Examining the Agricultural Education Fishbowl
Understanding Perceptions of Agricultural Education Stakeholders in Higher Education
Operant Subjectivity , Volume 35 - Issue 2 p. 74- 101
The integration of core academic content into the agricultural education curriculum has received a great deal of attention over the past ten years. As a result, a number of researchers sought to understand the attitudes and perceptions of stakeholders at the secondary level in order to foster collaborative relationships across domains. Though each study called for enhanced focus and support of integration and content knowledge within the teacher preparation programs, a paucity of research exists examining the perceptions of agricultural education held by relevant stakeholders in higher education. Using Q methodology to capture subjective perceptions of agricultural education, this study identified the perseptions of 23 key stakeholders in higher education. Analysis resulted in three perspectives of agricultural education: (a) Supportive Idealist, (b) Critical Academic, and (c) Progressive Agricultural Educator. The supportive idealist typology represents an overall positive view of agricultural education that sees the benefit of the program to public schools. Critical academics, typically defined by lab scientists, believe that agricultural education lacks the academic rigor to consider itself a deliverer of core academic content, and they hold a somewhat negative view of the program as it stands today. Progressive agricultural educators value the program and recognize that agricultural education serves as a support to core content instruction but not as the sole provider of core math, science, and reading concepts. Using Brunswik’s social judgment theory (SJT), keys for collaboration are presented for each perceptions.