USING the Supermarket Botany Article

Stefanie Galgon smg4 at DANA.UCC.NAU.EDU
Mon Jul 12 13:49:18 EST 1999


I must commend you on your creativeness -- turning a mistake into a
fortune. I have always found your questions and responses to be insightful
and genuine.  Why am I speaking up now?  Don't know.  Possibly because I
am in a transition state -- moving from a research based track to an
education based track, and I am looking for a teaching position,
therefore I have been studying the educational system in the United
States. Let me tell you, I have been slapped in the face with a few
reality checks.

I am in agreement that students must be subjected to and have the self
confidence to asses articles that have biased or mis-reported information.
It is a naivety among young career students that if information is
published, it must be true (I was a victim of this myself).

Education is not just about feeding facts into brains... it is about the
responsibility we all have as students and educators in using those facts
to observe, determine, question, interpret... and establish ourselves as
competent and resourceful individuals -- stepping down from the
soapbox now -- question everything! 


Stefanie Galgon			lab/message: (520) 523-7735
Department of Biology		
Northern Arizona University	smg4 at

"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death"  
Auntie Mame

On Thu, 8 Jul 1999, Ross Koning wrote:

> As a professor in the CSU system, I was quite
> embarassed by the article that has been mentioned.
> Not only does it reflect badly on ABT but also on
> CSU when faculty at our sister campuses don't
> put their manuscripts out for peer review.
> However, several of the posts about this article
> have indicated that such published articles are
> useless to the teaching profession.  And, while I
> agree that errors make us have to do double-time
> to prevent them multiplying in school systems, there
> IS one use that can be made of this article...
> I recommend sending your college students to the
> library (or reprinting the article with permission)
> to read the article and then submit a list of errors
> of botanical fact that they find in the article.  I
> wouldn't tell them about the letters in later issues
> or the authors' reply to the letters.  This activity
> will get the students to read an article closely, and
> the errors are so obvious and aggregious, that even
> non-majors have a good chance of uncovering many of
> them on-their-own. It also reminds students that
> they shouldn't believe EVERYTHING they read in print.
> You could score the student papers on a numerical scale
> because of the multitude of the errors in the article.
> After allowing this to reinforce the RIGHT ideas, I
> would then point them on to the letters and responses
> published in ABT. Were all of the errors reported?
> Were the reported errors truly errata? You might even
> have the students evaluate the authors' reply.  Then,
> as the editor-in-chief of ABT is also the primary author
> of a MAJOR Botany textbook and is a plant physiologist,
> have the students compose a letter to him about his
> responsibility to ABT and to the science. Finally you
> can have students reflect on the whole situation and
> to figure out what is RIGHT about science when the
> letters are published openly in the same journal.
> I plan to do this in my botany class for majors this
> next spring.  We'll see how it works out.  My take on
> the editor is that he is too busy writing his book on
> Evolution to keep an eye on the day-to-day drudgery of
> finding qualified reviewers for botanical manuscripts
> in the journal. He obviously didn't read the "supermarket"
> manuscript himself...he is a bright guy and knows fruits
> and five-kingdoms (I use his book!), but IMHO he is
> spread too thinly. There is a lesson in that for me too.
> ross
> ________________________________________________________________
> Ross Koning                 | koning at
> Biology Department          |
> Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
> Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479
> ____________________________|___________________________________
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