Ingram, M. L., Sorensen, T. J., Warnick, B. K., & Lawver, R. G. (2018). The influence of school-based agricultural education on preservice agriculture teachers’ choice to teach. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(2), 64-78 https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2018.02064
Nationwide, agricultural education has experienced a shortage of qualified school-based agriculture teachers for over four decades. Students who seek careers as agriculture teachers are often those who participated in agricultural education and FFA in high school. The Ag Ed FIT-Choice® Model (Lawver 2009; Lawver & Torres, 2012) was used as the investigative framework for this phenomenological study, which sought to explore how active participation in school-based agricultural education programs influenced students’ choice to major in agricultural education and pursue a career in teaching. Seven agricultural education majors who participated in agricultural education and FFA in high school participated in a focus group interview. Transcripts of the focus group interview were analyzed and coded for thematic content using open, axial, and selective coding protocols. Five themes emerged from the data, which included, 1) socializer influencers, 2) social value 3) passion for agriculture, 4) alignment with personal values, and 5) agricultural education factors. The agricultural education factors theme was broken into four sub-themes, which include agriculture teacher encouragement, FFA events, increased self-efficacy through a quality program, and post-high school opportunities. Based on the findings, implications and recommendations for recruitment are discussed.