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Towards culturally relevant 4-H agriculture programming for urban youth: Identifying potential design principles and outcomes

Historical context of African Americans within agriculture has produced negative perceptions of agriculture within African American populations today. Furthermore, many minority youth who reside in urban areas are disconnected from agriculture because of lack of access, limiting contact to food production systems to consumption. In rural areas that are dedicated to agriculture and farming, youth can witness agricultural principles daily and many of them have lived experiences with agriculture. Non-formal educational programming such as 4-H is beneficial for exposing and including urban youth into agricultural educational programming. 4-H programs can connect with schools, after school programs and other youth organizations in urban areas to reach youth but the needs of this audience must be attended to. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand design principles that can be beneficial in increasing urban youth participation in 4-H agricultural programming while also utilizing culturally relevant pedagogy facets within 4-H programming. Seven 4-H agents were interviewed with individual and focus group interviews. Descriptive coding, in-vivo coding, and value coding methods were utilized during first cycle coding. Literature from Gloria Ladson-Billing's theory of culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) was utilized to frame the research questions, a priori table, and interview guides in the study. Findings from the study indicated that CRP facets were emerging in 4-H programming and within 4-H agents. Although, CRP facets are emergent, design principles for 4-H programs must be developed to ensure issues such as equity, diversity, and inclusion is represented throughout all 4-H programs. / Master of Science in Life Sciences / Utilizing 4-H programming to connect urban youth to agriculture education is an important concern for 4-H agents. Urban youth are disconnected from agriculture unlike rural youth. Agricultural educational programs can be embedded into urban communities to expose youth to agriculture. Non-formal educational programs such as 4-H are intended to reach all youth, providing youth opportunities to participate in STEM, robotics, agricultural, and sport activities. Although 4-H is a national program it does not have strong presence in many urban communities. Design principles of 4-H programming can be challenged and examined to assess and develop strategies that are useful in engaging urban youth in programming. Acknowledging 4-H programs as non-traditional for urban youth because of the historical context of oppression between African Americans and agriculture is important for change. Educational spaces where youth cultures are considered when developing programming are important. Culturally relevant pedagogy is a framework that focuses on being culturally relevant in educational spaces by considering how teachers interact with students. The framework challenges teacher's ability to consider academic success, youth culture, and critical consciousness within instruction. This framework is important for youth being at the center of educational efforts for their success. Agents participated in two interviews one individual and one focus group. The interviews focused on agent experiences and opinions about 4-H programming efforts to successfully engage urban youth, agent strategies, and success and failures of processes within 4-H programming. Findings indicated that facets of CRP are emergent in 4-H programming, and agents discussed new design principles for successful engagement of urban youth.
Date11 February 2022
CreatorsWilson, Jordan Latrice
ContributorsAgricultural, Leadership, and Community Education, Scherer, Hannah H., Archibald, Thomas G., Owens, Courtney T.
PublisherVirginia Tech
Source SetsVirginia Tech Theses and Dissertation
Detected LanguageEnglish
FormatETD, application/pdf
RightsIn Copyright,

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