Preservice teachers’ perceptions of science integration into secondary agriculture classrooms
Keywords:agricultural education, teacher preparation, social cognitive theory, field experience
After completing a 40-hour field experience course, 26 preservice teachers participated in interviews about their experiences observing science integration in secondary agriculture classrooms. Based on Bandura’s social cognitive theory, researchers analyzed interview transcripts for preservice teachers’ descriptions of perceived preparedness to integrate science into agricultural education programs based on personal, environmental, and behavioral determinants. Findings indicated the integration of science concepts were reliant upon participants’ perceived integration ability, importance of science knowledge, consequences of science integration, application of hands-on learning, practical application of science in agriculture, and the influence of colleague collaboration on the learning environment. From their observations, preservice teachers cited specific instances of academic science concepts relating to agriculture, which they perceived as an applied science. While natural ties to biology and chemistry appeared in classroom lessons, preservice teachers held a belief that agricultural education is a unique practical context for learning and integration of science, but too much science integration is seen as a threat to agricultural education. Many preservice teachers noted the environment surrounding their future agricultural classrooms will play a large role in how they integrate science. Future research should further investigate how behavioral, personal, and environmental factors influence science integration.
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