Roberts, Richie, & Diane Montgomery (2017). Using epistemological positions and orientations to instruction to explore school-based, agricultural educators’ perceptual identities: A Q-sort study. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(1), 151-171. (Link:

Abstract: Mounting empirical evidence suggests the conflation of teachers’ instructional orientations and personal epistemological beliefs helps form the perceptual identity of educators. The current study, therefore, sought to describe in what way Oklahoma agricultural education teachers’ epistemological beliefs and orientations toward instruction combine to form the dominant perceptual identities of school-based, agricultural education (SBAE) instructors. To accomplish this, a Q methodological approach was employed. Findings revealed three key perceptual identities of SBAE instructors: Diligent Educator, Daring Educator, and Devoted Educator. Each perceptual identity stressed the importance of experiential learning. However, positions differed in how they believed experiential learning should be delivered to students. For example, Diligent Educators maintained that learning should involve a well-designed educational plan that stresses hard work. Devoted Educators, however, placed emphasis on nurturing students throughout the learning process. Meanwhile, Daring Educators contend knowledge is more fluid and self-constructed. Using Perry’s (1970) epistemological development scheme and Bowden’s (1990) conception of phenomenographic pedagogy, recommendations for praxis are offered for each perceptual identity.

Richie Roberts <> is in the Department of Agribusiness, Applied Economics, and Agriscience Education, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, NC (USA).

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