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Re-examining the practice of dissection: What does it teach?

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Contemporary science standards stress the importance of highlighting inquiry in the science classroom as one way of learning key concepts. One critical question that needs to be addressed for a range of instructional practices is how opportunities to learn are conceptualized so that students can engage and learn the critical ideas and practices necessary to become scientifically literate. Here I position the ethically-contested practice of dissection as one instructional practice that needs to be examined in order to see if the learning environment that is created when teachers and students engage in dissection is one that allows students to practice a meaningful science. I argue that the pedagogical value in dissection may not be worth the ethical compromises that surround it.
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Keywords: biology education; dissection; learning environments; opportunity to learn; science education

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-09-01

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