue for the understanding of Biology), and the human species (a major interest amongstudents) must be, both of them, one of the priorities to the Biology teaching, then the debate nature/nurtureshould be part of its contents. Our approach to the problem can be divided in three steps. Initially we evaluated quantitatively high school and undergraduate students? view point about the origins of human behavior. These data suggest that students have an experientialist view of human nature. We have observed that this view is the same among those who chose different undergraduate courses and among those who are about to finish their graduate courses,regardless the area these courses belong to.Second, we tried to explain the results above, by both reviewing Biology textbooks and scientific newsin daily journals. The former nearly ignore human behavior, and when they do, nurture aspects are much moreemphasized than the nature ones. In the opposite direction, press has recently prioritized coverage of scienceadvances on evolutionary aspects of human nature.Finally, we tested the impact of nature/nurture issues on students? view of human nature in some classroom situations. According to prior results, these didactic experiences emphasized evolutionary aspects ofhuman behavior. Our goal was to help students to elaborate a more integrated view about human nature. Weevaluated the success of these didactic experiences quantitatively through pre and post-tests. These resultssuggest that some students are more sensitive to evolutionary topics and start to present a more intermediateview of human nature, while others tend to maintain a still more polarized view towards the cultural pole of thiscontinuum. We discussed all these results in the light of the problems related to Biology high school curriculum andthe its historical aspects.
This document abstract is also available in Portuguese.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Ricardo Francisco Waizbort; Mauricio Roberto Motta Pinto da Luz

School:Faculdades Oswaldo Cruz

School Location:Brazil

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:Behavioral Sciences Evolution Human Characteristics Biology/education


Date of Publication:06/13/2008

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