Growing Students in the Garden: Improving the Research Process Through Experiential Learning


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This presentation will explore how the infusion of an experiential garden component in a beginning Composition class facilitated the achievement of expected outcomes in writing and research. Presented at GaCOMO12 by Claudia Shorr and Scott Mitchell.

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Growing Students in the Garden: Improving the Research Process Through Experiential Learning

  1. 1. Growing Students in the Garden: Improving theResearch Process Through Experiential Learning Claudia Shorr Dr. Scott Mitchell
  2. 2. GPC Eng 1101 Common Course OutlineExpected Educational Results:As a result of completing this course, the student will be able to:1. Demonstrate the critical thinking skills involved in exploring, limiting, and focusing the subject in order to produce a thesis statement appropriate for the audience and assignment.2. Comprehend, interpret, and incorporate into his or her writing ideas from a variety of sources and points of view.3. Produce essays that are well-organized, coherent, unified, and sufficiently developed.4. Produce essays with appropriate style and correct grammar, punctuation, usage, and diction.5. Produce essays with sources correctly documented and cited.
  3. 3. Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Standard 1: The information literate student (ILS) determines the nature and extent of the information needed. Standard 2: The ILS accesses needed information effectively and efficiently. Standard 3: The ILS evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system. Standard 4: The ILS, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose. Standard 5: The ILS understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally.
  4. 4. Community Learning Garden Project Planning Sheet—ClaudiaVision/Mission With the guidance and support of the college-wide sustainability team, we aim to develop a sustainable outdoor (garden) learning space that may yield transformative implications for our work spaces and teaching and learning spaces indoors. Through our direct involvement working alongside faculty and students through the process of experiential learning via the GPC Community Gardening Project, we will provide better support to students participating in this curricular initiative. Together as a campus community we can build trust and rapport in our interactions, nurture creative collaborations in our ongoing academic endeavors, and celebrate the harvest from our labors.
  5. 5. Community Learning Garden Project Planning Sheet—ScottVision/Mission My plan is that the garden will give my students material to write about. Their last paper will be an essay in which they need to write about an issue related to sustainability and incorporate information from two secondary written sources in their paper. The issues and research will hopefully feel more immediate to the students and they will feel more invested in the issues because of their personal involvement.
  6. 6. Community Learning Garden Project Planning Sheet—Scott Their final will be a reflexive essay on the garden and their research process. Hopefully through these two assignments and the overall experience, my students will gain an appreciation for gardening and the issues connected with urban gardening. By working in the garden, my students will hopefully form closer relationships with their classmates as they work with them in the garden.
  7. 7. Scott’s Eng 1101 iCollege Homepage
  8. 8. Student Quote about Garden Helping with Class Climate “If strangers are put together in a new territory, they will eventually come together because companionship is the only thing safe and familiar when the environment is not. I think that was a big reason we all started talking more to each other that day. The greenhouse was dirty and unfamiliar so conversing with a classmate I had never talked to before was easier when I knew we all shared the same view of the place compared to the nice, clean classroom we had been sitting in all semester.”
  9. 9. Research Topics from Scott’s Eng 1101 Abortion  Public transportation Community Gardens  Recycling Energy Efficiency  Solar energy Ethanol  Sterilization Ewaste  Sustainable architecture Geothermal Energy  Zero Waste Farm to Fork Movement Holistic Medicine Hybrid Cars Organic Farming Pedestrian pocket
  10. 10. Student Quote About How He Was Invested in Research Project “In connection with my personal experiences and enlightening on nature and sustainability this semester, my concept of responsibility to the dependency of seeds on other things including myself changed for the better. When digging dirt and planting the seeds in the garden I realized that I was taking an action that would benefit many simply by planting a small seed and surrounding it with what it needs. This concept is very similar to the nurturing of human seeds and how they depend on others for their survival.”
  11. 11. Student Quote About How She Was Invested in Research Project “My attitude changed because solar energy was supposed to be a way to sustain the earth, but it seemed as if it would harm it more than help it. In saying that, my attitude changed towards sustainability and the methods, and kind of showed me that I couldn’t jump to conclusions about it, and that I would have to do research to really see what effect or not.”
  12. 12. Student Quote on How This Project Affected Her Outside of Class “Being able to be part of the process in harvesting in the garden helped me appreciate our mother earth. It brings joy to my heart to know that my hands planted this and many mouths will be fed because of a seed I planted. Not to mention the seed I planted in my seven year old daughter where she is now concerned and cares about the wellbeing of our planet. It’s important to educate my family and imply in them the knowledge I have learned and why organic food is essential for our everyday lives.”
  13. 13. Student Quote about Helping and Connecting to Larger Community “Along with gaining knowledge of gardening, I was able to feel the pride in easily helping other as well as having fun. The foods that we picked almost every day were given to the United Methodist Children’s home where they encourage healthy and natural eating. Knowing that I contributed to someone’s life by simply picking fresh fruits and vegetables is truly heartwarming and a blessing.”
  14. 14. Claudia Shorr: crshorr@gmail.comScott Mitchell: