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TeacherFX - Building the Capacity of STEM, Agriculture and Digital Technologies Teachers in Western Australia

Author: Cosby, A., Manning, J., Trotter M.

Organisation: Institute for Future Farming Systems, School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, CQUniversity, Rockhampton QLD

Published: January 2019

Country: Australia.

Research type: Report.

Whilst agriculture is Australia’s fastest growing industry, the negative perception of career opportunities by high school students and the lack of educator confidence in teaching about food and fibre concepts is a major issue currently faced by the sector. The Teacher Farm Experience (TeacherFX), a joint program of Rabobank’s Western Australia Client Council and CQUniversity Australia, aims to increase awareness, knowledge and appreciation of the agricultural industry. This free two-day program designed for teachers entailed visiting four farms in the Great Southern region of WA on the first day and professional learning on the second day. Pre- and post- event surveys were conducted to gain baseline information on the participants, their perceptions of agriculture, quality of learning materials and reaction to the experience. Additional support in the form of professional development and networking opportunities was identified as required to assist teachers to implement learnings from TeacherFX. Event survey results were overwhelmingly positive, with 100% of teachers recommending their colleagues attend a future event. However, whether this positive result will translate to change in the classroom is unknown. Additional research needs to be conducted to measure the long-term impact of the program.