Overcoming plant blindness in the classroom
How do you engage students that don't like, care about, or want to learn about plants?
I'm new to this community and I'd like to introduce myself and start a discussion on a topic of great interest to me: plant blindness.
If you've never come across the term before, plant blindness is the tendency not to notice plants in an environment which leads to viewpoints such as, "Plants don't do anything," "plants aren't important," and even, "I don't need to learn about plants."
Background: My name is Kate and I'm a Ph.D. candidate studying botanical education research at the University of Memphis in the department of biological sciences. My specific subjects of study are plant blindness and botanical literacy and how they interact, as well as their effect on student attitudes toward plants. I'm currently trying to measure these concepts in college students by designing surveys, and I'm testing out different types of interventions to see if they lower plant blindness and increase botanical literacy.
Question: What are your experiences with plant blindness as a teacher? How could you tell your students were plant blind? How would you suggest engaging with students who are plant blind? I'd love to hear all about your experiences! I've only been teaching for a few years now and I'm still trying to find more ways to get my students interested. I'm limited with what I can go in terms of implementing my own research since I'm a TA and can't just re-design the entire course, or decide to teach something entirely different (or in a different way).
Thanks in advance!