Joye Thorne a veteran teacher said the teacher must understand the basic needs that drive a students’ motivation like the need to succeed, to belong, stimulation, attention, power, and love.  In truth all of those factors can motivate a person to learn.  However as an educator, we must look at the students emotional and survival needs to understand their motivation or lack of.  People can be motivated by success, attention, belonging or even love; these are all emotional desires that manifest into drive.  Some people are motivated by the need to survive.  For example lack of food, safe or unstable living condition, or no parental involvement could be a motivator to survive.  Once the students’ basic needs are understood, the motivation to learn can be catered to fit the learner.  This requires observing, and investigating what the student needs are.  The emotional and survival needs effect the motivation in children and adults learners.  The adult learner may be motivated to learn to get a better job, and income for their family.  The young learner may be motivated to learn because they were promised a reward if they mastered a competence.  Ultimately motivation in people vary, and as an educator the practice of learning the emotional and survival needs of the student will better equip the educator to meet the need of the learner while teaching competences.

In trying to motivate people to learn the educator must invest time in knowing the overall desires of the learner.  It is not enough to have a student in a classroom and not work to understand why they are there.  To incorporate the motivational needs of students into the educator list of daily to- do’s seem mundane, but to not consider the students motivation to learn further perpetuates the attitude that educators are teaching for reasons other than student  achievement and  success.  For motivation to be an educational factor, educators must be observant of the students driving forces.  This requires a certain level of empathy that educators must try to understand about their students of all ages.

Thorne suggest the motivation students need to be successful should be through mastery rather than learning information or a skill in the moment.  The learners’ motivation to master a competence also correlates with experiential learning and desire to learn for life.  The educator should truly look at trying to connect with the students’ interest and or create interest that can kick-start or introduce motivational goals for success.

People have driving forces that motivate them, and I believe that my success as an educator will depend on my ability to tap into the students’ needs.  I know it is not possible to know every motivating factor that drives each student, but to invest, connect, and build visible pathway to success is crucial for me to show my students.

The demonstration method in agricultural education and extension is parallel in the importance and use.  Seaman Knapp considered the father of Extension once said what a man hears, he may doubt; what he sees he may also doubt; but what he does, he cannot doubt which suggest that it is not enough to explain, or show to impact the learner.  In demonstration the learner must actually “do” or experience the concept, and more importantly be able to apply what is learned.  The demonstration method is especially relevant in agricultural education and extension work.  This method is user-friendly, and can be inviting to adults, and exciting for youth.  Demonstration methods laid the foundation for extension work.  The rural farmer and family still benefits from the development of the extension agent and system.

The demonstration method has evolved since Knapp’s famous boll weevil project in 1903.  Knapps’ work in helping cotton farmers in Texas eradicate the boll weevil epidemic paved the way for the creation of cooperative extension.  With the evolution of demonstration, and the technology age, Knapp’s demonstrations method has advanced into a viable network of resources farmers rely on.  Knapp’s demonstrations were based on tested farm experiments’, however the extension agents of today rely on the  small farm stations at land-grant colleges, USDA research and technological innovations to distribute new practices relevant to farmers today.  Knapp recognized the need to expand extension education and demonstration to the rural communities that lacked resources through encouraging agricultural programs and schools for the youth.  There was no gain if the adult farmers were educated about the latest in agriculture, but the youth were not, Knapp questioned how the work would carry on.  Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver were working at the same time to get agricultural education to blacks through the development of the movable school.  This was a wagon outfitted with the latest innovations in farming that could be demonstrated for black farmers.  Knapp had worked with Carver at Iowa University and was also acquainted with Washington and saw a great value in the Movable school, and the need to expose black farmers to advances in agriculture.  Although the Cooperative Extension system was segregated, Knapp saw the importance in disseminating agricultural information and new practices to the masses.

The demonstration method is not a representation of one method,  but more of a compilation of several methods.  In implementing a demonstration the type of knowledge the applicant will  learn should be considered.  The level of audience participation is crucial in presenting an effective demonstration. And the desired outcome must be in the forefront in making provisions in planning and implementation.  The correlation between demonstration and modern education is distinct in that Common Core standards emphasis real world application that will be useful in college or a career.  The hands-on element in demonstration is relevant in any classroom. The demonstration method is not a practical method to use exclusively but can be very engaging if properly planned and executed.

Although demonstration is not ideal in every lesson, I will work to incorporate demonstration often  to expose the students to the benefits  in agricultural education, and the power of learning for life.  My use of demonstration will be apparent in the students level of engagement and willingness to participate, through assessment and the students level of enjoyment while learning.

The experiential learning theory helps the student to focus, have an experience, reflect on the observation, and then form a generalization about the experience.  The most integral part of the EL process forces the student to make generalizations, and then re-test them.  This learning method moves as a cycle, which promotes life learning because the student will continue to ponder and re-test the experience.   The “learning by doing” process is a tried and true method in which John Dewey developed.  He believed in promoting practical life skills that are relevant to the students’ lives.  Experiential learning is a perfect method to use in agricultural education.  The EL learning theory engages the student by introducing a real and tangible experience.  Agricultural education has a unique link to this method in that the student can learn through guided experiences within agriculture; for example a greenhouse, lab, or even a farm.

