Student discussions included in Nursery Management I (Hort 4041) promote intellectual conflict and, hence, improve critical thinking skills. In these discussions students are offered two viewpoints regarding subjects important to the nursery industry. After writing a short, literature based paper that supports both viewpoints and suggests compromises, students meet in preassigned groups to discuss cohesive ways to defend one of the viewpoints. Groups then present their arguments to the class. Final exams showed that students performed better on test questions based on information attained primarily through discussions, rather than on test sections based on information gained primarily through lectures. Students' comments on the discussion format were generally positive in their written evaluations of the course.
critical thinking skills, nursery management