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Emma Newall

University College London
ITE tutor, Lecturer in Science Education

I am work within the Secondary Science ITE team at the UCL INstitute of Education, but alsow ith responsibility of for MA and Doctoral studenst of science education. The research I am presenting is that of my own Doctoral research during my EdD, which I successfully completed in 2020. It concerns the issues asociated with the teaching of evolution, but from an existential rather than a faith based perspective. In my thesis I propose that the concepts presented by evolution can be perceived as potentially disturbing to all; ideas about change, uncertainty, absence of purpose or plan, extinction and struggle, as well as challenges to identity arising from the emphasis on our place in the natural world alongside other animals. Drawing on a psychoanalytical theoretical framework and Free Association Narrative Interviewing, I examine novice educator’s unconscious and conscious emotional responses to evolutionary concepts. My findings suggest that for many, the ideas inherent in evolution reveal disturbing existential questions, irrespective of whether they have a faith or not. I propose that the role of existential concern, its impact on our relationship with the natural world and our acceptance of evolution has not been fully appreciated. I suggest affective and existential issues require greater examination in the context of teaching and learning about evolution and that this research highlights the importance of dialogue and trust in the classroom.

My Speakers Sessions

Thursday, January 7

13:30 GMT