Students' Perceptions of School-Based Agricultural Education Through an Initial Early Field Experience


  • Bryan D. Rank Arkansas Tech University
  • Scott W. Smalley Iowa State University



Early Field Experience, EFE, Preservice, Three-Circle Model, Teacher preparation, photovoice


The purpose of this study was to identify the perception of students enrolled in an initial early field experience (EFE) in relation to the components of the agricultural education model. The students enrolled in the initial field experience were freshmen and sophomore students. The initial field experience course consisted of four face-to-face class meetings and a 12-hour initial field experience observation. Students’ photographed their perceptions of each component in the agricultural education model (classroom, SAE, FFA). The coding of reflective captions led to themes in three areas of the agricultural education model: (a) classroom themes were active learning, collaboration and facilities, (b) FFA themes were activities and opportunities, and (c) SAE themes were school based projects, awards/degrees, and the smallest circle. Overall, the EFE students used their photographs and descriptions to describe the learner-centered nature of the program. The EFE students described how the three components of the agricultural education model worked together to help school-based agricultural education (SBAE) students gain knowledge and experience. It is recommended that teacher educators incorporate photovoice in EFE programs to facilitate discussion of the initial perceptions of students.


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How to Cite

Rank, B. D., & Smalley, S. W. (2017). Students’ Perceptions of School-Based Agricultural Education Through an Initial Early Field Experience. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(3), 310–322.




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