Volume 54(3) - 2013 - DOI: 10.5032/jae.2013.0126



One of the intended outcomes of agricultural teacher education programs is the progressive development and refinement of students' professional identity. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which pre-service agriculture teachers' mental models, depicting the roles and responsibilities of school-based agriculture teachers, changed over the course of a semester-long teacher education course. Pre-service teachers were asked to draw images depicting an effective agriculture teacher at three points during the semester. Those images served as a mediator for surfacing the idealized agriculture teacher and were analyzed by three researchers using a variety of methods. Four themes emerged to describe pre-service teachers' mental models of effective teaching: instruction, settings, curricular diversity, and engagement. Desired constructs, such as student engagement and curricular diversity, of the ideal agriculture teacher were noted from the beginning to the middle of the semester; however, undesirable constructs, such as teacher-directed instruction that focused on traditional topics and lacked STEM integration, emerged in the drawings from the middle to the end of the semester. It is recommended that the study be replicated over teachers' entire preparation experience to determine how their professional identity is impacted by various treatments inherent in the pre-service teacher education program.

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