Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Keeping It Real!

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Keeping It Real!

Article excerpt

As we prepare today's agricultural students and FFA members for the future we often find that our textbooks and curricula are not in tune with current, real world problems. The agricultural and natural resources sector is changing so rapidly that even industry professionals are challenged to keep up with new information. We know that today's students will face many challenges in their lifetimes and the authentic learning offered via the Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) program can better prepare them to meet these real world challenges.

How do you see your role as a teacher in conducting SAE programs? Are you an instructor? A guide perhaps? Is your role to facilitate your students' learning or is it to control what they learn, releasing pearls of wisdom to them one by one from your personal treasure chest of knowledge? Or do you regard yourself as a manager, organizing your students' time and activities? The reality for many agricultural teachers will probably be that they adopt most of these roles at some stage, either within a single SAE visit or within their overall role in conducting SAE programs. Different situations demand different solutions, and challenges arise when an inappropriate solution is applied to a particular situation.

It has been my experience that these challenges cause even the best agricultural teacher to stop and question how anyone can function effectively in such a situation. But many have and continue to do so.

Articles in this issue of The Agricultural Education Magazine tackle these overriding and sometimes overwhelming challenges that agricultural teachers encounter in conducting SAE programs. Specifically, the authors illustrate the multitude of daily executive decisions that agricultural teachers contribute to a student's SAE, and offer excellent suggestions, ideas and practices to advance your role in conducting SAE programs.

Nevertheless, in spite of all your education, training and dedication, sometimes it may feel as though you are on auto-pilot, taking action without taking time for thoughtfully planned rationales and interventions. On such days, you may be working in the mode described by Judith Guest in her book, Ordinary People, "Get the motions right and the motives will follow. …

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