A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Korean and American Science Teachers' Views of Evolution and the Nature of Science
Despite a few international comparisons of the evolutionary beliefs of the general public, comparatively less research has focused on science teachers. Cross-cultural studies offer profitable opportunities for exploring the interactions among knowledge and belief variables in regard to evolution in different socio-cultural contexts. We investigated the evolutionary worldviews of pre-service science teachers from Asia (specifically South Korea), a region often excluded from international comparisons. We compared Korean and American science teachers': (1) understandings of evolution and the nature of science, and (2) acceptance of evolution in order to elucidate how knowledge and belief relationships are manifested in different cultural contexts. We found that Korean science teachers exhibited 'moderate' evolutionary acceptance levels comparable to or lower than American science teacher samples. Gender was significantly related to Korean teachers' evolution content knowledge and acceptance of evolution, with female Christian biology teachers displaying the lowest values on all measures. Korean science teachers' understandings of nature of science were significantly related to their acceptance and understanding of evolution; this relationship appears to transcend cultural boundaries. Our new data on Korean teachers, combined with studies from more than 20 other nations, expose the global nature of science teacher ambivalence or antipathy toward evolutionary knowledge.