Executive Summary:

Education Committee & Teaching Section of the Botanical Society of America

Three major guidelines should serve to focus educational activities of plant scientists as we move into the next century. First, all plant scientists must become actively concerned and involved in botanical education at some level. It is imperative, especially at the K-12 level, that scientists get involved at the grass roots level. Outreach is important, but every effort should be made to empower the classroom teachers rather than take over a class from them. At the collegiate level, educational activities should be given equal status as research activities. Second, science as process must become the cornerstone for building a framework of botanical knowledge at all levels of instruction. We must work to develop and distribute appropriate hands-on laboratory activities appropriate for every level of instruction, beginning in the elementary grades and carrying through to college. We must support workshops to train teachers, at all levels, to emphasize scientific processes and critical thinking skills over rote memorization of information. Third, plant scientists must take a broader perspective to improving science education in general. Science does not sit in a vacuum nor is plant science separate from the other sciences. We must develop and maintain bridges among the disciplines and work to make botanical instruction relevant to everyday life. It is particularly important to develop networks with museums, garden clubs, and similar groups that provide informal educational programs to the public.

Section Committee:

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