Towards a More Humane Genetics Education

High School Teacher Recruitment for NSF-funded Study

We are currently recruiting for a study titled, “Exploring how learning about the genetics of sex differences impacts genetic essentialism and STEM belonging and interest” for the 2024-2025 academic year. The deadline to apply was May 1, 2024.

This proposed study will explore how teaching about human genetic variation and complex trait development influences how students think about sex and gender differences. Our experimental research aims to identify—and revise—the content in common genetics instruction in an effort to reduce gender bias. Our work aims to give students a more scientifically accurate understanding of gender and/or sex differences. It could also guide educators to teach these concepts in a socially-responsible manner.

Teachers who choose to participate in our study will facilitate an online learning experience with their students that will have the students engage in a lesson about the relationship between genes, sex and gender, and the complex issue of gender disparities. Since the online lessons and surveys are pre-programmed, teachers who participate will mainly be responsible for distributing the appropriate links to their students at the appropriate times and will not need to teach the online lessons themselves.

Please keep in mind that since the teachers will not be doing any teaching themselves, there will be no professional development associated with this online study. Additionally, we are not offering any monetary compensation for participating in this online study. However, teachers who participate in our online study now will have access to the online materials at the end of the study and will have priority for selection for any future professional developments related to the classroom-based lessons we are currently developing from these online lessons.

This online study will take approximately 200 minutes of class time, with two 1-hour lessons and four 20-minute surveys. The figure below shows the timeline for the study once consent/assent has been completed. There is no specific time in the school year we are requiring teachers to implement this online study. Instead, we will work with teachers on a per teacher basis to figure out the ideal time to implement the study sometime around when teachers are teaching genetics.

Please see the figure below for a breakdown of the timeline for the study after we have conducted assent/consent in your classrooms:

We have already piloted this study in two school districts in spring 2023, and are currently running the study in 8 other districts around the US.

Please note that in order to participate in these studies, your school district will need to approve this research. We will do our best to submit a successful application to your district if you are interested, but cannot guarantee that your participation in the study will be approved by your district.

If you have any questions about the study or would like to schedule a zoom meeting to discuss what participation will look like in more detail, please contact Awais Syed at [email protected] and cc [email protected].

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation through a grant from the EHR Core Research (ECR) program, which supports work that advances the fundamental research literature on STEM learning, with co-funding by the Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK12) program.