USING EXPRESSIVE WRITING TO IMPROVE HORTICULTURAL EDUCATION

in HortScience

Horticulture students in an entry-level course (Plant Propagation) and an upper-level course (Small Fruit Crop Production) were assigned brief writing tasks at the end of each class period based upon that day's lecture. Student writing was intended to be expressive in nature, i.e., for the author's use only. For the first five minutes of each class period, students divided into small groups to discuss possible responses to the previous day's task and to generate questions related to the task topic. The class then reconvened as a whole for a question-and-answer session before lecture was resumed. Students collected their writings in a workbook which they turned in for experimental evaluation only at the end of the quarter. When compared to previous and concurrent sections of the same courses, students engaging in the writing tasks asked more numerous and thoughtful questions in class and demonstrated increased ability to perform well on complex exam questions requiring integration and synthesis of information.

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