Improving Guided School Programs at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens
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The Sarah P. Duke Gardens (SPDG) requested new curriculum, pre- and post- lesson plans for curriculum, and general perceptions of teachers as to the effectiveness of their guided school programs. This master’s project aimed to address all three of these needs. This work is predicated on the view that environmental education in a nonformal setting, such as a field trip, can enhance student learning by allowing students to connect concepts through experiential learning. However, insufficient evaluation exists on the effectiveness of nonformal educational settings within a botanical garden. In this exploratory study, a qualitative data analysis approach was used to 1) develop and evaluate a variety of programmatic educational activities, and 2) evaluate local teachers’ general perceptions of the guided school programs for the Education Program at SPDG. Recommendations from the evaluations included that the Education Program should continue to (1) develop pre- and post-lesson plans, (2) consistently evaluate the guided school programs in the future, (3) disseminate logistical information to classroom teachers prior to the visit, (4) continue to encourage teachers to bring students to SPDG on multiple occasions to reduce the novelty effect, and (5) incorporate evaluations into docent training. The exploratory study conducted here sets a framework to further analyze the effects of nonformal education on student learning within a botanical garden.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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Rights for Collection: Nicholas School of the Environment