Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Can You Perform?

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Can You Perform?

Article excerpt

You can read, read, and read some more and not experience anything! As National FFA President Travis Jett said in the February 2006 issue of FFA New Horizons, "I have found I can only read about a topic so much before I need to try it." He is talking about experience, expressed in the second phrase of the FFA Motto, "Doing To Learn."

When you artificially inseminate a cow, you are experiencing something. When you run vertical and overhead welds, you are experiencing something. When you castrate a pig, you are experiencing something. When you dig up a corn plant to examine for root worm damage, or cut across an ear to remove the husks and watch the silks drop off which tells you the degree of pollination, or determine the plant population, you have experienced a number of things.

Understanding and Performing

I am not against reading, but remember we are responsible for vocational education in addition to academic education. Students need to be able to perform, not just understand. Understanding is important. Understanding is a part of education and can partially come from reading, lectures, note taking, or watching videos. But students need to be able to perform. The name of the game in vocational education is performance, and the bottom line is how well students can perform! Experience is required to get performance. Reading, videos, lectures and note taking, by themselves, will not get the job done. Experience may be the weakest link in some, if not all, programs. Supervised agricultural experiences are the heart of effective programs because they encourage and measure student performance.

When teaching arc welding, by reading, lecture, note taking, and videos students are taught to understand the principles of arc welding. Students learn about amperage settings, electrode angle, arc length, speed of travel, and electrode selection. But this is not vocational education. There is a key word in the previous sentence. That word is "about." A lot of education today is about something. In vocational education, in addition to knowing about something students must be able to perform. …

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