Let’s dive deep into how to enhance and improve garden classes. A considerable number of educational establishments have their own gardens, but the students still feel left out or not very engaged with their gardening lessons.
Why? Most commonly, teachers and tutors haven’t explored how to conduct such a class properly, so the general attitude toward the classes both from the teacher and the students is less than optimal. We’ve decided to cover aspects where the gardening classes go wrong and created this list of valuable tips for gardening tutors.
1. Rules, rules, rules
Although the garden looks nothing like a typical room for classes, you still should put in place a clearly defined set of rules for students to follow. This way, you’ll diminish the amount of chaos that can ensue and know what to expect from students generally.
Some of the rules include walking only on pre-existing paths, using the gardening tools only for their intended purpose, sharing the garden ground and tools, etc. Just don’t go overboard with the rules, so as not to discourage students from participating. Remember that the gardening class shouldn’t confine to the usual definitions of in-school classes.
2. Create New, Convenient Paths
After you put in place some rules, you should encourage student exploration and experimentation. This is not possible to do in a garden where there are no paths. You have to accommodate the students and lay through some convenient paths so that students could easily access planting areas and growing vegetation.
Additionally, creating paths will prevent students from creating their own. Paths will reinforce the instilled rules and facilitate safe and supervised exploration – a win-win situation!
3. Lead the Horticulture Process Properly
Guiding lessons in a classroom and keeping tabs on every student isn’t an easy task. The difficulty of doing these things spikes up really high during a gardening class. You can’t possibly keep every student insight, there are relatively dangerous tools available to students, and every student needs your attention and direction. So, how would anyone handle such a situation?
Because the garden is a different environment than a classroom, you’ll have to prepare a bit differently before this class. First of all, you need to show what to do and how to do it. Here, there is no need to be one of the greatest essay writers ever, because, at that moment, your example will be more important rather than your explanation. Gather the students in a group and repeat a couple of times in front of them what you want them to do.
After you’ve shown the students the required activity enough times, you’ll need to manage their work smartly. But how to do it quickly? Separate the students into small groups and use flour to show where each group needs to plant/weed. This way, no student will need to come to you and ask how far should they go and how much should they do.
4. Prepare Additional Activities
Additionally, it would be best if you recognized that different students would finish with different timings: some will complete the tasks quickly, some will do it slowly. Instead of letting the students do whatever they like, set aside before the class starts various types of soil for them to explore. Thanks to this, you won’t need to keep an eye on the students that have finished earlier because you’ll know where they are and what they are doing.
5. It’s Not a Traditional Lesson
It would help if you remembered that there is no great need to integrate lots of learning into the gardening class. Sure, you can explain why we weed gardens, why we water the plants, and how vegetation grows, but you shouldn’t go too much into the details, and you especially shouldn’t constantly quiz them about every little detail that comes up during the class.
No, that won’t do. Gardening class is a very different experience in regular classes, and they’re supposed to be that way. Doing horticulture in school is a great way to introduce students to the way that we can physically influence the world around us. Additionally, the research has shown that gardening classes make students more relaxed and alleviate their school anxieties. So, you definitely don’t want to turn the gardening class into another annoying subject.
Gardening Class Isn’t the Place for Innovation
These classes have a relatively established history and methodology of teaching. There are numerous resources available online regarding leading a gardening class, so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Just try to make it an enjoyable experience for the students.