Elementary And Middle School Agriculture Curriculum Development: An Account Of Teacher Struggle At Countryside Charter School
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to document elementary and middle school teachers' progress in developing a food, agriculture, renewable resources, and environment (FARE) based curriculum and to describe how the use of a United States Department of Education grant provided resources that affected teachers' progress toward this end. A theoretical framework advocating peer interaction and expert guidance was used to guide the study. Interviews with six teachers and support staff were used to gather data to document efforts in curriculum development for a multi-aged charter school. Discourse analysis was used to interpret findings. Initially, teachers did not have sufficient training and experience to develop the FARE-based curriculum. In addition, the lack of organizational structure, time, materials, and the delay of completing facilities for the new school hampered teachers' curriculum development efforts. Resources provided by the USDE grant helped teachers develop a process for curriculum development and provided needed time. However, teachers' lack of curriculum development expertise, time, materials, resources, literature, and administrative support continued to hamper the FARE –based curriculum initiative in the charter school. These findings underscore the need for pre- and in-service teacher training on curriculum integration, for teacher time to develop new curriculum that includes collaborative work among teachers and uses local resources, and for administrative support for curriculum innovation in agriculturally-based charter schools.