Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

NVATA: Choosing to Be the Best

Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

NVATA: Choosing to Be the Best

Article excerpt

In This Insider

The central theme for articles comprising this Insider is "new directions." Each of the authors describes a new thrust that will contribute to the continued success of agricultural education in the future. Since the book Megatrends was published in 1980, the subject of change has been at the forefront of many professional discussions. Vocational education has been very successful adapting to change in the past. However, we need to recognize that the pace of change has not diminished. We will be continually confronted with the need--and the opportunity--to anticipate and respond to changes.

Robert J. Birkenholz, field editor of this Insider, is associate professor of agricultural education at the University of Missouri.

NVATA: Choosing to Be the Best

MARSHALL STEWART

Why do professional teachers' associations exist? Does agricultural education need a professional teachers' association? Should teachers join their professional association?

To those of our profession who have been active in the National Vocational Agriculture Teachers' Association or other appropriate professional associations, these questions are not comfortable or popular. However, they should be asked periodically to force us to reconfirm our professional commitment and to re-think why we are in business. It is not wrong to ask these questions; it is wrong not to honestly answer them for ourselves and for those we serve.

NVATA was started in 1948 to advance agricultural education and promote the professional interests and growth of agriculture teachers. This noble purpose continues and has proven to be of great importance to the field's growth and success. However, as one looks down the road to the next century, it becomes increasingly important that the stage be set for another period of success and growth.

So, what are the key areas for NVATA to address if it is to successfully stay in business? What key functions must NVATA perform extremely well if it is to be considered valuable to its members?

First, NVATA must develop an expert knowledge of its customers--agriculture teachers. That knowledge must encompass middle school high school, postsecondary and teachers of adult students. That knowledge must cut across demographic, geographic, agricultural, gender and diversity lines. That knowledge must become so well developed that it can be used to forecast trends so that NVATA is not only meeting the needs of its customers but also confronting issues likely to arise in the future. …

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