From Celerifere to Tricycle: Using National Board for Professional Teaching Standards as a Tool to Steer Agricultural Education

By Bartholomew, Mike; Kidd, Dianiele | The Agricultural Education Magazine, March/April 2004 | Go to article overview

From Celerifere to Tricycle: Using National Board for Professional Teaching Standards as a Tool to Steer Agricultural Education


Bartholomew, Mike, Kidd, Dianiele, The Agricultural Education Magazine


In the late 160Os, a Frenchman invented the celerifere, consisting of a timber beam to which two in-line wheels were attached. This primitive bicycle did not have handlebars or a comfortable seat. The rider's feet pushing the wheels were the only energy source for momentum and steering. During 1865, pedals were applied to the front wheel of the two-wheeled velocipede. Five years later, the first chain-driven "bicycle" appeared with extra large wheels as manufacturers recognized that one rotation of the pedals resulted in extra distances. However, the rider sat high above the center of gravity and one quick stop of the front wheel caused the entire bicycle to rotate forward and flip the rider. While bicycle riders were risking broken necks, distinguished ladies and gentlemen took a spin on an adult "tricycle" without concern for injury since their weight was evenly balanced.

In many ways, the development of the tricycle parallels the progress of agricultural education. The passage of the Smith-Hughes Act in 1917 was the national answer to the public's demand for public schools to provide a practical-based education. Like the celerifere, which had two components, early agricultural education also consisted of two components: Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) and classroom/laboratory instruction. Today, the agricultural education model resembles a tricycle with a large front wheel consisting of classroom and laboratory instruction with two smaller supporting wheels of SAE and FFA(Retallick, 2003). In today's educational world, we need to make sure that our tricycle has all of the necessary parts to make it complete.

Just as the pedals improved the velocipede, early teacher training was profited by additional educational opportunities provided through summer institutes and supplemental in-service training. Teachers serve as the "pedals" of the tricycle - providing the momentum to carry out the total agricultural education program. Community assistance, through advisory and alumni collaboration, provides teachers with opportunities to have additional support, just as the seat on the bicycle provides reinforcement for the rider.

The cry for improved public education was revealed with the 1983 release of the report A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform. According to this report, business and military leaders complained they were required to spend millions of dollars on costly remedial education and training programs in such basic skills as reading and writing. Although our agricultural education tricycle has three wheels (classroom/lab, SAE, and FFA), pedals (teacher), and a seat (community support), something is still missing.

As a teaching profession, we are in need of national standards, or handlebars, to improve and steer the agricultural teaching profession, especially in the times of No Child Left j5e/z/ra/legislation. Consistent with No Child Left Behind, the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) places emphasis on parent involvement and promotes the retention of highly accomplished teachers. The NBPTS helps guide agricultural education professionals as they strive to move their "tricycle" through this time and throughout the 21st century.

Many teachers are already doing activities in their classrooms that meet the National Standards; however, they may not be aware that what they are doing can be used to show that they are meeting the expectations of accomplished teachers as set forth by the NBPTS. There are things that every agricultural educator can do to meet the standards. The NBPTS process is a yearlong performance-based assessment of actual teaching practices. Candidates submit a portfolio and videotapes that include analysis of classroom teaching and student learning. The thirteen standards of the National Board can be broken into the different elements of the tricycle model. Six elements are highlighted below:

The Front Wheel: Classroom/ Laboratory Instruction

* Standard II: Knowledge of Subject Matter

* Standard III: Learning Environment

* Standard V: Advancing Knowledge of Career and Technical Subject Matter

* Standard Vl: Assessment

* Standard Vl I: Workplace Readiness

Both Standards V and VII can be met by providing real-world, hands-on situations for students in the classroom/lab. …

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