Bowling, A. and Ball, A. (2020). Supporting students’ psychological needs and motivation within school based agricultural education programs: A mixed methods study. Journal of Agricultural Education, 61(2), 206-221.

The purpose of this study was to identify the processes School Based Agricultural Education (SBAE) teachers utilize to support students’ psychological needs and motivation. SBAE teachers were sampled who taught for five or more years and displayed a range of SBAE successes. Within the five participating schools, all FFA members were recruited to participate. The average student participant was female, a freshman, and identified agriculture as a potential future career. Through an exploratory sequential design, quantitative instruments were first utilized to gauge the motivational climate and the teachers’ autonomy orientation. Grounded theory interviews and observations were utilized to determine the processes of needs support. Through open, axial, and selective coding and the convergent analysis a substantive theory was formed. Within the theory, teacher motivational beliefs emerged as the context of the needs support process and supported the central phenomenon of relatedness. Teachers also utilized extrinsic and intrinsic motivational strategies, along with the intracurricular nature of SBAE programs to strengthen student motivation. Students experienced a range of outcomes including support of competence, support and thwart of autonomy, and a range of extrinsic and intrinsic motivational outcomes. The substantive theory can inform in-service, pre-service, and teacher educators about the motivational process.

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