McKendree, R. & McKim, A. (2021). Teacher changing the discipline: A case study of participatory professional development. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(3), 72-84.

In this case study, we explored an innovative Professional Development (PD) approach where teachers were positioned as experts and drivers of change. Simplified as Participatory PD, Michigan State University Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR) Education faculty constructed an experience for Michigan AFNR Educators following the characteristics of effective PD. We then employed a case study design to explore AFNR Educators’ perceptions of the Participatory PD experience. Seventeen AFNR Educators engaged in the participatory PD. During the PD, educators were tasked with creating a state-wide AFNR Education curriculum resource. Data collection included focus group interviews with teacher-participants, a facilitator interview, researcher observations, and researcher reflections. Data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a multi-stage process based on the constant comparative method of analysis. Four themes emerged from the data: (a) Professional Development, (b) Learning, (c) Perspective, and (d) SBAE Change. Conclusions from the case study include a discussion of the outcomes reached by teacher-participants who engaged in the participatory PD, the essential role of collective teacher expertise in achieving those outcomes, and teacher preference for the participator PD approach. Recommendations include the need for additional research on participatory PD alongside recommendations for leaders in AFNR Education to implement participatory PD.

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