Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Plant and Soil Science

First Advisor

Still, Steven


Agriculture teacher demographics continue to shift with an increase in early career and female teachers entering the profession. Female teachers have been shown to report lower student motivation and lower self-efficacy compared to males (Martin, 2006; Hastedt et al., 2021; Tran, 2015; Klaussen & Chiu, 2010). Within agricultural education, early career teachers have reported concerns with student motivation and self-efficacy (Stair et al., 2012; Blackburn & Robinson, 2008.) Even though student motivation has been identified as a major issue, student motivation and its effects on agriculture teachers have not been studied within agricultural education. The purpose of this study was to identify the current perceptions of female early career agriculture teachers in relation to student motivation. A grounded theory approach using semi-structured interviews was used in this qualitative study. An analysis of the data revealed that these teachers have difficulty motivating students in relation to SAE/FFA participation, valuing of the content, and classroom engagement and persistence. Teachers mentioned student teacher relationships, classroom management, and past success as factors that increase student motivation. Teachers also discussed the effects of low student motivation on their careers which included feelings of anxiety, stress, and questioning of ability. It is recommended that teachers in agricultural education focus on improving the adaptive dimensions of valuing of school and persistence. Additionally, stakeholders within agricultural education should offer professional development in the areas of student motivation and SAE implementation.




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