Watson, J.M., Mazur, J.M., & Vincent, S.K. (2015). Youth-driven Youth–Adult Partnerships: A Phenomenological Exploration of Agricultural Education Teachers' Experiences. Journal of Agricultural Education, 56(3), 105-120. doi: 10.5032/jae.2015.03105

 

Abstract:

This phenomenological study explores the dimensions of youth–adult partnerships (YAPs) in agricultural mechanics classrooms in three rural schools. YAPs presume a positive learning collaboration between young people and adults who work together to achieve meaningful community-based change. Previous research on the development of YAPs has focused on non-school settings. However, in these agricultural mechanics courses, as part of a safety-focused curriculum, teachers engaged students in a collaborative project to build and install cost-effective rollover protective structures (CROPS) for local farmers' tractors. Thus, the CROPS project provided a unique opportunity to explore the inclusion of youth-driven YAPs as an engagement model for teachers, students, and the broader community. The findings from this secondary analysis of interview data from CROPS project teachers are threefold. First, evidence emerged of the experiential, communal/collective, and youth-driven aspects of YAPs in teacher–student and student–student collaborations. Second, shifts in power balances present a key dimension of the youth-driven dimension of YAPs. Third, the CROPS project aligns well with a youth-driven YAP in that it promoted high-quality student engagement within the learning system. Finally, we discuss the implications for integrating YAPs into agricultural education projects and suggestions for further research.

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