Gardens as Innovative Learning Contexts

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 20344

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Department of Didactics of Experimental and Social Sciences and Mathematics, Faculty of Education of Soria, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain
Interests: ecology; scientific education; environmental education; curricular sustainability; urban agenda 2030
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Dear Colleagues,

Educational gardens constitute versatile tools that are being used worldwide to accomplish a wide range of purposes, including food education and improvements in food security, promoting academic performance in scientific areas, providing students with outdoor learning experiences at educational centers, influencing environmental attitudes and behaviors, and enhancing social behaviors and skills, among others.

Thus, Garden-Based Learning (GBL) constitutes an emerging field of practice and research in the area of education, which requires the development of curricular products such as teaching–learning sequences to approach, in novel ways, a vast array of topics in the areas of science, food or environmental education. It is also necessary to work on specific assessment tools that allow the evaluation of certain learning aspects. Moreover, follow-up studies are required, which allow evidencing if learning and behavior changes remain, or what type of educational reinforcement would be necessary for their maintenance over time. Finally, the potential of gardens to approach relevant global environmental issues such as climatic change or biodiversity loss is still underused.

Authors are thus encouraged to submit manuscripts corresponding to educational research conducted at learning gardens (including Pre-School, Primary, Secondary, or Higher Education; and also community or urban gardens) regarding the following issues:

  • Gardens as formal and informal educational settings;
  • GBL programs and curricular products contextualized at gardens and related to science education, environmental education, and food education;
  • Assessment and assessment tools for GBL;
  • Promotion of pro-environmental attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge from gardens;
  • Promotion of cooperative learning, participation and inclusion from gardens.

References:

Almers, E., Askerlund, P., & Kjellström, S. (2017). Why forest gardening for children? Swedish forest garden educators' ideas, purposes, and experiences. The Journal of Environmental Education, 49(3), 242–259. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1080/00958964.2017.1373619

Barlett, P.F. (2011), “Campus sustainable food projects: Critique and engagement”, American Anthropologist, Vol. 113 No. 1, pp. 101–115. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1111/j.1548-1433.2010.01309.x

Berezowitz C.K., Bontrager Yoder A.B., & Schoeller, D. A. (2015). School gardens enhance academic performance and dietary outcomes in children. Journal of School Health, 85, 508–518.

Block, K., Gibbs, L., Staiger, P.K., Gold, L., Johnson, B., Macfarlane, S., Long, C. and Townsend, M. (2012), “Growing Community: The Impact of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program on the Social and Learning Environment in Primary Schools”, Health Education & Behavior, Vol. 39 No. 4, pp.419–432. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1177/1090198111422937

Carlsson, L., Williams, P.L., Hayes-Conroy, J., Lordly, D. and Callaghan, E. (2016) “School Gardens: Cultivating Food Security in Nova Scotia Public Schools?”, Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, Vol. 77, pp.119–124. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3148/cjdpr-2015-051

Chawla, L., Keena, K., Pevec, I., & Stanley, E. (2014). Green schoolyards as havens from stress and resources for resilience in childhood and adolescence. Health & Place, 28, 1–13. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1016/j.healthplace.2014.03.001

Cheang, C.C., So, W-M.W., Zhan, Y. and Tsoi, K.H. (2017), “Education for sustainability using a campus eco-garden as a learning environment”, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp.242–262. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1108/IJSHE-10-2015-0174

Collado, S., & Staats, H. (2016). Contact with Nature and Children’s Restorative Experiences: An Eye to the Future. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1–6. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01885

Davis, J.N., Spaniol, M.R. and Somerset, S. (2015), “Sustenance and sustainability: Maximizing the impact of school gardens on health outcomes”, Public Health Nutrition, Vol. 18 No. 13, pp. 2358–2367. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1017/S1368980015000221

Desmond, D., Grieshop, J. and Subramaniam, A. (2004), Revisiting garden-based learning in basic education, International Institute for Educational Planning, Paris.

