Roberts, R. & Ramsey, J. W. (2017). The black swans of agricultural education: A glimpse into the lived experiences that shape urban agricultural educators’ meaning in work. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(3), 1-18.


Urban agricultural educators face a number of unique challenges in performing their job duties. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to understand the essence of urban agricultural educators’ meaning in their work by exploring their lived experiences. In this study, the essence emerged in the form of a metaphor: A Black Swan. The black swan represents a distinctiveness that urban agricultural educators possess in the agricultural education discipline. The black swans are guided by fusing (a) individualization, (b) self-connection, (c) contribution, (d) unification, and (e) coping abilities into a powerful construct identified as transcendence. By transcending ordinary levels of meaning, urban agricultural educators appeared to cope with their challenges in unique ways. Perhaps, the reason underlying the use of this coping strategy is the distinct population that urban agricultural educators serve since participants reported their programs were largely comprised of ethnic minority students living in low socioeconomic households. Urban agricultural educators might, therefore, continuously be faced with issues that remind them of the important role they play in their students’ lives. Moving forward, the study’s findings could be used as a foundation to explore and refine the discipline’s current understandings of urban agricultural educators’ meaning in work.

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