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Supporting teachers to use genomics as a context in the classroom: an evaluation of learning resources for high school biology


As genomics becomes embedded into healthcare, public genomic health literacy is critical to support decision-making for personal and family health decisions and enable citizens to engage with related social issues. School science education has the potential to establish the foundations of genetic and genomic literacy. The concept of literacy extends beyond conceptual understanding of biological principles to familiarity with the applications and implications of genetics, critical thinking skills, and socioscientific reasoning. We developed and evaluated a suite of resources for teaching genetics and genomics in the Australian senior biology syllabus for students aged 16-18 years. The aim was to increase teachers' knowledge and confidence to teach genetic and genomic content, and their capacity to develop robust genetic literacy in their students. Resources, including an inquiry-based task and five associated lesson plans, were developed and made freely available to teachers online. Evaluation was undertaken between December 2019 and March 2020 with a post-use survey emailed to teachers who had accessed the resources. The 56 teachers who responded rated the resources as high quality, engaging, and well-aligned with the syllabus. Teachers who used the resources self-reported increases in their knowledge and confidence in teaching. They also perceived positive outcomes in their students, reporting that the resources deepened their students understanding of genetic concepts, helped them to consider social and ethical issues, and developed their higher order thinking skills. Findings may inform future interactions with high schools to improve genetic literacy.

Type Journal
ISBN 1868-310X (Print) 1868-310X (Linking)
Authors McKnight, L.; Pearce, A.; Willis, A.; Young, M. A.; Terrill, B.
Publisher Name Journal of Community Genetics
Published Date 2021-10-31
Published Volume 12
Published Issue 4
Published Pages 653-662
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1007/s12687-021-00550-3
URL link to publisher's version