Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A&M horticulture professor grows student engagement with unconventional teaching methods

 



http://www.thebatt.com/life-arts/a-m-horticulture-professor-grows-student-engagement-with-unconventional-teaching-methods/article_a21d3a60-1265-11eb-8af5-27a1ce2a651d.html

Professor David William Reed has become renowned among students for his visual teaching style, witty personality, and the unique recipes he shares with his class.

Reed has been at Texas A&M since 1978. He teaches various graduate courses occasionally but has been consistently teaching HORT 201, horticulture science, for years. Students describe him as extremely personable, helping his old and new students with their plant problems.

Reed said he’s been interested in plants ever since taking a plant science course at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, which prompted him to switch his major to plant sciences and agriculture.

“I just really enjoy plants, mostly non-food plants,” Reed said. “My interest has always been in tropical plants and landscaping plants, the plants you grow for pleasure.”

Due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, Reed said he was asked to choose a larger venue to teach in for the semester. As a basketball fan, Reed said he was delighted at this unforeseen opportunity to teach in Reed Arena.

“They offered me three places to teach: Rudder Auditorium, Kyle Field and Reed Arena, and I said I picked Reed Arena,” Reed said. “Why? Because it's a flippin’ basketball stadium. How many people get to teach in a basketball stadium?”

Reed, a Louisiana native, also dabbles in Cajun and camp cooking. He said he has a website featuring his recipes and was even featured on a show about the innovative ways people cook with fire on the Cooking Channel.

“I have a recipe page, with all my South Louisiana recipes and I’ve been on the show ‘Man Fire Food,’” Reed said. “They filmed me showing how I roast a whole pig.”

Renewable natural resources senior Jose Miguel Pineda said Reed is a fun professor who always brings a lot of energy to class.

“It’s a lot easier to learn in his class when he’s able to keep our attention with all of his gags,” Pineda said.

Business freshman Elissa Chauncey said Reed’s teaching methods are highly visual and contribute to keeping the attention of his students.

“I believe Professor Reed does an amazing job at keeping students engaged even through Zoom,” Chauncey said. “He often brings different plants to lecture, sometimes comically large ones, and uses all sorts of visual aids.”

Forestry junior Garrett James said Reed is an exhilarating professor, and he would recommend him to students who are looking to take any sort of plant-related course.

“He has made each topic interesting this semester, especially when he does his demonstrations to help us visually understand things,” James said. “He’s easy to follow and anyone who takes his HORT 201 class will really enjoy it.”

Chauncey said Reed's desire to see his students learn and succeed is evident in the way he teaches and makes himself available to students.

“Professor Reed really cares about students understanding the material rather than just memorizing it,” Chauncey said. “He’s truly a great professor.”

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