Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Scharmann, L.C. (2021). Evolutionary theory: Establishing positive learning environments. The Innovation Platform, 6, 244-245.


A simple but effective technique for self-assessing readiness to teach a particular topic is to explicitly reflect on the student questions, ‘Why do I need toknow this stuff?’ and ‘What’s in it for me?’ Faced with these questions, real or implied, instructional decisions should be made to better address and reflect the needs of target learners. If the teacher’s response does not have sufficient perceived relevance to the target learner, students find it quite easy to dismiss the ‘stuff’ as unimportant – something to be memorised for a test and forgotten. Preparation to teach evolution often carries with it an implicit additional question: ‘Why should I believe this stuff?’ An inadequate response to this question can undermine a teacher’s credibility and compromise one’s rapport with students and parents alike. How then should one prepare?