Swenson, R., McKay, T., & Steede, G. (2021). The agricultural communication SAE: A qualitative exploration of opportunities and teacher experiences. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(3), 275-291.https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.03275
This study explores teacher perceptions and experiences related to agricultural communication supervised agricultural experience (SAE) projects. Participation in agricultural communication SAEs remains low, despite growing career and post-secondary options in this area for students. To better understand agricultural communication SAE projects and to examine potential needs for resources and support, in-depth interviews with high school agricultural education teachers were conducted. Using qualitative open coding techniques to analyze interview data, this study identified characteristics of successful agricultural communication projects and student participants, motivations to participate in agricultural communication SAEs, limitations and challenges for teachers, and resources needed. We found interviewees were using a combination of internal and external motivators to reach potential students, specifically, internal motivational factors like customizable topics and transferable skills were mentioned along with more external factors like visibility, awards, and efficiency. We also identified barriers to agricultural communication SAE projects, including a lack of familiarity with agricultural communication principles and practices among teachers, misconceptions among students about the agricultural industry, confusing National FFA guidelines, and limited community and technology resources in some schools. This research results in recommendations for increasing teacher participation, enhancing student motivation, and better supporting agricultural communication SAE projects.