Monday, June 25, 2007

Is dissection a dying art in our schools?

Are frogs finally safe? I found a rather interesting read today about dissection and thought that it tied in nicely with one of my previous posts entitled Cadavers and School 2.0. The headline for the article is WHY DISSECTION IS A DYING ART IN SCHOOLS. Here is a brief intro to the article.
Generations of biology pupils have learned the marvels of nature by dissecting specimens ranging from rabbits to worms. But the skill is dying out in schools because of health and safety red tape, concerns over animal welfare and pupil
squeamishness. A survey by the Institute of Biology shows that 85 percent of teachers believe dissections are far less common in schools than 20 years ago. The packed curriculum and lack of funding are partly blamed for the decline, but 22 percent of respondents cited confusion over health and safety regulations and 28 percent said many students were too squeamish to carry out dissections. Twelve per cent reported pressure from parents -- and even other teachers -- not to use animal material in class while 14 percent cited pressure from students themselves. For some teachers, dissections are too dangerous because disruptive pupils could harm others with scalpels and scissors. The rise of interactive whiteboards, which allow pupils to view images on screen, has led some staff to show children 'virtual' dissections instead. However, an overwhelming majority of the 220 teachers who took part in the survey are convinced dissections are valuable and enhance pupils' understanding. The threat to dissection has been intensified by a lack of specialist teachers, according to London’s Evening Standard. Graduates in other sciences, such as physics and chemistry, are now allowed to take biology lessons...

Also, I think that the article ties in well with the whole classroom2.0 and school 2.0 movement. Virtual dissections are great, but I can’t help but think that there is still a need for some "old school" dissections in the classroom. I love technlogy, but to totally go to virtual dissections would be a grave error in my opinion. What do you think?


William Bishop (Bill)

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