Teaching soil science: The impact of laboratory and field components on the knowledge and attitude toward soil

Alexander Neaman, Christian Stange, Sarah Zabel, Tatiana M. Minkina, Carolina Yáñez, Elliot Burnham, Siegmar Otto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The concept of attitude toward soil is emerging, with a slim choice of scales available to collect hard data. There is also a dearth of standard scales to acquire precise data on students’ knowledge of soil. Therefore, the objectives of the present study were: (1) to devise appropriate scales to quantify theoretical soil knowledge and attitude toward soil, and (2) to quantify the effect of laboratory studies and fieldwork on students’ theoretical soil knowledge and attitude toward soil. The study is based on data collected from undergraduate students of the introductory soil science course. Participating students were randomly divided into two groups. Teaching of the control group (n = 38) was classroom-based, while teaching of the intervention group (n = 43) was complemented with laboratory studies and fieldwork. Our test design included a pre-test and post-test. It appears that theoretical soil knowledge and students’ attitude toward soil can be improved using classroom-based education alone, without any need for laboratory or field components. However, future studies would be needed to develop questionnaires covering hands-on soil knowledge to better gauge the impact of lab work and field classes on student learning. The present study is an important step to elaborate reliable scales suitable for quantifying students’ knowledge and attitude toward the soil. It is impossible to test academic assumptions or create theoretical foundations for soil science education without a reliable device to weigh analytical concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0210040
JournalRevista Brasileira de Ciencia do Solo
Volume45
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • environmental attitude
  • quantitative analysis
  • scales
  • soil education
  • soil knowledge

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