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Majority of K-12 Science Teachers Taught About Ebola Last Year, Report Finds

Majority of K-12 Science Teachers Taught About Ebola Last Year, Report Finds

Horizon Research in partnership with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA), and the Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS) began surveying America’s K-12 science teachers last spring to find out more information about how they were teaching Ebola in the classroom.

Ebola is now in distant-thought, especially since newer threats like the Zika virus have swooped in, but in the fall of 2014, it was on everyone’s minds.

The report discusses how many schools were affected by the outbreak: “[a] school district in Maine put a teacher on administrative leave for three weeks because parents learned that the teacher had recently traveled to Dallas, where two nurses had been infected with the virus.”

So how did America’s science teachers respond to the Ebola hysteria that was infiltrating their classrooms either directly or not?

By teaching the facts, of course.

The report found through its survey that “over three-fourths of high school science teacher respondents devoted some class time to Ebola, including 9 in 10 life science teachers and almost half of non-life science teachers.”

Teachers spent an average of 30 minutes addressing the subject, addressing common topics like defining Ebola, how it’s transmitted, and the likelihood of it spreading the U.S.

Life science teachers went into greater detail, teaching students about the disease’s history, diagnosis, treatment, and survival rate.

The majority of teachers (80 percent) said they began talking about the topic because their students asked them first. Many of them used the instructional method of using whole-class discussions and letting students ask questions to teach about the disease.

For the minority teachers who did not teach students about Ebola, they cited little time for spontaneous instruction due to limiting state standards as the main reason.

The report also touches on other things like how teachers researched information about Ebola and what sources they found most reliable.

The biggest take-away from the report, however, is adequately found in the report’s name: Stopping an Epidemic of Misinformation. How K-12 Science Teachers Responded to Ebola.

Indeed: students asked, and teachers responded, quelling a frightening event with the much-needed facts.

Read the full report here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

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