How Farmers Learn: Implications for Agricultural Educations

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2010-01-01
Authors
Franz, Nancy
Piercy, Fred
Donaldson, Joseph
Richard, Robert
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School of Education

The School of Education seeks to prepare students as educators to lead classrooms, schools, colleges, and professional development.

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The School of Education was formed in 2012 from the merger of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

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2012-present

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  • College of Human Sciences (parent college)
  • Department of Curriculum and Instruction (predecessor)
  • Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (predecessor)

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In this participatory action research, guided by a steering committee of farmers and agricultural educators, we examined how farmers learn and identified implications for agricultural educators. Since most educators teach the way they prefer to learn, this research could shape agricultural educators’ practice with farmers. Focus group interviews and surveys with 115 farmers and agricultural educators helped us understand how and why farmers learn and the role of agricultural educators, especially Extension educators, in farmer learning. Farmers articulated a learning process that relies mostly on first-hand experiences motivated by saving time and money, learning about cutting edge research, and engaging in the social aspects of education. We also discovered that: a) differences exist in agricultural education needs among types of farmer groups, b) farmers enjoy peer teaching, c) farmers find value in participatory research, d) farmers desire more comprehensive educational programs, and e) farmers want educators to embrace the changing nature of agriculture. Implications of the findings for practice and research are suggested.

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This article is published as Franz, N., Piercy, F., Donaldson, J., Richard, R., How Farmers Learn: Implications for Agricultural Educators. Journal of Rural Social Sciences. 2010, 25(1); 37-59. Posted with permission.

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Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2010
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