Using Expressive Writing to Improve Horticultural Education

in HortTechnology

Horticulture students in an entry-level course (plant propagation) and an upper-level course (small fruit crop production) were assigned brief lecture-based writing tasks at the end of each class period. For the first 5 minutes of each subsequent class period, students divided into small groups to discuss their 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 the lecture was resumed. Students collected their task responses in a workbook that they turned in for experimental evaluation at the end of the quarter. When compared to previous and concurrent sections of the same courses, students engaging in the writing tasks more frequently posed questions in class, posed questions of increased complexity, and demonstrated improved ability to perform well on complex exam questions requiring integration and synthesis of information.

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