Organization and Structure for Effective Teaching

By Warnick, Brian; Straquadine, Gary | The Agricultural Education Magazine, January/February 2005 | Go to article overview

Organization and Structure for Effective Teaching


Warnick, Brian, Straquadine, Gary, The Agricultural Education Magazine


Effective agricultural education begins with organization and structure. Success is not a random act or merely an artful performance of the sage on the stage. Effective teaching which will result in effective learning must have a known organizational pattern and apparent structure. The "discovery" of the structure of DNA brought a new level of knowledge to biology. As Watson and Crick wrote in 1953, "the double helix structure has novel features which are of considerable interest. . . . It has not escaped our notice that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material." By understanding the organization and structure of the DNA strand, replication becomes possible. The purpose of our writing is to borrow from such a premise and to provide an organization and structure for the implementation of effective agricultural education.

Good teaching does not just happen. It is not a spontaneous set of actions in the universe that converge in some sort of harmonic alignment resulting in excellence. Good teaching begins with a thorough appreciation for and an understanding of the scientific foundations of teaching-learning organization and structure. For the purposes of this article, we want to address the science of organization as the curriculum. We will explore the application of structure to the teaching and learning process.

The curriculum for agricultural education in the public high school includes the principles, objectives, methodology and organization of reading skills, activities, and influences, both formal and informal, over which the institution has control in developing the growth of the enrolled youth and adults. A course of study is an arrangement of all materials and learning activities which serve as a guide for the teacher and school in harmony with the constitution, legislative mandates, and overall objectives of the governing board (Humpherys, 1965). Education is that re-constructing or reorganizing of experience which adds to the meaning of experience, and which increases ability to direct the course of subsequent experiences (Dewey, 1916).

Organization of the curriculum

Philosophical concepts provide direction for curriculum organization and outcomes. These concepts are derived from professional agricultural education and grounded in the theory of community, sequence, and currency of issues. If the principle is accepted that education should prepare one to think and act purposefully in the solution of the problems of life, the curriculum of the school should be selected with this end in view (Berry, 1924).

A career in the diverse agricultural production, processing, and distribution industry requires a broader education than does any of the other vocations or professions. For example, agricultural production is not a single problem, but a multitude of problems centering about the factors which control and limit production. A national curriculum model for agricultural education would be reduced to a generic sprinkling of common topics - none specific to the environmental, social, or economic characteristics of a selected community. Unlike technology education, business and marketing, or even family consumer sciences, the unique differences in products, production models, and markets make a national agricultural education unrealistic.

On the other end of the spectrum is the local community. Each individual community will indicate special characteristics in culture and production strategy and can insist upon the authority to develop a locally specific program of study. Yet, too much diversity will eliminate the possibility for standardization within a state - and it is the state that is responsible. The 10th Amendment to the Constitution states: "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the State, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

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