Diaz, J. M., Warner, L. A., Webb, S., & Barry, D. (2018). Obstacles for school garden program success: Expert consensus to inform policy and practice. Applied Environmental Education & Communication. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1080/1533015X.2018.1450170

Dyg, P.M. and Wistoft, K. (2018), “Wellbeing in school gardens – the case of the Gardens for Bellies food and environmental education program”, Environmental Education Research, Vol. 24 No. 8, pp.1177–1191. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1080/13504622.2018.1434869

Duram, L.A. and Williams, L.L. (2015), "Growing a student organic garden within the context of university sustainability initiatives", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp.3–15. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1108/IJSHE-03-2013-0026

Fisher-Maltese, C., & Zimmerman, T. D. (2015). A Garden-Based Approach to Teaching Life Science Produces Shifts in Students' Attitudes toward the Environment. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 10(1), 51–66. Retrieved from. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1061023.pdf

Galt, R.E., Clark, S.F. and Parr, D. (2012), “Engaging values in sustainable agriculture and food systems education: Toward an explicitly values-based pedagogical approach”, Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 43–54. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.5304/jafscd.2012.023.006

Jagger, S., Sperling, E., and Inwood, H. (2016), “What’s growing on there? Garden-based pedagogy in a concrete jungle?”, Environmental Education Research, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 271–287. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1080/13504622.2014.997195

LaCharite, K. (2016), “Re-visioning agriculture in higher education: the role of campus agriculture initiatives in sustainability education”, Agriculture and Human Values, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 521–535. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1007/s10460-015-9619-6

Laurie, S.M., Faber, M. and Maduna, M.M. (2017), “Assessment of food gardens as nutrition tool in primary schools in South Africa”, South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 80–86. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1080/16070658.2017.1271609

Ohly, H., Gentry, S., Wigglesworth, R., Bethel, A., Lovell, R. and Garside, R. (2016), “A systematic review of the health and well-being impacts of school gardening: Synthesis of quantitative and qualitative evidence”, BMC Public Health, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 286. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1186/s12889-016-2941-0

Ruiz-Gallardo, J.R., Verde, A. and Valdés, A. (2013), “Garden-Based Learning: An Experience With «at risk» Secondary Education Students”, The Journal of Environmental Education, Vol. 44 No. 4, pp. 252–270. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1080/00958964.2013.786669

Smith, L. L., & Matsenbocker, C. E. (2005). Impact of hands-on science through school gardening in Louisiana public elementary schools. HortTechnology, 15, 439–443. Retrieved from: http://vegetableproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Smith-and-Motsenbocker-2005-Impact-of-hands-on.pdf

Schneider, S., Pharr, J., & Bungum, T. (2017). Impact of school garden participation on the health behaviors of children. Health Behavior and Policy Review, 4(1), 46–52.

Van Dijk-Wesselius, J.E., Maas, J., Hovinga, D., van Vugt, M. and van den Berg, A.E. (2018), “The impact of greening schoolyards on the appreciation, and physical, cognitive and social-emotional well-being of schoolchildren: A prospective intervention study”, Landscape and Urban Planning Vol. 180, pp. 15–26. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2018.08.003

Wells, N. M., Myers, B. M., Todd, L.E., Barale, K., Gaolach, B., Ferenz, G., Aitken, M., Henderson , C.H., Tse, C., Pattison, K.O., Taylor, C., Connerly, L., Carson, J.B., Gensemer, A.Z., Franz, N.K, & Falk, E.(2015). The Effects of School Gardens on Children's Science Knowledge: A randomized controlled trial of low-income elementary schools. International Journal of Science Education, 37(17), 2858–2878. doi:10.1080/09500693.2015.1112048

Williams, D.R. and Dixon, P.S. (2013), “Impact of garden-based learning on academic outcomes in schools: Synthesis of research between 1990 and 2010”, Review of Educational Research, Vol. 83 No. 2, pp. 211–235. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3102/0034654313475824

