This thesis explores the “presentation” and “presence” of the theory of biological evolution in Greek primary and secondary education since the beginning of the 20th century. In the introduction of this doctorial dissertation there is an analysis of the central and unifying role of the theory of evolution in biology and in the teaching of biology. There is also an overview of the acceptance and treatment of evolutionary theory in Greece.
Initially, a study was made of the presentation of evolutionary theory in the school curricula and textbooks since it was first introduced in the early 20th century. However, the presentation of this theory is linked to the mindset of the teachers, as well of their pupils. Therefore, it was necessary to investigate what Greek primary and secondary school teachers thought about concepts in evolutionary theory and the subsequent effect it had on their pupils after their being taught the material in the curricula.
Therefore this study contains four separate sections that comprise the four chapters of the thesis, while the methodology includes an analysis of all the curricula with regard to their goals, the teaching material contained in them, the class time devoted to biology and other related lessons. It pinpoints and analyses all the texts that that are either directly or indirectly related to evolutionary theory in all primary and secondary textbooks. The research instruments used to record teachers’ and pupils’ conceptions and views were questionnaires consisting of open-ended and closed questions and interviews with secondary school biology teachers. In the fifth and final chapter, the individual research findings are evaluated in order to draw general conclusions as well as observations and proposals for further research.