What is a Field School?
The term “Field School” was first used in the National Program for Integrated Pest Management (PHT) as an approach that is well-known at that time called the “FFS”. Field School approach was created and developed starting in 1989 by the Department of Agriculture personnel who trained as field guides in collaboration with the Technical Assistance Team-FAO, within the framework of the National PHT Program.
The form of Field School is a “school without walls”, so the classroom library at the same time, is the wetland itself. Field School participants gather once a week for one season (12-14 weeks) to follow and analyze the development of their crops, phase-by-phase. Simultaneously they explore various principles associated with the development of crops such as insect population dynamics, physiology and crop compensation, maintenance of soil fertility, water and weather influences, variety selection, etc., through experiments in their own. In addition to the main activities, a series of activities (special topics) conducted in accordance with the particular problems faced in each place. Which always appears at the Field School is an active role as a principal farmers, researchers, guides, and land managers who are experts. Material “human development” is no less important to the science of agriculture in the administration of the Field School, as reflected in the planning, group dynamics and so on.
The emergence of Field School approach pattern is based on two main challenges are interrelated, ie the local ecological diversity and the role of farmers who have to be “experts” in their own land. From the beginning of the Field School is not just a new methodology, but rather returned to the meaning of “school” is actually as a place for participants to actively master and practice the process of creation of knowledge. The learning process in the Field School is closely related to the view of human nature as living beings who are always active and creative ‘thirst’ will be understanding about the meaning and purpose of life.
The Field School pattern is designed such a way that farmers learning opportunities open as wide as possible for farmers to interact directly with their reality, and finds its own science and principles contained within.
Thus, the pattern of the Field School education is not simply “learn from experience”, but rather a process to which all learners are adults, able to master a process of “discovery science” that is dynamic and can be applied in the management of agricultural land as well as in everyday life. This is important, because today is loaded with elements of change. It is expected that the Field School can be tough to prepare farmers who are able to face the current dynamics and future challenges.
The characteristics of the Field School in general, are as follows:
- Rice fields as a Means of Learning Primary School Field. Skills of agriculture and ecological-organic diversification of the rice plant is applied skills. Therefore, nearly 80% of the total time used directly in the fields, not in the classroom
- Experiences based Learning. Each activity begins with appreciation or direct observation, and disclosure experiences, assessment results, and the inference results. Learning cycle is cultivated in every field school activities
- Assessment of Agro-ecosystem. School field patterned on the weekly cycle in which every element of agro-ecosystems studied systematically and deeply. It is based on the consideration that, the changes state of the agro-ecosystem of paddy quite different among one week to another week. Each end of the week the state of the agro-ecosystem as a whole are prepared for assessment and land management decisions next week. This cycle resembles the principle of weekly monitoring will be implemented at the farm level and familiarize trainees to stay abreast of their fields for one season, from land preparation to post harvest.
- Methods and Materials Practical and Appropriate. Each field school activities, along with supporting materials, are designed so that can be applied directly by the farmers in the village. Thus the skills and experience gained will be the provision that participants possessed, which is easily transferred to the day-to-day duties at the village level.
- Required Skills Based Curriculum. The curriculum is designed on the basis of the analysis of field skills that need to be owned by a farmer to become an expert in organic and ecological agriculture-rice crop diversification, so that farmers truly understand and can apply them in their own land, and pass them on to other farmers. In addition to the skills and technical knowledge of agriculture, participants also gain skills in planning, teamwork, group dynamics, development of learning materials, as well as communication, so that they can be a facilitator who is able to stimulate and assist farmer groups effectively.
How Field School Implemented?
A. Field School Preparation phase
Preparation activities include the selection of village location of activities, determination of farmer groups, farmer groups and meetings. The selection of villages is to determine the location of the village proper for the execution of the field school. The determination of farmer groups to determine which groups will conduct a field school.
While the farmer group meeting is an attempt to obtain a number of listed 25 active participants and about the time of the commencement of the implementation of the agreement, the activities, the location of the land of learning, a place of learning, subject matter, and others related to the implementation of the field school.
B. Field School Implementation Phase
At this stage is an ongoing learning process participants periodically (weekly) in accordance with the situation and condition of land, for a full growing season (14 sessions). In order to secure the quality of the field school activities carried out in the morning, at least 6 hours effectively. Here are general guidelines every meeting schedule:
|07.00 – 07.15||15′||The agreement of the results to be achieved that day|
|07.15 – 08.00||45’||Field work and observation of agro-ecosystems|
|08.00 – 09.00||60’||Drawing state agro-ecosystems|
|09.00 – 10.00||60’||Small group discussions (analysis process)|
|10.00 – 10.30||30’||Plenary discussion (Presentation / exposure conclusions and decisions each small group)|
|10.30 – 10.45||15’||Break (Lunch)|
|10.45 – 11.15||30’||Group Dynamics|
|11.15 – 11.45||30’||Special Cases|
|11.45 – 12.00||15’||Evaluation of the results of the day’s achievement|
|*The time can be adjusted with the agreement of participants|
1. Field work and observation of agro-ecosystems.
Before observation of agro ecosystem, each small group doing field work in each study plot, for example doing sanitation, water management, weeding, and so on.
