Evaluating the preparation of pre-service school-based agricultural education teachers in laboratory-based courses
This study sought to examine laboratory-based instruction for pre-service school-based agricultural education (SBAE) teachers at various institutions across the nation. While research has indicated that laboratory-based instruction in SBAE programs is commonplace (Shoulders & Meyers, 2012), a myriad of literature has noted SBAE teachers are not adequately prepared to teach, manage, and facilitate learning activities in SBAE laboratories upon completing their teacher education programs (Burris et al., 2005; Hainline & Wells, 2019; Shoulders, 2012).
To better understand the current state of SBAE pre-service teacher training in laboratory instruction, we surveyed 33 agricultural education certifying institutions across the country. Many of these institutions indicated they required pre-service teachers to take two laboratory-based instruction courses in the areas of agricultural mechanics (96.9%) and welding metal fabrication livestock (83.9%). However, only 46.7% of the responding institutions required students to take a greenhouse management course, and 29% required pre-service teachers to take a meat science course. The findings of this study also highlight if the laboratory-based courses had a pedagogical component, and the teacher educators were asked to provide their perceptions for a need for expansion of instruction in each context. Recommendations for practice and further investigation were provided.