Prof. Marcia Eugenio-Gozalbo
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • learning gardens
  • environmental education
  • science education
  • food education
  • garden-based learning (GBL)

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 331 KiB  
Article
Virtual and Augmented Reality Applied to the Perception of the Sound and Visual Garden
by Amparo Hurtado Soler, Ana María Botella Nicolás and Silvia Martínez Gallego
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(6), 377; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci12060377 - 27 May 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2186
Abstract
The COVID-19 situation has encouraged the creation of ICT-based learning environments. Difficulties in performing activities in a garden setting can be overcome by using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). The aim of this research is to evaluate the usefulness of VR [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 situation has encouraged the creation of ICT-based learning environments. Difficulties in performing activities in a garden setting can be overcome by using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). The aim of this research is to evaluate the usefulness of VR and AR as an educational resource through contextualised sensory experiences in the garden. Eighty-seven trainee teachers took part, and a mixed methodology was used, for the analysis of the sound and visual elements of the garden and for reflection on the usefulness of VR and AR. An interpretive and inferential analysis of the AR-based compositions was carried out and of the drawings of the garden created by the participants after the virtual immersion. The results show a bucolic-pastoral vision of the garden with a predominance of natural elements and a human presence that is respectful of the natural environment. During the immersion, >90% of the participants indicated that the sensations were positive and were able to distinguish natural components from human and/or technological items. The role of VR and AR in enhancing the understanding of content is notable, being, at the same time, tool, resource and content, which reinforces the idea that they can favour the development of teaching and digital competences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gardens as Innovative Learning Contexts)
15 pages, 669 KiB  
Article
School Gardens: Initial Training of Future Primary School Teachers and Analysis of Proposals
by José Orenes Cárceles, Gabriel Enrique Ayuso Fernández, Manuel Fernández-Díaz and José María Egea Fernández
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(5), 303; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci12050303 - 26 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1998
Abstract
This paper describes a training proposal for future teachers in the design, management, and use of school gardens as an educational resource. During the 2020/2021 academic year, future teachers in the 4th grade of Primary Education (last year of the University Degree) received [...] Read more.
This paper describes a training proposal for future teachers in the design, management, and use of school gardens as an educational resource. During the 2020/2021 academic year, future teachers in the 4th grade of Primary Education (last year of the University Degree) received theoretical-practical classes to develop teaching-learning activities in the area of Sciences that they implemented in a Primary school. This training proposal and the research activities designed and implemented in the school garden by future teachers were analysed using three criteria: curricular contents covered, competency richness and structure and content. From the training programme implemented, we highlight an increase in the motivation of students towards learning to use this resource; because it is learned “in situ” in the school garden, it is possible to carry out outdoor work, sharing natural resources through cooperative work and improving relationships. Regarding the design of activities proposed by the future teachers, there is a predominance of the use of observation and classification processes and a deficit of other scientific competences, which implies the need for greater specific initial training on school gardens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gardens as Innovative Learning Contexts)
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14 pages, 1634 KiB  
Article
Do Radishes and Carrots Grow in a Bunch? Students’ Knowledge about the Growth of Food Plants and Their Ideas of a School Garden Design
by Felix Hellinger, Dorothee Benkowitz and Petra Lindemann-Matthies
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(5), 299; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci12050299 - 22 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3361
Abstract
School gardens can be places of biodiversity and suitable learning environments for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). In particular, vegetable patches where students can make their own experiences in food growing are very apt to connect local acting and global thinking, which is [...] Read more.
School gardens can be places of biodiversity and suitable learning environments for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). In particular, vegetable patches where students can make their own experiences in food growing are very apt to connect local acting and global thinking, which is one of the main concerns of ESD. Working in a school garden could be a chance to overcome the lack of perception and knowledge about plants and their life cycles, which is described as “plant blindness”. Concerning the impact of school gardening, studies often investigate teachers’ perspectives only. Therefore, in our study, we focused on students. Participants were mainly fifth and sixth graders in middle and grammar school (mean age 12.3 years, n = 2107). With a paper-pencil test, we investigated their knowledge about the growth of 10 selected crop plants and asked them to rate school garden design elements referring to their importance and suitability for taking over responsibility for nature. In addition, we asked for character traits necessary for a successful school gardener. The results showed that about 40% of the students are convinced that carrots and radishes grow in bunches underground, and nearly 50% thought kohlrabi is growing underground as well. Girls performed better than boys. Increasing age and experience in gardening had a positive effect on the answers. In the students’ opinion, fruit trees, birdhouses, and vegetable patches are the most important elements in school gardens. The liking of nature and patience were highly scored skills for successful school gardening. The influence of experiences in gardening on the answers showed the important role that school gardening could play to gain hands-on knowledge about plant growth and thus offer quality education for every student. This would not only contribute to the reduction of plant blindness but answer the requests of ESD and the goals postulated in the Agenda 2030. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gardens as Innovative Learning Contexts)
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18 pages, 2867 KiB  
Article
Educational Gardens and Climate Change Education: An Analysis of Spanish Preservice Teachers’ Perceptions
