Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Book Update

I've been swamped with UAB work since Thanksgiving, and I haven't been able to get any work on the book done. I'm sitting down today to write, though, and I'm glad to be getting back into it.

I've finished the first draft of the core 7 chapters; so, here's the plan:

-Work back through chapters 1-7, tightening them up and making sure the message is coherent. I've been working on these chapters across a full year now; so, I know some of the things that I wrote in the earlier chapters isn't consistent with my message now.

-Write the introductory chapter and the concluding chapter.

-Finalize Appendix 1, which is chiefly the resources I'm pointing teachers to.

-If time, write a new Appendix 2, which will be on the pedagogy model I'm employing in the book. I'm calling that the Spain Park Model, and it's the graphic included here in the post. Click the title of this post to take you to a PDF of the graphic.

-Submit the manuscript by my deadline of Feb 1. Heinemann says it will be out by this time next year.


CJ said...

Hi Dr. Meadows,

Very interested in the premise of your book. It brings a question to mind. What would be an appropriate response for an educator when he has prefaced the unit on evolution with a few statements to the effect that "you should learn this and you should understand this (evolution) but it is your decision to believe it or not. You do not need to believe it to understand it." And then Johnny Student asks " So Mr. Teacher, what about you? Do you understand evolution and not believe it or understand it and believe it?" Any suggestions on how to respond to such a question?

And (maybe you covered this in a different post) how are you defining evolution? Change over time? or inorganic chemicals came together through random processes and a cell emerged that was able to reproduce itself which led to all life (extinct and living)as we know it. Change over time is easily understood and accepted - but life from non-life by natural selection is another matter.

Lee said...

CJ: Good to see your post, and I look forward to interacting with you here. You've raised a couple of good questions.

The issue of how much teachers should tell their students about their own personal beliefs is one that I've been pondering, and I don't yet have an answer that I'm 100% comfortable with. In the beginning of the unit, which was the timeframe that you indicated in your question, I think I would use a Stay-Tuned response, something along the lines of "That's a good question, but one that I don't think answering now is a good idea. I'll tell you more about what I believe personally later in the unit." Many students want to shortcut the intellectual work of looking at the evidence and forming their own conclusions by either accepting or rejecting the teachers' view, just because it's the teachers. That's why I suggest delaying.

I used to think that teachers should never state their own personal beliefs, but I'm rethinking that these days. The issue is so deeply personal and so much at the core of many people's humanity that I don't see how a teacher can treat it as an intellectual issue only and keep an objective distance.

Lee said...

CJ: As far as your second question, I just went looking for old posts dealing with the issue. I thought I had one, but I guess not. Instead, the issue must have been raised in some of the comments that people posted, one of which I remember well because Jeff, its author, helped me see how their really is no distinction between micro- and macroevolution from a scientific perspective. What many people call "macroevolution" is simply natural selection working over long periods of times. I've taken that approach in the book.