Date Approved

5-5-2006

Embargo Period

3-31-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Subject Matter Teaching: Biology

Department

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math Education

College

College of Education

First Advisor

O'Brien, Terry

Subject(s)

Biology--Study and teaching (Secondary)--New Jersey; Botany--Study and teaching (Secondary)--New Jersey

Disciplines

Science and Mathematics Education

Abstract

Botanists have expressed concern over the dwindling recognition and emphasis of plants that currently exists in the fields of education and research. To ascertain if these claims pertain to high schools in the State of New Jersey, a survey on the frequency of using plant examples for teaching 10 biological principles was randomly distributed to secondary school biology teachers. Results from 80 respondents showed that on average, plants are used as examples in teaching 66% of these biological principles. The primary rationale cited by teachers for low or non-usage of plants was that they preferred animals as teaching examples. Underlying factors that explain this lack of plant emphasis include course requirements of teacher certification, the current biology teaching trends in our classrooms, and the recognition and funding opportunities of plant science. Recommendations include requiring a botany course for all college students in biological teaching programs, involving botanical societies in educational collaborations, encouraging a greater awareness of research in plant science, and stressing the importance of plants in secondary biology classrooms.

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