Volume 49 - Number 1 - 2008 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2008.01085

 

Abstract:

"Agricultural literacy" is a working concept with considerable range in meaning and impact. An overview of agricultural literacy curricula shows complementary deductive and inductive approaches to the systematic incorporation of agricultural education in K-12 classrooms. Based on positions discussed at the 2005 Agricultural Literacy Special Interest Group meeting of the American Association for Agricultural Education, the authors identified three curricular approaches to promote agricultural literacy: (1) a deductive approach based on programmed frameworks, (2) an inductive approach based on the application of knowledge and process skills, and (3) a utilitarian, values-based approach promoting evaluation of agri-food system issues. The authors provide an original conceptual model underscoring points of possible synergy between these approaches. The model points out interactions imposed on the system by cognitive-constructivist expectations for learning, which conflict with political and social pressures for a "traditional" curriculum assessed through "high-stakes" tests. The authors suggest capitalizing on the strengths of each approach to lever change within the current public education environment. The authors offer a systematic plan that may resolve the external conflict between the expectations of agricultural educators and political/social advocates of standardized curricula and high stakes testing, turning these pressures into forces to promote agricultural literacy.

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