Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Motivating Students through Responsibility and Trust

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

Motivating Students through Responsibility and Trust

Article excerpt

The Conrad Weiser Agriculture Department was instituted 50 years ago. During these past 50 years, a high degree of integrity has been established. Mr. Miller and Mr. Edwards are the present teachers and advisors of the department. They understand the extent of the hard work that was put into the formation of this prestigious department. Yet, they do not successfully manage an agriscience program alone. They have created a program to create student ownership and motivate excellence. Teaching Laboratory Assistants (TLA) are selected to uphold the integrity of the department and to present upperclassmen with an opportunity to manage an area of the department. TLAs must meet high requirements and pass rigorous interviews to be appointed to such a position of responsibility.

Rigorous Expectations

Mr. Miller and Mr. Edwards have the massive task of teaching underclassmen about the various fields of agriculture as well as how the department operates. As underclassmen, we are encouraged to study many fields of science and agriculture and eventually pin down a specific interest. Development of excellent communication skills is highly stressed. The rigors of the department are often too much for the majority of students, and only a small percentage usually continue onto the next level of instruction. TLAs are the culmination of this 'weeding out' as Mr. Miller would put it.

The TLA serves the department as a laboratory assistant, and manages a specific area and teaches some basic lesson to underclassmen. As a student, we must increase our knowledge in a particular field of interest. Agriculture students first encounter TLAs as freshmen. When we were underclassmen, we understood that each TLA was an upperclassman that had displayed a great interest in the department, but were never quite sure why anyone would want to take on such a harsh workload. …

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