Marx, A. A., Smith, A. R., Smalley, S. W. & Miller, C. (2017). Previous experience not required: Contextualizing the choice to teach school-based agricultural education. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(4) 126-142.


The purpose of this study was to identify key career choice items which lead students without previous experience in school-based agricultural education (SBAE) to pursuing agricultural education. The Ag Ed FIT-Choice® model adapted by Lawver (2009) and developed by Richardson and Watt (2006) provided the investigative framework to design this study. Findings were organized around categories of the Ag Ed Fit-Choice Model (Lawver, 2009) with the exception of one additional category, believed unique to this group. Two focus groups were assembled to include ten participants. A myriad of experiences led participants to consider SBAE as a career. Certainly, it can be concluded that a passion for agricultural education does not solely stem from prior SBAE experiences. The intrigue toward the varied content associated with agriculture played a substantial role in participants’ choice to teach agriculture. Participants’ reflections revealed a distinct interconnectedness of domains within the Ag Ed Fit-Choice® model and the way in which this group of future teachers reflects upon career decision. Further, participants engaged in near constant value-checking and introspective career evaluation resulting through field experiences. The present study generated additional questions on the most effective ways to recruit future SBAE teachers who are non-traditional SBAE students.

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