Understanding Plant Blindness – Students’ Inherent Interest of Plants in Higher Education
Journal of Plant Sciences
Volume 8, Issue 4, August 2020, Pages: 98-105
Received: Aug. 7, 2020;
Accepted: Aug. 20, 2020;
Published: Aug. 31, 2020
Views 42 Downloads 41
Sven Peter Batke, Biology Department, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, United Kingdom
Thom Dallimore, Biology Department, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, United Kingdom
John Bostock, Centre for Learning and Teaching, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, United Kingdom
‘Plant-blindness’ (PB) is the inability to see or notice plants in one’s own environment. There has been growing concerns amongst biologists that PB is becoming an increasing issue in young university students. However, currently we are still lacking detailed quantitative data that would allow us to determine the exact underlying causes for this trend. In order to contribute to our understanding of PB, we aimed to quantify PB in undergraduate university students by deriving a PB score from face-to-face quizzes. A total of 88 undergraduate students in Biology were surveyed. Students were more likely to correctly identify and recognize animals over plants in a series of picture tests. There was a weak positive correlation (p=0.03, r2=0.24) between the students’ awareness of plants in their natural environment and their exposure to plant biology during pre-university schooling. Most students (65.9%) believed that the inclusion of plants within university course contents increased their interest. Within this group, 30.6% indicated that because of this newly developed interest, they have chosen more relevant plant science modules. These results suggest that there is an inherent interest of plants in students surveyed in this study. However, this interest needs to be carefully nurtured throughout their educational progression. We proposed six areas to combat PB.
Sven Peter Batke,
Understanding Plant Blindness – Students’ Inherent Interest of Plants in Higher Education, Journal of Plant Sciences.
Vol. 8, No. 4,
2020, pp. 98-105.
Rosch E, Mervis CB, Gray WD, Johnson DM, Boyes-Braem P. Basic objects in natural categories. CPsy. 1976; 8 (3): 382-439.
Berlin B. Ethnobiological classification: Principles of categorization of plants and animals in traditional societies: Princeton University Press; 2014.
Balding M, Williams KJ. Plant blindness and the implications for plant conservation. Conservation Biology. 2016; 30 (6): 1192-9.
Schussler EE, Olzak LA. It's not easy being green: student recall of plant and animal images. J Biol Educ. 2008; 42 (3): 112-9.
Wandersee JH, Schussler EE. Preventing plant blindness. The American Biology Teacher. 1999; 61 (2): 82-6.
Hershey DR. A Historical Perspective on Problems in Botany Teaching. The American Biology Teacher. 1996; 58 (6): 340-7.
Balas B, Momsen JL. Attention "blinks" differently for plants and animals. CBE life sciences education. 2014; 13 (3): 437-43.
Fančovičová J, Prokop P. Plants have a chance: outdoor educational programmes alter students' knowledge and attitudes towards plants. Environmental Education Research. 2011; 17 (4): 537-51.
Mace GM, Barrett M, Burgess ND, Cornell SE, Freeman R, Grooten M, et al. Aiming higher to bend the curve of biodiversity loss. Nature Sustainability. 2018; 1 (9): 448-51.
Larson LR, Szczytko R, Bowers EP, Stephens LE, Stevenson KT, Floyd MF. Outdoor Time, Screen Time, and Connection to Nature: Troubling Trends Among Rural Youth? Environment and Behavior. 2018; 0 (0): 0013916518806686.
Frisch JK, Unwin MM, Saunders GW. Name That Plant! Overcoming Plant Blindness and Developing a Sense of Place Using Science and Environmental Education. In: Bodzin AM, Shiner Klein B, Weaver S, editors. The Inclusion of Environmental Education in Science Teacher Education. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands; 2010. p. 143-57.
McDonough MacKenzie C, Kuebbing S, Barak RS, Bletz M, Dudney J, McGill BM, et al. We do not want to “cure plant blindness” we want to grow plant love. Plants, People, Planet. 2019; 1 (3): 139-41.
Jose SB, Wu C-H, Kamoun S. Overcoming plant blindness in science, education, and society. PLANTS, PEOPLE, PLANET. 2019; 1 (3): 169-72.
