Rice, A. H., & Kitchel, T. (2016). Influence of knowledge of content and students on beginning agriculture teachers’ approaches to teaching content. Journal of Agricultural Education, 57(4), 86-100. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2016.04086
This study explored experiences of beginning agriculture teachers’ approaches to teaching content. The research question guiding the study was: how does agriculture teachers’ knowledge of content and students influence their process of breaking down content knowledge for teaching? The researchers employed a grounded theory approach in which five beginning teachers were interviewed and observed teaching a lesson. The researchers found beginning teachers’ knowledge of content and students greatly influenced how they broke down content knowledge for student understanding. Five major themes emerged: students’ prior knowledge and enrollment in sequences of courses influenced content covered, student engagement methods were not primarily driven by content, differing perceptions of content difficulty for students shaped teaching decisions, deconstructing content for students was deemed important by teachers, and teachers engaged in a form of learning egocentrism. These findings support further research on teachers’ development of pedagogical content knowledge, including knowledge of content and students overtime as it was found to be an influential knowledge base. Recommendations include providing teachers with more opportunities to explore integrating student’s prior knowledge into the curriculum and incorporating student thinking about agriculture content more specifically in teacher preparation.