by Diego Corrochano, Enzo Ferrari, María Antonia López-Luengo and Vanessa Ortega-Quevedo
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(4), 275; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci12040275 - 13 Apr 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3361
Abstract
Educational gardens are powerful outdoor learning environments to address the subject of climate change and foster climate action. Using an online questionnaire, this study examines the influence of the main sociodemographic and academic factors, and the role of connectedness to nature, on the [...] Read more.
Educational gardens are powerful outdoor learning environments to address the subject of climate change and foster climate action. Using an online questionnaire, this study examines the influence of the main sociodemographic and academic factors, and the role of connectedness to nature, on the perception of educational gardens as contexts of climate change education (CCE) among Spanish preservice teachers (PSTs). The sample consisted of 889 PSTs enrolled in 9 university campuses of Spain. The statistical analyses performed evidenced that women are more likely to use educational gardens than men and that there is a progressive decrease in the positive perception of PSTs about the usefulness of gardens for CCE as the educational level at which they are being trained increases. Statistics also revealed that the variable connectedness to nature and the rating of the importance of educational gardens in CCE are not significantly related. Nevertheless, the Mann–Whitney U test indicated that PSTs who scored higher on connection to nature wished to broaden their knowledge of sustainable agriculture and, thus, connectedness to nature could be considered a predictor of environmental attitudes, each influencing the other. Based on these findings, recommendations for PSTs’ training in the CCE context are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gardens as Innovative Learning Contexts)
14 pages, 936 KiB  
Article
Promoting Enquiry Skills in Trainee Teachers within the Context of the University Ecological Garden
by Lourdes Aragón and Beatriz Gómez-Chacón
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(3), 214; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci12030214 - 17 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1826
Abstract
One of the objectives of science teaching and learning is to achieve quality science education, which involves improving initial teacher training. The use of methodologies that promote learning in science, such as the enquiry-based learning strategy, are encouraged. It is also necessary to [...] Read more.
One of the objectives of science teaching and learning is to achieve quality science education, which involves improving initial teacher training. The use of methodologies that promote learning in science, such as the enquiry-based learning strategy, are encouraged. It is also necessary to provide appropriate contexts that give meaning to the investigation conducted, and arouse the students’ interest. The purpose of this study is to identify the skills related to the enquiry competency that future pre-school teachers acquire after carrying out investigations using the University Ecological Garden as a context. To undertake this study, a non-experimental quantitative methodology was developed based on the application of two instruments: the New Practical Test Assessment Inventory (NPTAI), based on the Practical Test Assessment Inventory, and the trainee teachers’ Enquiry Competency Level (ECL), adapted for the present work. Thirty-seven group reports were analysed and recoded to establish five levels of enquiry competency. A predominance of students with a high level of enquiry competency as opposed to "pre-scientific" and "unscientific" lower levels was observed. The results allowed us to explore the role of the teacher in the monitoring process during the strategy, the context used, and the main difficulties encountered in the implementation of the strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gardens as Innovative Learning Contexts)
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16 pages, 318 KiB  
Article
Introducing Food Sustainability in Formal Education: A Teaching-Learning Sequence Contextualized in the Garden for Secondary School Students
by Marcia Eugenio-Gozalbo, Guadalupe Ramos-Truchero, Rafael Suárez-López, María Sagrario Andaluz Romanillos and Susan Rees
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(3), 168; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci12030168 - 28 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3107
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to assess the impact of a garden-based teaching unit about “Food and Nutrition” on students’ knowledge and habits of sustainable healthy diets, and to compare it with that of a more traditional unit from a textbook. This [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to assess the impact of a garden-based teaching unit about “Food and Nutrition” on students’ knowledge and habits of sustainable healthy diets, and to compare it with that of a more traditional unit from a textbook. This communication is framed in a research project (EDUCYL2020-01 “Sembrando interés, cosechando competencia”, financed by the Consejería de Educación de la Junta de Castilla y León through the Dirección General de Innovación y Formación del Profesorado (ORDEN EDU/262/2020, de 9 de marzo, por la que se convoca la selección de proyectos de investigación educativa a desarrollar por equipos de profesores y equipos de inspectores que presten servicios educativos de la Comunidad de Castilla y León durante los cursos 2020/2021)) whose aim is to improve science education by approaching scientific topics of the official curriculum from a context-based strategy. The authors first designed a teaching-learning sequence, using an organic learning garden as a context, including real-life activities to promote reflection and debate among students. Such a sequence was implemented in a group of 40 students at the third course of Spanish compulsory secondary education, whose results were compared with those of a group of 15 students who followed the textbook. The impact was assessed by posing four open questions to students from the two groups, both at the beginning and the end of the instruction, whose answers were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. Results show that implementing the sequence constituted an educational improvement with respect to traditional teaching, since students’ answers on the topic were overall more comprehensive and evidenced better preparation for making real-life decisions. Students from the experimental group became more aware of the environmental impacts of human nutrition, and of sustainable healthy diets. It was also indicated that the health and nutrition-centered approach that still predominates in education needs to be overcome, and a sustainable approach needs to be taken. This is a novel study that leads a new line of research devoted to addressing education about sustainable food, which arises from the demands of raising awareness among citizens toward changing diets within the transition toward sustainable food systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gardens as Innovative Learning Contexts)

