Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Re-Examining the Teacher's Role

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Re-Examining the Teacher's Role

Article excerpt

For as long as I can remember there has been this quiet debate regarding the teaching and learning process. Is it "art"or "science"? Or is it both? I'm not sure agricultural educators have ever come to a definite conclusion to this debate and perhaps that's good. A good debate deserves an ongoing investigation into the various perspectives of an issue. This debate has direct implications to the role of the teacher in the agricultural education program.

I am torn by the perspectives regarding the art and science of teaching. Perhaps you are, too. My logical side says science is the perspective that should dominate. My humanity side says no, teaching is more than a science, it is more art.

Those educators who argue for the science perspective point out that there is a systematic approach that can be applied to all teaching and learning situations. They suggest we can reduce the teaching and learning process to a formula that, if followed, works in most, if not in all, situations. This perspective is supported by the appropriate use of the problem-solving approach to teaching and learning among other equally appropriate mechanisms.

On the other hand, those educators who believe the teaching and learning process is more art than science suggest that a set of human relation skills or approaches that focus on facilitation represent the true role of the educator. The use of these skills is not necessarily predictable and they are often situational. The various roles of the "teacher as artist" are played at various times and at a variety of levels.

When we combine the procedures of the "teacher as scientist" and the skills of the "teacher as artist", it may be appropriate to profile the role of the teacher of agriculture by using a new set of terms. These terms could include but are not limited to the following list:

* Organizer

* Connector

* Planner

* Affirmer

* Challenger

* Promoter

* Encourager

* Advisor

* Questioner

* Visionary

These terms may or may not adequately "define" the roles of the teacher of agriculture, but they do capture the essence of the variety of roles teachers must fill in order to achieve the goal of "whole person education" that is a hallmark of agricultural education. …

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