Misleading labellings in biology textbook drawings

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Jun. 1994

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Drawings constitute one of the main categories of illustrations commonly used in biology textbooks to facilitate the effective teaching and learning of principles and concepts. In this study, six types of misleading labellings were identified in the drawings of 12 biology textbooks used in the English-speaking Caribbean by O' and A'Level students: 1) drawings in which a single structure is labelled as if it is more than one, 2) those with guidelines pointing to empty spaces, 3) labels without guidelines, 4) unlabelled, 5) incorrectly labelled, and 6) partially labelled drawings. The presence of these undesirable labellings in textbooks can mislead students into producing drawings with such labellings. Moreover, such labellings are likely to impede students' explicit understanding of the concepts of structure and function as well as adversely affect their general biological knowledge and understanding. The implications of the study's findings for biology education are highlighted


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