Volume 50 - Number 1 - 2009 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2009.01081
The purpose of this philosophical article was to examine the role of agriculture in agricultural education. This philosophical argument, in many ways, reexamines the very discussions pondered by Dewey and Snedden almost a century ago. In secondary agricultural education classes today, is agriculture the content learned, or the context in which learning occurs? In exploring this issue, theoretical bases and conceptual models for agriculture as content and context are presented. It was concluded that there are theoretical bases for viewing agriculture both as content and context for teaching agriculture at the secondary level. Accordingly, a model is proposed that acknowledges that agriculture provides a rich context in which learning can occur. Today's agricultural educators teach both agricultural content and knowledge from other domains, yielding integrated curriculum. Learning occurs in complex social environments with teacher-to-learner and learner-to-learner interactions. Agricultural education has dual outcomes: a skilled agricultural workforce and successful citizens that are agriculturally literate contributors in a democratic society. The two aforesaid outcomes are not mutually exclusive, and former students (and lifelong learners) may move in and out of gainful employment in the agricultural industry throughout their lifetime.