was team teaching; now FACTS?

David Hershey dh321 at excite.com
Thu Jul 15 17:54:35 EST 1999

I think students, especially nonmajors, are often required to memorize a
lot of trivial details that they quickly forget after the exam. There
are important concepts that are worthwhile for students to remember so
they know what to look for when they run into that situation. For
example, the concept that plant growth is often greatly affected by soil
pH is very useful for anyone growing a lawn, a vegetable garden,
landscape plants, houseplants, or plants for teaching and research. You
can always look up the details on soil pH effects but knowing that soil
pH has important effects is fundamental and useful knowledge to retain.

A lot of what is in botany texts is there because of tradition and a lot
is of questionable importance for nonmajors, and even majors, to commit
to memory. A lot of plant disciplines, such as plant pathology, get very
little mention in a lot of introductory texts. A lot more useful
information is often displaced by traditional facts. I always thought
the whole monocot versus dicot comparison was given too much emphasis.
It's easy to ask students exam questions on monocot versus dicot but of
what value is that information in the real world? I've never heard even
the most dedicated gardener say "My your monocots look lovely today."
The few practical aspects of knowing the difference between monocots and
dicots, such as grafting, aren't usually emphasized.

David Hershey
dh321 at excite.com  

Bill Purves wrote:
> >On July 9th, Bill Purves wrote:    "I'm not a believer in
> >>having the accumulation of specific facts be the point of a course.
> >>Put a nickel in me, and I'll bore you to tears explaining why
> >>I think there is virtually NOTHING specific anybody needs to know
> >>at the undergraduate level."

More information about the Plant-ed mailing list