The Contribution of History and Philosophy to the Problem of Hybrid Views About Genes in Genetics Teaching

In Michael R. Matthews (ed.), International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching. Springer. pp. 469-520 (2014)

Authors
Joao Magalhaes
London School of Economics
Abstract
Currently there are persistent doubts about the meaning and contributions of the gene concept, mostly related to its interpretation as a stretch of DNA encoding a single functional product, i.e., the classical molecular gene concept. There is, however, much conceptual variation around genes, leading to important difficulties in genetics teaching. We investigated whether and how conceptual variation related to the gene concept and gene function models is present in school science and what potential problems it may bring to genetics teaching and learning. Here, we report results on how ideas about genes and gene function are treated in textbooks and appear in students’ views and, also, about a teaching strategy for improving higher education students’ understanding of scientific models and conceptual variation around genes and their functions.
Keywords Genetics Teaching  Philosophy of Biology  History of Biology  Science Education  Philosophy of Education
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