Roberts, R., Wittie, B., Stair, K., Blackburn, J., and Smith, E. (2020). The dimensions of professional development needs for secondary agricultural education teachers across career stages: A multiple case study comparison. Journal of Agricultural Education, 61(3), 128-143. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2020.03128

This study sought to understand the professional development needs articulated by secondary
agricultural education teachers across three career stages. To accomplish this, we collected data from
secondary agricultural educators (N = 66) in Louisiana. Then, we performed a cross-case analysis to
compare and contrast themes and axial codes. Through our analysis, three themes emerged in each
case: (1) presage variables, (2) context variables, and (3) process variables. The themes represented
the various dimensions of professional development that teachers expressed they desired to facilitate
student success better. In particular, the Early Career Teachers’ non-traditional backgrounds often
limited their exposure to opportunities; therefore, they desired more knowledge and skills in technical
agricultural concepts. Meanwhile, Mid-Career Teachers were more stable and confident in their roles
as secondary agricultural education teachers; nevertheless, they were frustrated because of various
contextual forces that complicated their job duties. Finally, Career Teachers were experiencing career
wind-down and had unique professional development requests to help them cope better with contextual
changes influencing their responsibilities. Findings from this study, therefore, suggested that although
areas of commonality exist across career stages, it is critical to differentiate professional development
across programmatic dimensions of agricultural education.

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