Teachers 'must respect' the creationist views of their pupils

Teachers 'must respect' the creationist views of their pupils September 11, 2008

A CALL for teachers to respect pupils’ deeply-held beliefs in creationism has been made by a leading British biologist and education expert.

Prof Michael Reiss
Prof Michael Reiss
Professor Michael Reiss, director of education at the Royal Society, wants creationism to be included in science lessons because around 10 percent of British schoolchildren come came from Muslim backgrounds or families with fundamental Christian views.

In the US, the proportion of creationist schoolchildren was 40 percent.
The job of teachers is to teach, not to indoctrinate, and for an “education expert” to call on them to respect delusional ideas planted in pupils’ heads by fundamentalist parents – both Christian and Muslim – is outrageous.
Reiss is an ordained Church of England minister, which goes some way to explain this nonsense.
According to this report, he said teachers in science lessons ought to be willing to talk about creationism if students brought the subject up. At the same time as making clear creationism is not accepted by the scientific community, they should convey a message of respect that does not “denigrate or ridicule” the children’s beliefs.

Prof Reiss admitted he used to be “evangelical” about spreading the word of evolution when he taught biology in schools. But he added:

I realised that simply banging on about evolution and natural selection didn’t lead some pupils to change their minds at all. Now I would be more content simply for them to understand it as one way of understanding the universe.

Speaking at the British Association Festival of Science at the University of Liverpool, he said it was better for science teachers not to see creationism as a “misconception” but as a “world view”.
Oh, gimme strength!
UPDATE – Sept 13: Prof Reiss has clarified his position here.


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