Emergent learning opportunities in an inner-city youth gardening program

Authors

  • Jrene Rahm

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Northern Colorado, College of Education, Department of Educational Psychology, 501 20th St., Greeley, CO 80639-0084
    • University of Northern Colorado, College of Education, Department of Educational Psychology, 501 20th St., Greeley, CO 80639-0084.
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Abstract

An emphasis on doing science calls for rich descriptions of the kind of science that gets done in such informal educational contexts as science museums and science-focused after-school and summer programs. Described in this article is a study of an inner-city youth gardening program and of the kinds of learning opportunities that it supported and that emerged from youth-initiated actions and talk. In particular, there is an examination of the ways in which the garden environment and the experiential nature of the program gave support to the emergence of learning opportunities, while also making connections possible among science, community, and work. The description emphasizes the value of a science that emerges from participants' engagement in activities they deem valuable, meaningful, and authentic. In essence, the results of the study show that informal educational programs that do not have science as their primary goal may provide important insights into the development of learning communities in the classroom. The study highlights the educational value of a school science practice that is driven by its consumers, rather than being imposed on them, and that provides opportunities for the integration of science, work, and community. © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 39: 164-184, 2002

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