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Factors Influencing Decisions About Teaching Five Major Factors Purposes and Objectives Clientele Taught Organization and Content of Subject Matter Principles of Teaching and Learning Knowledge and Skill of the Teacher Objectives of Instruction

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Factors Influencing Decisions About Teaching

Five Major Factors

Purposes and Objectives

Clientele Taught

Organization and Content of Subject Matter

Principles of Teaching and Learning

Knowledge and Skill of the Teacher


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Objectives of Instruction

  • Develop Avocational and Practical Arts Interests, Knowledge, and Skills

  • Provide Exploration of and Orientation to Occupations in a Specific Area. Example: Student thinks they want to go into landscape design

  • Develop Knowledge and Skill for Occupational Competence

  • Prepare for More Advanced Study

Objectives

1.

2.

3.

4.


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Objective: Avocational Interests

  • Sometimes students enroll in agricultural education for reasons other than to prepare for careers in agriculture. Perhaps they just want to know more about agriculture or one of its major components: horticulture, wildlife, natural resources, livestock, etc.

  • They may not have any intention of preparing for a career in agriculture.

  • While programs will likely have some students that fit into this category, this should not be the primary focus of agricultural education programs.


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Objective: Career Exploration

  • It is a myth to believe that high school students know what they want to do with their lives after graduation! Yet, we sometimes operate schools (tracking) as if they do.

  • Some students will enroll in agricultural education courses to explore--they want to find out if this career area is right for them.

  • This could be the largest percentage of students in the program--at least initially.

  • Career exploration often leads to career preparation


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Objective: Occupational Competence

  • Some students enroll in agricultural education because they know they want to enter a career in agriculture.

  • May occur primarily in upper level courses.

  • These students are more interested in skill development.

  • Important to emphasize the underlying rationale for agricultural practices--not just the steps to follow. This is the difference between education and training.


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Objective: Advanced Study

  • Some students enroll in agricultural education courses, not because they want to enter agricultural occupations immediately after graduating from high school, but because they want to enter careers in agriculture that required postsecondary education.

  • Secondary agricultural education provides the foundation for their advanced study in agriculture.

  • Note: While this may not be the objective of students who plan to go directly into the workforce, we should promote continuing education. Agricultural careers are increasingly requiring postsecondary education.


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Content of the Subject Matter

  • Both factual information and applied skills must be included.

  • Different techniques used for teaching facts than for teaching hands-on skills

  • Content varies greatly within agricultural education (biotechnology vs. agricultural mechanics)

  • Topics often must be sequenced in order for meaningful instruction to occur.


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Factual vs. Skills

  • Both factual information and skill development are crucial to successful agricultural programs! We simply cannot have one without the other!

  • Some teachers tend to spend all their time on teaching agricultural facts with very little focus on developing hands-on skills, while others may spend too much time on skill development and not provide the factual basis for why the practice works. Both are wrong!

  • If the objective is to teach students how to perform a skill, they must be provided hands-on practice in performing the skill.


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Different Teaching Techniques

  • Teaching hands-on skills require different teaching techniques (and skills) than teaching factual information.

  • Research has shown that teachers often do not teach hands-on skills because they have never actually performed the skills themselves. Primary reason!

  • Other reasons: Lack of facilities and equipment, lack of time, cost of supplies.

  • Answer: Develop skills that are needed through inservice workshops or formal courses. Secure the necessary resources for your program.


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Content Varies Widely in Agriculture

  • Problem: What should I teach? There is so much information in agriculture available.

  • New information is being made available weekly. It is hard to keep up. Also, how much of the new information can be included in a specific course?

  • Are resources/references available that are up-to-date? A reliable source of information is essential! We cannot afford to teach 1980’s agriculture just because that is when reference books were purchased.


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Sequencing Topics

  • Teachers are responsible for teaching agricultural topics in the logical order.

  • Sometimes topics are taught because of the season. For example, one might decide to teach a feeding livestock lesson before the onset of winter when additional feeding is often necessary.

  • Timing is often critical. Teaching plant propagation prior to the time you need to propagate new plants in the greenhouse is an example.


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Interests of Clientele

  • Influences planning, delivery, and evaluation of instruction

  • Must be aware of what motivates students

    • Why are they enrolled in your course?

    • How can they be motivated to learn subject matter?

  • May influence instructional techniques

  • Recognition of diversity among the students is essential.


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Principles of Teaching and Learning

  • Teaching defined: Guiding and directing the learning process such that those who are learners acquire new knowledge, skills, or attitudes.

    “There is no such operation as teaching in and of itself. No one can teach anyone anything; he can only arrange conditions whereby the learner might learn. Whether learning goes on depends more on the learner than the teacher.” (Bugelski:Some Practical Laws of Learning)


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Knowledge and Skill of the Teacher

  • Teachers must put all of the factors together in order for effective learning to take place.

  • Must have expertise in the science and technology of their discipline.

  • Must have expertise in pedagogy (how to teach)

  • Constant need for updating knowledge and skills--both in areas of technical knowledge and pedagogy.


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Summary

Teachers make many decisions related to their agricultural education programs. Often those decisions relate to methods of teaching and the way they will interact with students.


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