NEW paper: The Joy of Teaching Soil Science

Posted: December 20, 2013

Hartemink, Alfred E., Megan R. Balks, Zueng-Sang Chen, Patrick Drohan, Damien J. Field, Pavel Krasilnikov, David J. Lowe et al. The fundamental purposes of teaching are to impart knowledge, insight, and inspiration. Around the world, university teaching principles are changing as students also gain knowledge and inspiration in ways other than in the class room. Likewise, the soil science discipline is evolving as there is a new set of tools and techniques available by which we investigate soils, and the foci are shifting toward other disciplines and changing research questions. In many universities, the teaching of undergraduate soil science increasingly takes place to non-soil science majors. All these forces require some thinking about how we teach the subject and here we present some of our experiences and ideas of teaching soil science in different parts of the world. Some 15 examples are presented from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Russia, Taiwan, The Netherlands, and the USA. As the research is widening so is our teaching. The examples are diverse and, despite cultural and personal differences, they show several trends. The cases represent vibrant and creative ways to teach soils, and the initial focus is to create a sense of wonder about the soil and its utilitarian and scientific value.