Integrating Food Science into High School Agricultural Education in Tennessee

John C. Ricketts, Sandria Godwin, & Paula E. Faulkner
One in six Americans is affected by foodborne illnesses, but agricultural education can reduce such instances. Raw and undercooked poultry and eggs are often associated with foodborne illnesses. Educating consumers about the safe handling of poultry and eggs is an important component of reducing foodborne illnesses. Secondary agricultural education can help with this issue. In Tennessee there are a number of pathways and courses integrating food safety/science in high school agricultural education programs, and a new pathway, Food Science and Safety. It is important to assess teachers’ integration of food science and their desire to teach in the new pathway. It is also important to understand teachers’ current food safety knowledge. We assessed teachers’ reported importance ratings and ability levels for certain food safety practices to identify potential training priorities.

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Impact of a Poultry and Egg Food Safety Education on 4-H Youth

M. Beaty, J.C. Ricketts, & S. Godwin
This study sought to evaluate a poultry and egg food safety education intervention for 4-H youth. Materials developed and shared with students were infused with key content stemming from microbiological research findings associated with this project and a content analysis of other key findings in the field that consumers ought to know and apply to reduce instances of food-borne illness and death. With financial support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the Poultry and Egg Education Project (PEEP) accomplishes this goal for families and communities by evaluating knowledge, attitudes, perceptions and intentions of implementing lessons learned during a workshop on poultry and egg food safety. Among a convenience sample of 4th-6th grade 4-H youth attending various 4-H camps (n = 190), post-test knowledge scores were significantly higher than pre-test scores…

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A Reason to Reason: Motivations Influencing Youth Participation in 4-H State Horse Judging

Jamie Brianne Putnam, Alexa J. Lamm, & Brittani G. Kirkland
Assessing the motivational factors driving youth to become engaged and devoted to a state 4-H horse judging program will assist in allowing extension professionals to better facilitate programs geared towards promoting higher levels of achievement, life and career readiness, and professional success. Using the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) as the theoretical framework, this study used a questionnaire administered to a purposive sample of the 2016 Colorado, Florida, and Texas state 4-H horse judging contestants facilitated by Colorado State University, the University of Florida, and Texas A&M University (n = 71). Intrinsic motivation was found to be the highest motivator followed by extrinsic motivation and perceived confidence. The top four intrinsic items that most strongly influenced respondents were wanting to learn something new, liking horses, being interested in learning about horses, and desiring to gain more confidence speaking in public.

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Identifying a knowledge gap of blueberry health benefits: The role of education, income, generation and gender

Shuyang Qu, Tori Bradley, & Joy N. Rumble
Lower socioeconomic groups may not learn as quickly or retain as much knowledge as higher socioeconomic groups because higher socioeconomic groups often have easier access to the relevant resources. With many health benefits associated with blueberry consumption, this study examined consumers’ knowledge level of blueberry benefits, and investigated whether a knowledge gap existed among high and low socioeconomic groups and among different demographic groups. An online survey using non-probability sampling was distributed to grocery shoppers from 31 states in the United States. Post-stratification weighting of data was used to adjust the bias resulted from non-probability sampling…

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Needs Assessment for Prospective Hispanic Farmers and Ranchers

Baleshka Brenes Mayorga, Robert L. Williams, Leah Wickersham, & Teresa Duch-Carvallo
The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify the needs and interests of prospective Hispanic farmers and ranchers in the target counties in order to improve outreach programs. The results will help outreach programs to mitigate the barriers identified by study participants and focus on the needs of Hispanic farmers. The methodology used was basic qualitative research using focus group interviews, observational analysis, and literature review of previous studies. Three focus group interviews with 6-14 people in each group were used for data collection. Interviews were conducted in Spanish and recorded. Comparisons were made within groups and among groups. The information was analyzed to identify patterns or trends in discussion. The categories found included family support, education, culture, communication, economic stability, immigration status, services, agriculture, fear, language, vision and opportunities, how to start and maintain a business, and community opinion leadership.

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Preservice Teachers’ Perceptions of Infusing Mathematics in the School- Based Agricultural Education Curricula

Nathan W. Conner, Sarah Greer, Nathan Ollie, Christopher T. Stripling, & Carrie A. Stephens
Mathematics knowledge is a critical component of natural and agricultural sciences, and school- based agricultural education is expected to support core academic instruction. Therefore, preservice agricultural education teachers must be prepared to teach mathematical concepts.
This study explores preservice agricultural education teachers’ perceptions of mathematics in the school-based agricultural education curricula. Five preservice teachers consisting of 4 females and 1 male participated in this qualitative study. Data were collected through individual semi-structured interviews that were approximately 30 minutes, and thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Audit trails, triangulation, member checking, and thick description were used to achieve trustworthiness. Five themes…

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The Evaluation of Critical Thinking Dispositions in High School Agriculture Teachers

J. C. Ricketts, C. Lewis, & P. E. Faulkner
Teachers are continually asked to develop students who are critical thinkers. Gaining an understanding of critical thinking and the capacity to think critically is essential for educators in agriculture. While critical thinking of secondary and postsecondary students has been widely studied, there is limited research that examines teachers’ critical thinking and its influence on students’ critical thinking. The purpose of this study was to develop a critical thinking disposition profile of high school agriculture teachers in Tennessee, and examine their Engagement, Cognitive Maturity, and Innovativeness (EMI)…

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Investigating Structured Communication between Teacher Candidates and Cooperating Teachers at Multiple Universities

Chris L. Hunt & Don W. Edgar
Preservice teaching experiences lay the foundation for agricultural education graduates to enter the teaching field (Lawver & Torres, 2011). The overall teacher candidate experience allows candidates to develop lessons and lead classroom learning events while participating in courses that allow them to actually be “students of education” (Edgar, 2007, p. 2). Furthermore, teaching-efficacy has shown to impact individual’s entrance to the field of teaching (Wolf, et al., 2010). The purpose of this study was to assess teaching efficacy and the relationship of teacher candidates and cooperating teachers via a structured communication instrument. To determine if a difference existed in teaching efficacy an ANOVA was used. The overall model was not significant (Between Groups, F = .57 and p = .69)…

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4-H Members’ Motivating Factors for and Deterrents to Participation in an International Experience Program: Development of the 4-H International Experience Program Questionnaire

J.C. Bunch, Melissa Cater, & Shelli D. Rampold
As transportation and communication systems evolve, the ability of youth to participate in international experience program (IEP) improves. However, not all youth will choose to participate in an IEP even if an IEP is readily available. Understanding the motivating factors for participation in an IEP and deterrents to participation in an IEP can assist program developers better market available experiences. In order to assess factors that inhibit or promote participation in an IEP, valid and reliable instruments are needed. This study describes the development and initial validation of the 4-H International Experience Program Questionnaire, an instrument designed to measure 4-H members’ motivating factors for participation in an IEP and deterrents to participation in an IEP.

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Agriculture Teachers’ Preferred Teaching Partners Based on Physical and Professional Appearance

Hailey R. Gates & Catherine W. Shoulders
As new teachers enter the workplace, their ability to integrate into the school’s professional community is critical to their job satisfaction. While teachers may meet many quality indicators of good teaching, his or her ability to integrate into a professional community can be shaped instead by coworkers’ initial perceptions of his or her physical and professional appearance. In this study, we asked a convenience sample of agriculture teachers attending the National FFA Convention to select their ideal teaching partners based on their physical and professional appearance. Results displayed a strong preference for male teaching partners, regardless of age and attire…

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