Stacy K. Vincent and Ashley L. Austin. (2021). Perceived Social Distances of Rural High School Seniors Toward Multicultural Student Profiles. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62 (4), 51-66. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.04049

Abstract

Social identity theory posits that people do not have one personal sense of identity, rather multiple identities based on group memberships. After four years of involvement in secondary agricultural (an elective set of courses for high school youth), the identity of seniors is molded by the environment surrounded them over their tenure. The purpose of this study was to identify the acceptance level high school seniors, throughout Kentucky, have toward multiple student profiles that reflect a diversity of social, racial, and sexual identities. Using a social distance scale, the results reveal that students were more accepting of a student who resides from a farm background and is heterosexual; however, results reveal a strong resistance against a student not from a farm background, Black, and gay to enroll in agriculture courses. Results reveal a level of implicitness that hinders the enrollment of students from cultures different from the social identity of the current group membership. Recommendations for inclusive programs that provide opportunities for secondary students to collaborate with culturally different individuals as well as the development of agricultural curriculum that encompasses a transformational approach to gaining cultural competence.

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