The influence of pre-service teachers education abroad experience in Choluteca, Honduras on internationalizing agricultural education curriculum
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership Honors Theses; 2019
There is very little known concerning how teachers internationalize agricultural education curriculum after participating in a global experience. Previous research has stated that agriculture teacher candidates displayed growth, gaining skills and knowledge towards becoming a global competent citizen following an education abroad experience in South Korea (Foster, 2014). However, this was a short-term experience with only pre-service educators and no follow-up on how their classroom curriculum content was initiated. Although we know an education abroad experience for pre-service teachers has professional and personal outcomes, I argue the process, if present, on a teacher’s presentation of classroom curriculum is valuable to high school students who are part of an increasingly global world. The researcher seeks to determine how teachers internationalize agricultural education curriculum after participating in a global experience. The researcher conducted a qualitative study, interviewing 10 current agricultural educators who attended a short-term international experience focused on community development in Choluteca, Honduras either as a pre-service agricultural educator, or current agricultural educator. The purpose of this constructivist study is to determine how teachers internationalize agricultural education curriculum after participating in a global experience. The central question guiding the study is: How do agriculture teachers internationalize their curriculum? The data was collected by voice recording participants and transcribing, as well as taking field notes and collecting teaching documents related to international agriculture, if available. Based on the transcripts the researcher formulated themes. One of the three main themes showed the researcher that participants in the study needed external motivation such as grades or professor persuasion to initially travel abroad. However, after their first trip, the motive for participants was to return abroad and to bring their students, an internal motive. Another theme revealed in the data was the effects of culture shock on teachers, many still struggle on their journey to culturally competency and spoke of witnessing poverty and experiencing gratitude with their students. However, these teachers had difficulty incorporating international agriculture as full on curricular change, referring only to examples from their experience as one-time, stereotypical events in the classroom. Lastly, many teachers had a difficult time elaborating and articulating the learning outcomes of their experience and specific examples of international agriculture in their classrooms, although all mentioned talking about their experience with students. The findings support several notions in the literature such as Conner and Roberts (2013), and Pence and MacGilivray (2006), who found if teachers are not globally competent, they won’t prepare their students to be globally competent. Willard-Holt (2001) concluded teachers are less prone to prejudge students based on cultural background, linguistic difference, and learning disability after participating in a teaching experience abroad. In addition, these pre-service educators demonstrated a desire to become more globally aware and instill this attitude in their own students afterwards. All educators had a desire to become more aware of international agriculture and use it in their classrooms, a lot of them didn’t know how or where to start. From the findings I recommend further research on the implementation process of curricular change to incorporate internationalized perspectives, as well as the ability of agriscience educators to internationalize curriculum after multiple exposures to other cultures. For many educators, they had rural backgrounds and limited travel experience, making their time abroad eye-opening and full of culture shock, perhaps after the shock has worn off they would be better able to focus on the agriculture industry surrounding them. Further research could also be conducted on the cultural competency of agricultural educators and the need for training to create global classroom environments.
2nd Place Social Sciences Category, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Academic Major: Agriscience Education