The EL theory also faced criticism because some educators believed that by allowing the student to engage in a non-traditional experiences would hinder or disrupt the authority of the teacher and the classroom.  The traditionally structured classroom, with regimented reading and retention poses to stifle the students thinking and ability to experience agriculture.  Agriculture is naturally connected to life, and growth which happens as a cycle.  The EL method also weaves the student’s experience in a cycle in which the student carries for life.

Schank (1995) suggest that school is not a natural process; students attend school because they have to, but to have something or an experience that causes the student to learn will create genuine motivation.   The student can experience agriculture by actively caring for plants or livestock but if the student is only shown this amazing cycle of growth in a text-book inside of a classroom, they will lose the value of learning by doing.

Although teaching will require the use of several learning methods, the experiential learning theory will be used most frequently in my classroom.  I believe this method will be an essential practice in my agricultural education classroom because the students will identify the non-traditional learning opportunities and be intrigued.  By introducing the students to experiential learning, they will continue to learn and re-test their experiences and knowledge for life.


The Cooperative Extension program offers services that benefit rural and urban communities.  The programs cater to the development of agriculture, youth, natural resources, consumer science, leadership, and economic and community development.  The programs services are a safety net to many people.  Through a local cooperative extension, youth work to improve their quality of life for themselves and community.  Many young people participate in 4-H, which provides them with leadership, mentoring, and agriculture experiences.  The role of cooperative extension is to educate important information regarding agriculture and consumer science, and encourage the implementation of such vital information.  The United States Department of Agriculture federally funds the Cooperative extension system, along with land grant universities.  With this unique partnership, the cooperative extension and counties in each state are able to effectively communicate relevant agricultural information.

There are many challenges the cooperative extension program and agents face when dealing with the communities they service.  Sometimes the agents are stretched thin, and are required to service multiple counties.  The extension agent has to be available for in person visits to many of the families and farms regularly. Insufficient technology relevant to farmers’ circumstances was a major constraint in many services, and was particularly prevalent in resource-poor environments. Regardless of the extension system used, a supply of appropriate technology is essential if extension investments are to be worthwhile.  Living in age of technology, the proper exposure to funding, equipment, and training are essential to the 21wt century farmer, and agriculture as a whole.

According to van der Ban and Harkins, the goals of agricultural extension include transferring information from the global knowledge base and from local research to farmers, enabling them to clarify their own goals and possibilities, educating them on how to make better decisions, and stimulating a desirable agricultural development.  The cooperative extension system is a safety net for the farmer and agricultural urban developer.  The unique program cooperative extension offers is an added value, and incentive to be in agriculture.

In my opinion, cooperative extension and their agents are a great necessity. I have had the opportunity to meet, the agent in my county.  The agent provided valuable feedback, and advice on many issues my farm is facing.  I look forward to using the cooperative extension system to help further the development of the farm, and my community. 

There are many ways to experience agriculture outside of the classroom.  The importance of giving your students a positive outlet to grow, produce, and promote agriculture is essential in all Agricultural Education programs.  I am currently working on a Greenhouse project with several graduate students.  We are growing 1500 poinsettia at the greenhouse on Tennessee State University’s farm.  This poinsettia project has exposed me to the importance of offering Agricultural Education students opportunities that will get them involved and outside of the classroom.  The demands of growing anything in a greenhouse are regimented, concise, and require responsible students.  The poinsettia project would be a valuable experience even to a novice.  There is positive research in the effect of the use of greenhouse projects in secondary agricultural education.  According to Newcomb (2004), Successful student performance requires the appropriate learning environment. In agricultural education, this environment may be a specialized laboratory such as an agricultural mechanics shop, school farm, biotechnology laboratory, computer technology center, or greenhouse laboratory facility.

The students will enjoy working together, with a common goal; that will produce amazing poinsettias.  The poinsettias project can be used to expose students to research, data collecting, and the importance of accuracy in reporting data.

The use of a greenhouse project will help students feel a since of accomplishment by their classmates, faculty, and staff especially if the project is profitable for the school and or Ag-Ed organization.  The visible outcome of the greenhouse project will be a beautiful reminder of the students’ dedication and potential to want to participate in future agriculture projects.  To learn how to grow plants and food enriches the students’ lives, and exposes then to economic sustainability.  Consider,, an urban research-based educational program in St. Louis, Mo. that is using Agriculture to promote self-sufficiency, economic stability, and community evolvement.

The conditions for working in a greenhouse are not ideal for everyone, and I would anticipate some students would not like this project.  There are several factors that could drive the students away from a greenhouse such as, temperatures, daily/weekly watering, planting, presence and commitment.

Overall the students benefit highly from greenhouse projects because it gives them ownership and independence to be able to work in small groups or alone.  The work involved in a student greenhouse project could be an excellent catalyst for exposing student to their own leadership potential.Image

Welcome to my blog!!  Hope you enjoy my exciting adventures in Agriculture.