was team teaching; now FACTS?

Bob Vickery vickery at MPX.COM.AU
Wed Jul 14 02:09:04 EST 1999

jperry at UWC.EDU ("James W. Perry") wrote

>My congratulations to Bill Purves for raising this extremely important
>topic. And I encourage him to use this as a springboard for submitting an
>article to the Botanical Society's Plant Science Bulletin. It deserves a
>full airing to all botanical educators, not only those on Plant-ed.
>Each year I struggle with the issue of concept vs. content. I really WANT
>to reduce the incredible number of facts that I love so dearly, that make
>my life richer for knowing, but which *most* students will not recall past
>more than a few months beyond the end of the term. But where to draw the
>line, ah, there is the $64,000 question.

That is the big question, where to draw the line.  I used to teach an introductory 1 semester course in botany for landscape architecture students.  I thought that the bottom line was teaching them enough botany to be able to talk to nursery-people, and ecologists and to read generalist books so they could go on learning about botany.

Unfortunately, this 'botany as language' approach meant the students had to learn a lot of words.  I tried to cut the number as much as possible, but still ended up with a glossary of 550 words.

I think there is a minimum amount of content that has to be taught in any course.  Teachers should make it clear to the students what the minimum is and should be carefull not to use any more than this in assessments. 

Bob Vickery
vickery at mpx.com.au

More information about the Plant-ed mailing list