Low acceptance of evolution among undergraduate students is common and is best predicted by religious beliefs. Decreasing students’ perceived conflict between religion and evolution could increase their acceptance of evolution. However, college biology instructors may struggle with trying to decrease students’ perceived conflict between religion and evolution because of differences in the religious cultures and beliefs of instructors and students. Although a large percentage of undergraduate students in evolution courses are religious, most instructors teaching evolution are not. To consider differences between the secular culture of many college instructors and the religious culture of many students, we propose using a lens of cultural competence to create effective evolution education. Cultural competence is the ability of individuals from one culture (in this case, primarily secular instructors who are teaching evolution) to bridge cultural differences and effectively communicate with individuals from a different culture (in this case, primarily religious undergraduate biology students). We call this new framework Religious Cultural Competence in Evolution Education (ReCCEE). In this essay, we describe a suite of culturally competent practices that can help instructors reduce students’ perceived conflict between evolution and religion, increase students’ acceptance of evolution, and help create more inclusive undergraduate biology classrooms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)