Our brains are busy hubs of activity. There is a lot to pay attention to and farms are busy places. Our senses can be on overload – especially if we are not used to being on a farm. Sometimes it can be hard to pay attention to the task at hand or to manage our emotions.
Here are some tips to remember when teaching kids (and adults too):
1. Use positive language, in other words, tell them what you want them to do.
- Wait until the truck is turned off and walk in front of the truck so that Dad can see you coming.
- Get yourself to safety first, if you can, and then call 911.
2. Be specific. Telling kids to “be good” or trainees to “be careful” does not help them to know what that looks like or sounds like.
- You can ride along but you need to stay in your seat and be quiet to listen when someone is talking on the CB radio.
- Pay attention to the power line that crosses the field and open your auger when you are clear of the lines.
3. Be real. Get dirty and do experiments: plant seeds in the sandbox, dig up roots, open pods… And don’t expect every experiment to end in success. It is important to let kids discover what works and what doesn’t. The same is true of adults – that is the whole premise of field trials and research plots. We want to try it for ourselves to see what works. Kid’s experiments can be just for fun, but adult experiments should be more structured and intentional; although there still might be surprises!
- Determine your purpose and focus before you start (minimize input costs, maximize yield, reduce people-power required to complete the task, increase protein, reduce fuel required).
- Set parameters for experiments before you start to minimize risk (physical and financial).
Finally, remember to have fun. Hands-on learning is naturally fun. Remember to let the fun happen. Having a one-on-one lesson in the driver’s seat of the combine is way more interesting than reading about the combine in the manual.
Have Fun &
The best way to learn about how plants grow is to get started and plant a seed.