A comparison of vocational agriculture teacher behaviors and characteristics

Burton, Lawrence
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Agricultural Education and Studies

The purpose of this study was to assess teaching behaviors and demographic variables associated with teachers and learning. The population studied consisted of 10,200 secondary vocational agriculture teachers from throughout the United States. A stratified random sampling procedure was used in conjunction with an oversampling technique combined with a substitution procedure. Two mailings resulted in a response rate of 58.0% and a sample size of 494 teachers. A follow-up procedure was initiated with nonrespondents, and no differences were found among mean responses from the primary respondents, substitute respondents, and the nonrespondents;The data were gathered using a descriptive survey instrument designed to assess the extent to which vocational agriculture teachers use research-based teaching effectiveness techniques in their teaching activities. It also addressed demographic characteristics of the teacher. The instrument was validated by vocational agriculture instructors, and reliability of the survey instrument was calculated to be.86;Two distinct groups of teachers were identified using composite scores from teacher responses to the forty statements on teaching activities. These two teacher groups were used in making comparisons among the demographic variables;Several significant demographic characteristics of teachers of vocational agriculture were identified which were good discriminators between the high and low teaching effectiveness levels. Effective teachers tended to teach more secondary and adult students, and had been in their present schools longer than had less effective teachers. They were older teachers and were inclined to join more professional and community organizations. They were more frequently found in higher levels of leadership within organizations. They were more frequently appointed to government commissions than was true of less effective teachers, and they relied heavily on university-related personnel and services for technical information. Other information sources which were most frequently named included local professionals, media, supervisory personnel, and other vocational agriculture teachers.