According to previous research, pupils and students regard genetics as a very difficult subject. They find it abstract, and the use of many concepts at several different levels in the same textbook makes it difficult for them to understand. Teaching methods and ways of working have been criticised as part of the problem. The aim of this study is to summarise previous research on pupils’ knowledge of genetics and on teaching methods in genetics, to analyse curricula and textbooks in school genetics, and to test a group of Finland-Swedish secondary-school students’ understanding of the basic concepts and processes in genetics, and their opinion about genetics. The test of concepts was carried out as a multiple-choice test, completed by an open question concerning the best way(s) to learn genetics as judged by the students. The results indicated that the majority of students did not regard either genetics or the textbook as difficult; yet they lacked their own unquestionable knowledge about basic concepts and processes. There was no correlation between the test results and the way(s) the students experienced genetics, neither between the test results and the way(s) in which the students felt that they learned genetics best. More than half of the students emphasised the role of the teacher, i.e. lecturing, as the best way to learn genetics. The need and alternative ways to develop the teaching of genetics are discussed.
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|