Perceived changes among second-stage agriculture teachers following a professional development experience in Ecuador
Keywords:experiential learning, international, teacher change, training
This qualitative case study sought to explore changes in the perceptions of second stage (years 4-10) school based agricultural education teachers (SBAE) following a professional development experience in Ecuador. Experiential learning was utilized as a theoretical lens and the model of teacher change as an operationalized conceptual framework. Semi-structured one-on-one interviews were conducted, and transcripts analyzed for thematic content. Findings elucidated three emergent themes: change in classroom practices; change in personal and professional pursuits; and change in perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes. As a result of the experience, misconceptions were dispelled, new understandings of agriculture and natural resources were developed, confidence was increased, and a desire for more global engagement was communicated. Teachers expressed their desire to be more inclusive, encourage global engagement and citizenship among their students, and integrate more global concepts within their teaching practices. The findings have implications for the importance of holistic approaches to teacher development through international experiential learning, rather than just a focus on classroom teaching practices. To add to our findings, similar research with other teachers beyond second stage should be conducted. Also, research exploring the influence of international development activities on career commitment should be conducted.
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