Request for help

sjohnson at sjohnson at
Fri May 4 08:26:14 EST 2001


i abhor the loss of plant biology classes, but equally the loss of 
zoology classes. biologists today are to centered on reductionism 
to realize that it may be at the basis for some loss of majors. the 
work of anton lawson (az state u) and other biology educators 
indicates that the majority of entering college freshmen do not use 
abstract thinking. (i was stunned to learn this, but several papers 
on the topic have convinced me.) lawson's work focuses on 
strategies for raising students to a level of formal operational 
thought. we biologists, on the other hand, are requiring students to 
focus primarily on abstract concepts without providing the 
advanced organizers in organismal biology (which is familiar and 
relevant to most students & to most folks generally!). this is not 
good planning or good thinking. i have heard other ecologists 
bemoan that our work is ignored by policy makers as they 
construct environmental policy. and yet, we're blind to doing the 
same thing by disregarding the work of educators who have 
analyzed the problem.

i don't know what to do about it. i'm writing from a department 
which, in fall 02, will also ditch plant biol - going to a general 
organismal and a cell course for our prerequs. i fear that the 
general organismal will typically be bereft of plant knowledge.

Sandra L. Johnson, Ph.D.
Plant Physiological Ecologist
Middle Tennessee State University
Biology Department     PO Box 60
Murfreesboro, TN  31732

Phone: (615) 898-2021
FAX: (615) 898-5093


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