Identifying the characteristics, uses, perceptions, and barriers of the school farm



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Due to the increasing gap between the general public and production agriculture there is an increasing need for agricultural education taught utilizing the experiential learning theory. The experiential learning theory is directly imbedded within the agricultural education model. The school farm provides a venue for practical application (laboratory instruction) of principles learned in the classroom. The purpose of this study was to determine the barriers that agricultural science teachers, face when pre-planning laboratory experiences on the school farm. The target population for this study included secondary agricultural science teachers, who have or previously have utilized a school farm as part of their classroom instruction. This study used a descriptive, quantitative research design consisting of an in-depth questionnaire distributed to a random sample of Texas agricultural science teachers. School farms vary in their characteristics, enterprises, structure, and uses. The study indicated that school farms are within a few miles of the classroom, less then 14 acres, and have been well establish for over twenty years. The available resources are primarily for livestock and general shop. The school farms are utilized for the housing of livestock projects and for SAE activities. Agricultural science teachers view the school farm as a place for SAEs. The overall outlook of school farms is positive. Teachers identified important factors when pre-planning activities on the school farm which include: facilities, students attitude, finances, condition of the school farm, ability to oversee and help with the activity, and student experience. There are many potential barriers that could inhibit teachers from pre-planning activities on the school farm.



School farm, Land laboratories, Feeding facilities, Three circle model, Experiential learning theory, Hands-on learning