14 SES 01 A, Aspects of Place-based Education I
Parallel Paper Session
A research-based evaluation of the organic school garden programme ‘Haver til Maver’ [Gardens to Stomachs] in Denmark focuses on:
- Observation of what and how the pupils learn, and whether they can use what they have learned about farming, gardening and cooking outside the ‘Haver til Maver’ setting
- Do the teachers organise lessons that take into account the type of learning processes that develop the pupils’ subject relevant concepts based on their experiences?
- The extent to which ‘Haver til Maver’ can be integrated into school subjects: Do the pupils learn to understand and explain why and what happened in the garden and the outdoor kitchen? Can they relate this knowledge to other concrete actions or abstract concepts?
The evaluation shows that the concept “Haver til Maver” presents a number of specific applications within a natural environment setting. Consequently, it also offers a variety of possibilities regarding differing perceptions of food, ingredients and good taste, as well as offering a number of different options for pupils. Additionally, ‘Haver til Maver’ offers tools and professional competencies (as farmer, nature guide, gardener and chef) which can support the pupils in their active participation in an outdoor learning programme and relate to their inquisitiveness, experiences and actions.
Hereby the evaluation confirms the knowledge concerning competence development and outdoor learning that is already reported (Bentsen et al, 2010; Bentsen et al., 2008; Blair, 2009; Bowker & Tearle, 2007; Hoffman et al., 2007; Rickinson et al., 2004), but, nonetheless, affirms a Danish example of an unusual combination of nature, gardens, food and culture.
Besides the significant learning outcome, teachers, pupils and parents report a central significance of the outdoor education programme: that dedicated teaching in an outdoor learning environment provides good conditions for stimulating the desire to participate and learn among pupils in primary schools – irrespective of gender, social background or grade.
A fundamental problem in both teaching and didactic theory is how to motivate pupils to learn and to learn what is intended in school subjects. The empirical analysis of “Haver til Maver” can, not say anything about the pupils’ motivation to learn or the level of learning achieved in the school subjects; however, the evaluation does show a number of indicators that the relation between experience and action in a natural setting can pave the way for a unique level of commitment among teachers and pupils. This particular learning environment systematically links dedicated teaching together with experience and actions through values, impressions, aesthetics and love semantics.
Research question: What reasonable explanation can be given of the observed motivation and learning attributes?
The general objective of this paper is to explore the observed motivation and learning attributes in a clarifying manner that can implicate best practise from the learning environment. The purpose is to illuminate some of the empirical findings and provide possible explanations about the pupils’ desire to learn, based upon a systems-theoretical interpretation of experience-based teaching and a communication of passion.
Andersen, N.Å. & Born, A.W. (2001). Kærlighed og omstilling. Italesættelsen af den offentlige ansatte. Copenhagen: Nyt fra samfundsvidenskaberne [in Danish]. Bentsen, P., Jensen, F.S., Mygind, E. & Randrup, T.B. (2010). The extent and dissemination of outdoor learning in Danish schools. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 9(3), 235-43. Bentsen, P., Mygind, E. & Randrup, T.B. (2008). Towards an understanding of outdoor learning: Education outside the classroom in a Danish context. Education 2-13, 37(1), 29-44. Blair, D. (2009). The Child in the Garden: An Evaluative Review of the Benefits of School Gardening. The Journal and Environmental Education, 40(2), 15-38. Bowker, R. & Tearle, P. (2007). Gardening as a learning environment: A study of Children’s perceptions and understanding of school gardens as part of an international project. Learning Environments Research, 10(2), 83-100. Hoffman, A.J, Morales Knight, L.F. & Wallach, J. (2007). Gardening activities, education and self-esteem: Learning outside the classroom. Urban Education, 42(5), 403-11. Klemmer, C.D., Waliczek, T.M. & Zajicek, J.M. (2005). Growing Minds: The effect of a School Gardening Program on the science Achievement of Elementary Pupils. HortTechnology, 15(3), 448-52. Luhmann, N. (1986). Love as passion. The codification of intimacy. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Luhmann, N. (1995) Social systems (Bendarz, J. & Baecker, D., Trans.) Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Mygind, E. (2009). Comparison of Children’s Statements about Social Relations and Teaching in the Classroom and in the Outdoor Environment. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 9(2), 151-69. Rickinson, M.M, Dillon, J., Teamey, K., Morris, M., Young Choi, M., Sanders, D. & Benefield, P. (2004). A review of Research on Outdoor Learning. Shrewsbury, UK: National Foundation for Educational Research. Wistoft, K., Otte, C.R., Stovgaard, M. & Breiting, S. (2011). Haver til Maver. Et studie af engagement, skolehaver og naturformidling. Copenhagen: Århus University Department of Education [in Danish].
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