By the time observation of agro-ecosystems, each small group observing a predetermined plot. There are 3 types of plots each measuring a minimum of 500-1000 square meters must be observed, namely: local treatment is the treatment plots habits of local farmers; remedial treatment plots (plots ‘thinkers’ or school field plots) and plots of land to carry out the study as experiments to address the problems faced.
In order for each small group to understand the development of agro-ecosystems, they make observations in both treatments, ie local treatment plots and plot improvement. While the plot of observation of in the study conducted in accordance with the topic being studied. As for the settings observations can be carried out as follows:
|Small Group||Repair Plots||Local Plots||Study Plot|
Thus each small group (5 people) observing the three practice plots. In a small group discussion is the observation plots than ‘thinkers’ and farmers’ plots treated. While the studies discussed plot development results.
The elements observed include: state of the plant, insect pests, natural enemies of insects, aquatic insects, flying insects, symptoms of damage, soil conditions, water conditions, weather conditions, the state of weeds, and the circumstances surrounding plantings that can affect the condition of the agro-ecosystem land learning. Examples of damaged crops, insect pests and natural enemies are not yet known by the farmers brought to the discussion.
2. Drawing agro-ecosystems.
Agro ecosystem image is a picture of a crop, pests, natural enemies, and other organisms, the physical environmental conditions at the time of observation of and treatment of farmers who’ve done before. Each small group made two drawings of agro-ecosystems in the state of the paper, the treatment and the treatment of farmers ‘thinkers’. In the figure should have been clear differences of the two study plots. The depiction include:
- Picture of complete plants (with an average number of stems / clump), punctuated by the use of colors that are nearly exact circumstances including the presence of plant color abnormalities.
- Picture of insect pests and plant population on the left, write the name of the type and number of insects.
- Picture of the population of natural enemies on the right plant, write the name of the type and amount of these natural enemies.
- Pictures of the symptoms of disease, lack of nutrients.
- Pictures state of soil moisture, weather: for example, when light draw the sun, when the sun draw partly cloudy cloudy, overcast draw when the cloud (on the upper right side), and the state of the weeds.
- Pictures of local treatment he had done (fertilizing, spraying, weeding).
3. Small Group Discusion.
Intended to assess agro-ecosystem systematically and deeply so it can be concluded from agro-ecosystem conditions at the time as a basis for management decisions subsequent agro-ecosystems. In small group discussions, it can be done a comparative analysis between the local treatment plot and treatment improvement (plots ‘thinkers’).
To maintain the quality, then small group discussion takes a special, separate the depiction process. In each small group one of its members acted as the questioner (rotating every week) using image agro-ecosystems that have been made jointly. Other members to answer any questions asked by the questioner. Questions raised crops adapted to the phase at that time. In general, small group discussions include the following:
- WHAT: What is found in the observation of, both in the form of the type and number of insect pests, natural enemies, other organisms, damage or abnormalities of the growth of plants, and others.
- WHERE: Where is found, or in any part of the things that have been found in earlier observation of.
- WHY: Why no activity of insect pests, natural enemies, other organisms when found, why the numbers are much, why damage or abnormal plant growth that happens, why it is at the particular plant, and others.
- HOW: How relationships pests, natural enemies and the current crop observation of, what is the role of other organisms, how the implementation of decision-making, as well as how its prospects in the future.
4. Plenary discussion.
A plenary discussion stages separate activities with small group discussions. Done in small groups combined. In the plenary discussion of each representative of a small group briefly describe observations, conclusions, and decision of his group. If there is a discrepancy between the conclusions and decisions of small groups, need to be discussed together so that all the small groups to gain an understanding of these differences. Furthermore, each small group to follow up his decision. After the plenary discussion, the image is stored as an ingredient to see the development of the next meeting.
5. Special topics.
Specialized topics studied in each meeting are selected based on the local main problems faced by the farmers at the time. If at the time of the meeting does not face the problem, then it is given a special topics appropriate to the phase of plant growth.
To support the understanding of the participants, then in each specific process needs clarity topic title, clarity of purpose and clarity of the steps that will be performed by the participants. Specific topics can be selected according to the needs of farmers.
6. Group Dynamics.
This activity is intended to foster cohesiveness and enthusiasm of participants in the study (dynamic atmosphere). The material selected group dynamics in accordance with the conditions of the group at that time.
7. Special Studies.
In order for the field school participants understand the concepts, principles, and technology of organic farming and diversification of rice plants correctly, then it should be given support in the form of a special study material in nature: a practical, simple (done a few clumps), easy to implement, a relatively short time, and can quickly answer the problems of farmers at that time. Special studies can be conducted in accordance with the problems faced by local farmers.
8. Farmers’ practice implementation at their farm lands.
After completion of the study, participants are expected to immediately put into practice the knowledge and skills on their farm land.
C. Spreading Ideas and Promotions Phase
At the end of the field school activities, participants held a meeting today during the field day. This event was organized to disseminate the results of the field school participants learned to other farmers in his village and other stakeholders such as the government of the village, district, or county. Its main agenda is to deliver learning outcomes and experiences, discussions, exhibits learning outcomes, and other events that can support this forum as art events, competitions, and so on.
This post is also available in: Indonesian