To "Taste Internally'': Ignatian Pedagogy and Service-Learning at the Farmers Market
Using qualitative data drawn from over 300 student reflections, this study explored the influence of the lgnatian pedagogical paradigm (IPP) and project based academic service-learning (ASL) on student learning of introductory statistics. The IIP describes learning as engaging the whole person: to experience the subject matter is to "taste it internally," not only with the intellect, but also with the emotions and the senses. Academic service-learning is a pedagogical strategy that enables students to experience: the: subject matter more deeply by applying course: concepts in a project that benefits the community. The design of the class project described in this study was informed by both pedagogical paradigms. From 2007 to 2017, undergraduate students in an introductory business statistics course conducted a research project in partnership with Seattle's largest farmers market organization. The students used statistical techniques to compare the price and provenance of produce sold in farmers markets to that of produce: sold in nearby grocery stores and cooperatives. In anonymous reflections, 84% of students reported that the project improved their attitudes towards statistics. Textual analysis showed that the positive impact of the project was linked to four factors: relevance, enjoyment, meaning, and understanding. Further analysis demonstrated the effectiveness of the project in deepening student learning and meeting course objectives. On completion of the project, many students expressed the intention to continue their engagement with farmers markets because they had come to see the importance of local farming in building a sustainable food system. Overall, our findings affirm the power of the IPP and ASL to deepen and give meaning to student learning to motivate students to take action based on their learning.