The influence of the agriculture teacher on a student s decision to teach
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The Influence of the Agriculture Teacher on a Student’s Decision to Teach. Justin Harris. How I Decided to Teach. High School Athletics Friends School Agricultural Education Program First Year in College Not sure about career/major Engineering

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The Influence of the Agriculture Teacher on a Student’s Decision to Teach

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The Influence of the Agriculture Teacher on a Student’s Decision to Teach

Justin Harris

How I Decided to Teach

  • High School

    • Athletics

    • Friends

    • School

    • Agricultural Education Program

  • First Year in College

    • Not sure about career/major

    • Engineering

    • Sports and friends still high on the priority list

    • FFA Camp

Choice to Teach Agriculture

  • Wanted to make an impact on students

  • Respected agriculture teachers

    • Father

    • Former Teacher

    • Others

  • Seems to fit who I am

    • “Jack of all trades, master of none”

    • Work hard, even without recognition/physical reward

  • Enjoy being outdoors and doing physical things

Choosing a Thesis Topic

  • Something you are interested in

  • Something that can help your profession

  • Address an issue the profession is experiencing

Teacher Recruitment and the Agriculture Teacher

  • Interested in WHY teachers decide to teach

  • If done successfully, results could help teachers and teacher educators recruit more teachers into the profession

  • Addresses an issue  Teacher Shortage

Started Research

  • Google Scholar: Teacher Recruitment in Agricultural Education

  • Read some of what was out there

  • Found Park & Rudd’s “A Description of the Characteristics Attributed to Students’ Decisions to Teach Agriscience”

    • What do ag. teachers do to encourage/discourage students to teach agriculture?

    • Surveyed teachers

    • What do the students who recently made the choice to teach agriculture say?

Where I am now

  • Decided on a topic

  • Committee

  • Articles and their references

    • Roughly 40 useful sources so far

  • Future Plans

  • What I am finding from the literature…

Teacher Shortage In Agricultural Education

  • Has been a problem for more than 40 years (Kantrovich, 2007)

  • 2001 – A committee of ag. teachers, school board members, recruitment specialists, and business representatives declared that the #1 problem facing ag. ed. today was teacher shortage (Reese, 2001)

What is the problem?

  • Currently, teacher education programs are producing enough graduates to fill vacancies, but only about 70% of these candidates actually go into teaching (Kantrovich, 2007).

What does this mean?

  • Unfilled positions could lead to:

    • A struggling in the program until the position is filled.

    • The position being lost temporarily or forever.

    • The loss of the entire program, likely forever.

  • The bottom line is that students do not get to reap the benefits of the opportunities an agriculture teacher can bring to an agriculture program.


  • Two options:

    • Work to increase the percentage of students who actually pursue teaching careers, or

    • Work to increase the number of graduates so that the 70% that enter teaching may be sufficient to fill any voids caused by teachers retiring, getting out of the profession, etc.

Why is there a problem in the first place?

  • “You want to do what?!”

  • The decision to teach can be a tough one.

    • Not highly paid

    • Hard work

    • Long hours

    • Paperwork

    • Discipline problems

    • Etc.

  • So what motivates teachers to decide to teach?


  • The literature points to several variables which influence the decision to teach:

    • Parental influence

    • Altruistic reasons

      • Make a difference

      • Service

    • Enjoy working with youth

    • Interest in the subject matter

    • Influence of former teacher!

Survey says…

  • Inspiration of former teachers is a factor for pre-service teachers’ decisions to teach (Reid & Caudwell, 1997)

  • 54% of college students majoring in education were influenced by a former teacher (Hayes, 1990).

  • The most influential variable in their decisions to enter agricultural education was the agriculture teacher (Washburn et al., 2002).

  • Others: Hillman, 1994; Lyons, 1981; Park & Rudd, 2005; Stiegelbauer, 1994; and more

Now What?

  • We know former teachers can influence a student’s decision to teach, but HOW?

Park & Rudd, 2005

Encouraging Practices

Discouraging Practices

  • Offering a program rather than just a class to take

  • Serving as a positive example and role model

  • Encouraging student involvement in FFA

  • Students enrolling in an ag. ed. program

  • Exhibiting a positive attitude about teaching agriculture

  • Exhibiting confidence in student abilities

  • Doing little to nothing in the FFA component

  • Not giving students an opportunity to participate in FFA

  • Having a program seen as a dumping ground

  • Demonstrating constant complaining

  • Complaining about students in program and administration

  • Demonstrating negative attitudes

Theoretical Foundation

  • Social Cognitive Theory

    • People learn through observing others (Bandura & Walters, 1963)

    • Possible that imitation and modeling play a role in student’s decision to teach (Park & Rudd, 2005)

    • Learning through observation not always formal. Often occurs without teacher knowing it is taking place (Bandura & Walters, 1963)


  • Causal-comparative (Ex Post Facto)

  • Population: Still need to decide

    • All undergraduate students enrolled in agricultural education in NC

    • All undergraduate student enrolled in agricultural education at randomly selected universities offering agricultural education in the southeast


  • Examine Park & Rudd’s instrument and make modifications so it is applicable to prospective teachers

  • Electronic Survey

  • Reviewed by panel of experts for validity

  • Field test the instrument for reliability

    • Cronbach’s Alpha

  • Hope to send out in Spring 2010

  • Non-responders

Questions or Comments?

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