The debate about the socio-economic and environmental challenges associated with conventionalsystems in the U.S.A. in the 1980s vis-a-vis sustainable agriculture (SA) has included the definition of SA, the role of education in addressing the challenges and what should be taught about SA in high school and beyond. Proponents of SA claim education about SA can facilitate solutions to the current problems in agriculture, stimulate rural economic development and enrich scientific teaching of SA (Feldman, 1999ï¼› Sanstone, 2003/2004). The purpose of this study was to identify the beliefs of high school agriculture teachers about SA, and determine if any relationship about beliefs and the extent teachers teach SA exists. A random sample of 844 teachers in the North Central Region (U.S.A.) was sent questionnaires with 5-point Likert-type scales. Cronbach’s coefficients for the instrument ranged from .74-.95. Teachers agreed to concepts about SA and taught selected topics in SA to a moderate extent. There was a positive but negligible association between teachers’ beliefs about SA and the extent to which teachers taught selected topics in SA. Beliefs about SA uniquely explained no variance in the extent teachers taught selected SA topics controlling for the demographic variables. Teacher perceptions about SA practices influence minimally but significantly the extent teachers teach selected topics in SA. Selected topics that teachers rated highest (p<ï¼› 0.5) regarding the extent to which these topics were taught included: soil testing, crop rotation, food safety, water quality, and use of animal manure. Teachers taught to a relatively high extent topics related to ecological and dimensions of SA as compared to topics with economic dimensions. Topics that teachers taught and rated lowest in the extent to which these topics were taught included: row banding of herbicides, narrow strip intercropping, and use of nitrification inhibitor. Results of this study indicated that agriculture teachers in the North Central Region do not include much about SA in their curriculum. Further investigations into the barriers regarding infusion of sustainable agriculture into the curriculums would help explain what is required to enhance instruction in this subject matter area.
|Title||Sustainable agriculture and the perceptions of high school agriculture teachers in the North Central Region of the United States|
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