Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 93, Issue 5, pp 1659–1671 | Cite as

Agroforestry education for high school agriculture science: an evaluation of novel content adoption following educator professional development programs

  • Hannah HemmelgarnEmail author
  • Michael Gold
  • Anna Ball
  • Hank Stelzer


High school agriculture science programs are recognized as meaningful arenas to reach young agriculture professionals as they gain a foundational understanding of their field. Agroforestry content is largely lacking in high school agriculture science classrooms, despite its relevance to modern advancements in agricultural sustainability for economic, environmental, and social resilience. Due to the contextual nature of content adoption by agricultural educators, the curriculum implementation process for novel content is dependent on an understanding of teacher learning, teacher self-efficacy, professional development, and curriculum modification. This collective case study of agroforestry professional development for and content adoption among participating Missouri high school agricultural educators provides insight into the potential for the integration of agroforestry content in high school agriculture programs using a mixed methods approach. While substantial growth in expected classroom hours dedicated to agroforestry resulted from these professional development events, identified complexities of the teacher and student learning context necessitate alternative approaches to engage teachers and students in previously unfamiliar agroforestry content. The importance of teacher-learning support networks and experiential learning in curriculum and professional development emerged as major themes for effective agroforestry content implementation.


Curriculum Teacher learning Case study Pedagogical content knowledge Teacher self-efficacy 



This work was funded through the Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri under Cooperative Agreements 58-6227-9-059 with the USDA-ARS. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the USDA.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for AgroforestryUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Agriculture Education and LeadershipUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri ExtensionUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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