ASPP and teaching

David Hershey dh321 at
Sun Feb 28 01:47:59 EST 1999

I'm sorry to learn that ASPP has such a myopic view of scholarly efforts
in education. I have read several plant science education studies which
tested techniques on different test groups and found them much less
useful than the kind of teaching articles in American Biology Teacher,
Journal of Biological Education, BioScience, or ASPP poster abstracts
especially "how-to-do-it" type pieces.

Most teachers have had the experience of trying the same teaching
technique on different classes and sometimes it works beautifully with
one class and fails miserably with another. Therefore, I really have my
doubts when results of teaching research using just two classes for one
semester are used to draw far-reaching conclusions. There does not seem
to be adequate replication in many of the studies I have read. Another
problem I have with many of the studies is that the education
researchers do not have backgrounds in plant biology.

Funny, but the college-level science teachers rarely have taken
education courses, and the college science education system in the
United States is the best in the world. On the other hand, the
precollege teachers all have degrees in education, and the precollege
science teaching system in the United States is way back in world

David Hershey
dh321 at

Katherine Schmid wrote:

> Two opposing viewpoints have been expressed concerning the
> willingness of ASPP to publish articles on teaching in Plant
> Physiology.  I suspect the difference of opinion is rooted in
> semantics.  As Susan Singer stated, Maarten Chrispeels has said
> that the journal welcomes scholarly articles on teaching.
> However, "scholarly" in this sense implies original research in
> the teaching of plant physiology.  You know -- the kind that
> usually requires experimental and control groups of student
> organisms.  In other words, the very useful posters in the
> teaching session don't rank as scholarship.  No, they're just
> "teaching."  At most they might rate a mention in the education
> corner of the newsletter.
> Yes, there are and have been dedicated people on the Education
> Committee of ASPP, and things have improved during my 18
> years of ASPP membership. Unfortunately, the ethos that David
> Hershey so aptly described as "research chauvinism" still can
> leave PUI folks in ASPP feeling condescended to, marginalized,
> and otherwise demeaned.
> _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
> Dr. Katherine M. Schmid
> Dept. of Biological Sciences
> Butler University
> 4600 Sunset Ave.
> Indianapolis, IN  46208
> 317-940-9956
> kschmid at

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