GOV. National curriculum. In: Education Df, editor. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-curriculum: GOV.uk; 2014.
GOV. GCE AS and A level subject content for science. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gce-as-and-a-level-for-science: Department for Education 2014 9th April.
GOV. Statutory guidance - National curriculum in England: science programmes of study https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-science-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-science-programmes-of-study: Department for Eduction 2015 [May 2015].
UKPSF. UK Plant Science: Current status & future challenges. https://www.rsb.org.uk/images/pdf/UK_Plant_Science-Current_status_and_future_challenges.pdf: Society of Biology; 2016.
UCAS. 2018 cycle application figures. https://www.ucas.com/corporate/data-and-analysis/ucas-undergraduate-releases/2018-cycle-applicant-figures-january-deadline: Universities and Colleges Admissions Service; 2018.
CEI, UW. The Uptake of Plant Sciences in the UK - A Research Project. https://www.gatsby.org.uk/uploads/plant-science/reports/pdf/cei-uptake-of-plant-science-in-uk-feb-09.pdf: The Centre for Education and Industry and University of Warwick 2009.
EHU. Edge Hill University code of practice for the conduct of research https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/documents/code-of-practice-for-the-conduct-of-research/: Edge Hill University 2016.
R Developing Core Team. R: a language and environment for statistical computing 3.1.2 ed. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL http://www.R-project.org/. R Foundation for Statistical Computing; 2017.
Landzberg MJ, Gurvitz M. Transition Education: Formative Steps, in Need of Direction. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018; 71 (16): 1778-80.
Kift SM, Nelson KJ, Clarke JA. Transition pedagogy: a third generation approach to FYE: a case study of policy and practice for the higher education sector. The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education. 2010; 1 (1): 1-20.
Shulman LS. Making Differences: A Table of Learning. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. 2002; 34 (6): 36-44.
Carini RM, Kuh GD, Klein SP. Student Engagement and Student Learning: Testing the Linkages*. Research in Higher Education. 2006; 47 (1): 1-32.
Klein SB. Learning: Principles and applications: Sage Publications; 2018.
Sundberg M, Antlfinger AE, Ellstrand NC, Mickle JE, Douglas AW, Darnowski DW. Plant blindness:" We have met the enemy and he is us. Plant Science Bulletin. 2002; 48 (3).
Wandersee JH, Schussler EE. Toward a Theory of Plant Blindness. Plant Science Bulletin. 2001; 47 (1).
Vul E, Nieuwenstein M, Kanwisher N. Temporal selection is suppressed, delayed, and diffused during the attentional blink. Psychol Sci. 2008; 19 (1): 55-61.
LeDoux JE. Chapter 21 - Evolution of human emotion: A view through fear. In: Hofman MA, Falk D, editors. Prog Brain Res. 195: Elsevier; 2012. p. 431-42.
Bennett-Levy J, Marteau T. Fear of animals: What is prepared? BJP. 1984; 75 (1): 37-42.
Karban R, Orrock JL, Preisser EL, Sih A. A comparison of plants and animals in their responses to risk of consumption. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2016; 32: 1-8.
Krüger D, Burmester A. Wie Schüler Pflanzen ordnen. Zeitschrift für Didaktik der Naturwissenschaften. 2005; 11: 85-102.
Pany P. Students’ interest in useful plants: A potential key to counteract plant blindness. Plant Science Bulletin. 2014; 60 (1): 18-27.
Libman K. Growing Youth Growing Food: How Vegetable Gardening Influences Young People's Food Consciousness and Eating Habits. Applied Environmental Education & Communication. 2007; 6 (1): 87-95.
Cameron RWF, Blanuša T, Taylor JE, Salisbury A, Halstead AJ, Henricot B, et al. The domestic garden – Its contribution to urban green infrastructure. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 2012; 11 (2): 129-37.
Patrick BC, Hisley J, Kempler T. “What's Everybody So Excited About?”: The Effects of Teacher Enthusiasm on Student Intrinsic Motivation and Vitality. The Journal of Experimental Education. 2000; 68 (3): 217-36.
Hazel E, Prosser M. First-Year University Students' Understanding of Photosynthesis, Their Study Strategies & Learning Context. The American Biology Teacher. 1994; 56 (5): 274-9.