Lessons Learned at Spring Brook Farm An Evaluation of the Farms For City Kids Program

Quantitative Summary of Teacher Surveys

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Quantitative Summary of Teacher Surveys

Also of interest is an analysis of teacher and student surveys from a quantitative perspective, using the means of teacher responses as a way of gauging the perceived strength of an impact relative to other impacts. The first section of the teacher survey consisted of 17 scaled items asking teachers to rate their level of agreement with statements about the impacts they observe on students.

The means of the responses are presented in the table below, in descending order of teachers’ agreement with the statements (i.e., the first statement listed is the one with which the teachers agreed the most, and so forth.)

Teacher survey questions listed in order of agreement

35 teacher surveys

(1=Strongly Disagree 2=Tend to Disagree 3=Tend to Agree 4=Strongly Agree)

Mean Response

The farm program helped my students learn how to cooperate more with each other.


My students learned the value of teamwork at the farm program.


My students' sense of pride in themselves increased while they were at the farm.


My students demonstrated more self-confidence in positive ways after the farm program than they had before.


I appreciate my students more since going to the farm with them.


My students got along with each other better after the farm program than they did before they went.


Because of their experience at the farm, my students were more likely to help each other.


My students showed more respect for each other after the farm program than they did before.


My students' willingness to take on new things increased as a result the farm program.


My students were more cooperative with me after the farm program than they were before they went.


The farm program helped my students become more accepting of their classmates' differences. (i.e. skills, opinions, backgrounds)


My students improved at handling disagreements with each other while at the farm.


My students resolved conflicts better as a result of the farm experience.


My students listened to me more because of our farm experience together.


My students demonstrated greater self-control after the farm program than they did before.


The farm program did not seem to change my students' ability to work successfully in teams. (This and the question below were negatively worded)


After the farm program my students tended to take less responsibility for their actions.


Grouping related responses suggested that teachers rank these impacts of the farm program as follows (note that these responses are presented from greatest to weakest, accordingly):

1. Improved cooperation and teamwork

2. Increased self-esteem and self-confidence

3. Improved relationships between students

4. Improved student-teacher relationships

5. Improved conflict resolution skills

Summary of Findings: Teacher and Student Surveys

The weeklong experience at Spring Brook Farm had numerous positive impacts on the students who participated. Themes emerging from both student and teacher surveys suggest many laudable outcomes of the program. Both teachers and students made a strong case that spending an intensive week working and living together with a common purpose resulted in many changes to the social dynamic among students, and between students and teachers. Improvements to the social dynamic among students included:

  • Increased individual friendships

  • Group bonding

  • Social mixing and greater acceptance of others

  • Greater teamwork and cooperation

  • Greater respect for each other

Teachers reported feeling a greater appreciation for their students after the trip, as well as receiving more respect and cooperation from their students. The students reported having a greater affinity for, deeper personal connections with, and an improved sense of respect for their teachers.

Teachers and students also reported on improvements to students’ conflict resolution skills. These improvements to the social dynamic appeared to lead to a better classroom climate back at school. Many students experienced other types of meaningful personal growth while at the farm, including:

  • Increases to self-confidence and self-esteem

  • Greater willingness to try new things

  • Greater compassion for animals and each other

It was also noteworthy that students who had not previously achieved social or academic success were often the students who made the most improvement at the farm. Other lesser reported impacts included broadened horizons, agricultural and environmental awareness, increased personal responsibility, and behavioral improvements.

In summary, the week long program at Spring Brook Farm has many important impacts on the students who participate, especially in the realms of personal and social skills. These should not be regarded as the only impacts of the program, but are reported on here as a result of the focused survey design. Perhaps most notably, student expressed great pride in their achievements and newly discovered abilities, and often reported that these gains in self-confidence and self-esteem translated effectively into the students’ lives after the farm. Many of the teachers surveyed have been taking students to Spring Brook Farm for years. According to these teachers’ observations, the impacts described above stay with students for years following the program’s completion.

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