An investigation into horticulture as a prevocational training tool for the E.M.R. student

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

A prevocational horticulture training program for the E.M.R. student enrolled in special education was developed, evaluated, and revised in this study. One E.M.R. special education class, comprised of four male E.M.R. students, participated in the study. The special education teacher, with the assistance of the researcher, executed and evaluated the instructional unit over a ten-week period.

Results of the study, based on a number of assessment procedures, indicated that the horticulture training program was an effective vocational instructional tool. It promoted good social and work attitudes, improved mental and work skills, increased motivation, and promoted a general knowledge of horticulture. Limitations of the study made it difficult to validly determine whether the horticulture instructional unit was the treatment responsible for the significant increase in student job skills' and attitudes' acquisition. In addition, the absence of follow-up studies made it difficult to assess the program's impact on the entry and success of the E.M.R. students into a regular vocational program.

After evaluations and recommendations were made, the instructional unit was revised to produce a usable product, step-by-step horticulture instructional material for the E.M.R. student. The study provides a preliminary framework for further experimental investigation into·the utilization of horticulture as a prevocational training tool for the E.M.R. student.