Research Topic Title: From ‘plant blindness’ to ‘bug blindness’: disseminating an evidence-based pedagogy for plants and refining methodologies in attitudinal research
Plants are essential for the survival of life on Earth, but many people fail to notice plants in the environment or recognise their importance, a phenomenon known as plant blindness. This has led to a ‘green skills gap’ in research and industry, as well as the neglect of plants in education and biodiversity conservation. For my PhD I designed and evaluated a suite of novel approaches for botanical learning, based on the creative arts, digital tools, and memorisation techniques. I considered how these contributed to a theory and practice of learning to address plant blindness, alongside the existing literature. My fellowship broadens this work to encompass attitudes and pedagogies for other categories of biodiversity, particularly invertebrates. Public interest and support for invertebrates is low but, like plants, they are diverse and easy to find and study in urban environments. I am developing a novel methodological approach for measuring attitudes to invertebrates and how these relate to people’s connection to nature. I am also producing a compendium of videos for teachers and outdoor learning practitioners to increase awareness about plant blindness and to promote evidence-based teaching approaches for plants.
Mentor/s: Dr Lindsay Hetherington
Stagg, B.C. (2022). Impactful drama: using mixed methods approaches for the evaluation of drama in science. [Manuscript in press]. In D.McGregor (Ed.), The ESERA Book Series. Learning Science through Drama: Exploring International Perspectives.
Stagg, B.C., & Dillon, J. (2022). Plant awareness is linked to plant relevance: a review of educational and ethnobiological literature (1998 – 2020). Plants People Planet, ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp3.10323
Stagg, B.C., Dillon, J., & Maddison, J. (2022). Expanding the field: using digital to diversify learning in outdoor science. Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research, 4(9). https://doi.org/10.1186/s43031-022-00047-0
Stagg, B.C. (2020). Meeting Linnaeus: improving comprehension of biological classification and attitudes to plants using drama in primary science education. Research in Science & Technological Education, 38(3), 253 – 271. https://doi.org/10.1080/02635143.2019.1605347
Stagg, B. C., & Verde, M.F. (2019). Story of a Seed: educational theatre improves students’ comprehension and attitudes to plants in primary science education. Research in Science and Technological Education 37(1), 15 – 35. https://doi.org/10.1080/02635143.2018.1455655
Stagg, B. C., & Verde, M.F. (2019). A comparison of descriptive writing and drawing of plants for the development of adult novices’ botanical knowledge. Journal of Biological Education 53(1), 63 – 78. https://doi.org/10.1080/00219266.2017.1420683
Stagg, B. C., & Donkin, M.E. (2017). Apps for Angiosperms: the usability of mobile computers and printed field guides for UK wildflower and winter tree identification. Journal of Biological Education 51(2), 123 – 135. https://doi.org/10.1080/00219266.2016.1177572
Stagg, B. C., & Donkin, M.E. (2016). Mnemonics are an effective tool for beginners learning plant identification. Journal of Biological Education 50(1), 24 – 40. https://doi.org/10.1080/00219266.2014.1000360
Stagg, B. C., Donkin, M.E., & Smith, A.E. (2015). Bryophytes for Beginners: the usability of a printed dichotomous key versus a multi-access computer-based key for bryophyte identification. Journal of Biological Education 49(3), 274 – 287. https://doi.org/10.1080/00219266.2014.934900
Stagg, B. C., & Donkin, M.E. (2013). Teaching botanical identification to adults: experiences of the UK participatory science project ‘Open Air Laboratories’. Journal of Biological Education 47(2), 104 – 110. https://doi.org/10.1080/00219266.2013.764341
Contact Details as applicable
LinkedIn: Dr Bethan Stagg