Wells, T. and Hainline, M. (2021). Examining teachers’ agricultural mechanics professional development needs: A national study. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(2), 217-238. http://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.02217
Agricultural mechanics remains prominent in many school-based agricultural education (SBAE) programs. SBAE teachers need a wide range of knowledge and skills to competently teach agricultural mechanics. A lack of teacher competence can create issues within educational settings. Teacher competence can be improved through effective professional development (PD). Understanding PD needs as they relate to agricultural mechanics is crucial to help ensure teachers are as competent as realistically possible. We underpinned our study via human capital theory (HCT) as we sought to describe SBAE teachers’ agricultural mechanics PD needs. Through an electronic instrument constructed using Borich’s (1980) needs assessment model, we sought to collect data from 374 randomly sampled SBAE teachers from across the United States. Three hundred and sixty-four teachers received our instrument and 100 teachers responded, yielding a response rate of 27.5%. Using mean weighted discrepancy scores (MWDS), we found teachers have the greatest agricultural mechanics PD needs in: (1) American Welding Society (AWS) standards for welding procedures, (2) Use of electrical measurement units (ex. amperes, volts, Ohms, etc.), and (3) Principles of metallurgy (ex. identifying metals, proper use of metals, etc.). To help improve teachers’ competence in agricultural mechanics,
we recommend various approaches emphasizing agricultural mechanics knowledge and skill development be undertaken by SBAE stakeholders.