Granberry, T., Roberts, R., & Blackburn, J. J. (2022). “A challenge that I’m willing to take on:” The self-efficacy of female undergraduate students in agricultural mechanics. Journal of Agricultural Education, 63(3), 44-58. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2022.03044
This qualitative study sought to answer the question: How do female agricultural education undergraduates describe their self-efficacy to teach agricultural mechanics? In response, we conducted a case study of female agricultural education majors (n=5) who enrolled in an Introduction to Agricultural Mechanics course. After multiple rounds of coding, three themes emerged: (1) Conflicting Perceptions of Agricultural Mechanics, (2) Confronting Challenges, and (3) Building Experience. When viewed through the lens of Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy, we concluded that the female students used four sources of self-efficacy to inform their judgments about agricultural mechanics. Although the participants had mixed views on agricultural mechanics, their perceived challenges to effectively teach the content, such as a lack of knowledge and prescribed gender roles, served as obstacles they hoped to address through future coursework and experiences. The findings of this study aligned with similar research; however, notable differences were also evident regarding the attitudes, concerns, and emotions articulated by the participants. Based on these findings, we recommend that future students in the course receive supplemental vicarious experiences with women who teach agricultural mechanics in school-based agricultural education. Because the participants were earlier in their coursework than those in previous studies, we also recommend that research examine how the perceptions of agricultural mechanics changes over time for agricultural education undergraduates from diverse backgrounds, as well as theory-building efforts to distill the sources of self-efficacy for such students going forward.