Review

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14 pages, 752 KiB  
Review
Mathematical and Experimental Science Education from the School Garden: A Review of the Literature and Recommendations for Practice
by Lidón Monferrer, Gil Lorenzo-Valentín and María Santágueda-Villanueva
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(1), 47; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci12010047 - 14 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2683
Abstract
The much-needed interest in promoting a healthy lifestyle among school-age students has found a context for development: school gardens. There are numerous studies where using gardens as a teaching–learning context also improves students’ performance in the experimental sciences. In this study, we proposed [...] Read more.
The much-needed interest in promoting a healthy lifestyle among school-age students has found a context for development: school gardens. There are numerous studies where using gardens as a teaching–learning context also improves students’ performance in the experimental sciences. In this study, we proposed another interest that sets it apart and adds motivation: combining curricular mathematics with experimental science content in this context. The search for possible studies in the scientific literature has gave rise to the review presented herein. From this review, we obtained 21 studies, from which we extracted a series of categories: whether research was undertaken and with which tools; which curricular contents were covered and the impact produced; the ages of the participants and duration of the project; and, finally, whether the garden was cultivated. The main conclusion of this search was the lack of a clear line of research linking school gardens, the experimental sciences, and mathematics, in addition to the scant presence of studies framed in this context. For that reason, we send a call to action to the scientific community encouraging the interdisciplinarity of the two aforementioned subjects within the context of school gardens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gardens as Innovative Learning Contexts)
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