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Insects 2018, 9(1), 12; doi:10.3390/insects9010012

Fear and Disgust of Spiders: Factors that Limit University Preservice Middle School Science Teachers

Department of Teacher Education: STEM Division, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, Education Building 601, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
Department of Mathematical Sciences, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, Bell Hall 311, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 December 2017 / Revised: 5 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arthropod Education)
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Spiders perform many essential ecological services, yet humans often experience negative emotions toward spiders. These emotions can lead to the avoidance of beneficial events. These emotions may affect beliefs about what should or should not be included in a science curriculum. This study investigated how activities with living spiders affected preservice middle school science teachers’ emotions and beliefs. Prior to the activities both groups (i.e., treatment and control) had moderate to extreme fear and disgust toward the spider. The teachers that participated in the spider activities (i.e., treatment group) had much lower levels of fear and disgust after performing the spider activities than the control group that did not participate in the spider activities. The control group continued to have elevated levels of fear and disgust toward the spider throughout the study. Before the spider activities neither group planned to incorporate information about spiders or information about the essential ecological services of spiders into their science classroom. After the treatment group participated in the spider activities, the teachers had definitive plans to teach their students about spiders and the essential ecological services that they provide. The control group remained unchanged and had no plans to teach this information to their students. View Full-Text
Keywords: belief; disgust; fear; preservice middle school teachers; spiders belief; disgust; fear; preservice middle school teachers; spiders

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wagler, R.; Wagler, A. Fear and Disgust of Spiders: Factors that Limit University Preservice Middle School Science Teachers. Insects 2018, 9, 12.

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