HomeThe Asia-Pacific Education Researchervol. 11 no. 2 (2002)

Are Students Acquiring Conceptual Competence from Their Classes? A Qualitative Study of Agriculture Science Students' Understanding of Ecologically Unsound Agricultural Practices

Rotacio Gravoso | Toshiaki Mori

Discipline: Education, Agriculture



This study aimed to examine students' understanding of ecologically unsound agricultural practices commonly used by farmers. More specifically, this study investigated students' conceptions of farmers' practice of heavy pesticide spraying and excessive inorganic fertilizer application. Data were gathered from 81 junior and senior college students in three agricultural schools in the Philippines. From the case on how farmers apply pesticide and inorganic fertilizer in their chrysanthemum farms, students 'were asked whether or not the practices cause environmental problems and to justify their position. Written answers were analyzed using the phenomenographic analysis and the structure of observed learning outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy. Overall results showed that students' understanding was still poor, undeveloped, and contradictory to the scientific accounts. Findings suggest the need to use teaching-learning methods that provide students with an opportunity to reflect their own meanings and interpretations to enable them to change their conceptions.