Revisiting garden-based learning in basic education

extract from .pdf by Daniel Desmond, James Grieshop, Aarti SubramaniamUNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning

Garden Based Learning (GBL) can be defined simply as an instructional strategy that utilizes a garden as a teaching tool. The pedagogy is based on experiential education, which is applied in the living laboratory of the garden. This simple definition, however, is misleading in that it does not take into account some of the powerful elements of the garden experience. It overlooks the relationship of these experiences to educational reform and to the transformation of contemporary basic education from a sedentary, sterile experience to one that is more engaging of the whole child. It also misses the elements of the garden experience that contribute to ecological literacy and sustainable development. Hopefully we have captured some of these subtler aspects of the practice in the discussion that follows.In our view GBL has the potential to enrich basic education in all cultural settings. The chapters that follow document the contributions in a number of communities around the world. In cases where it is most effective, GBL is a pedagogy that is used with all children. It has something to contribute to each learning style, and to children at each developmental level. It cannot be viewed as a ‘make work’ curriculum for slow learners or socially disenfranchised youth, although it has been shown to be a powerful tool in motivating and educating youth who have been identified with such labels.It is our intention to look at how GBL affects basic education in all of the realms mentioned above. By design and necessity, the review is not comprehensive. It is limited by the number of responses from practitioners and observations by the authors. Nevertheless, these responses and observations do help illustrate how the use of GBL can influence different aspects of basic education. This is not to suggest that all of the influences are positive, or that their impact is significant in all arenas. It is only to point out that the review will comment on the influence of GBL on aspects of basic education including academic skills, personal development, social and moral development, vocational and/or subsistence skills and life skills….download and read entire pdf…

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