Engaging Values in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Education: Toward an Explicitly Values-Based Pedagogical Approach
AbstractAgriculture education programs that provide integrative learning experiences that reflect the complexities, values, and challenges inherent to sustainable agriculture and food systems (SAFS) continue to evolve as faculty, staff, and students implement, experience, and modify them. Higher education institutions, especially land-grant universities, have strengths that position them to implement transformative learning and action methodologies. In this article we explore the principles, approaches, and practices consistent with integrative learning and a values-based pedagogical approach to curriculum design and teaching specific to SAFS. By a values-based pedagogical approach, we mean paying explicit attention to the values that (1) underpin different agricultural and food systems and their governance, (2) inform and shape educational strategies and experiences, and (3) are held by different individuals in various encounters in the learning environment. A values-based approach to SAFS curriculum development, teaching, and integrative learning is dynamic rather than static. We provide illustrations of practices across the education "life-cycle" — curriculum design, implementation, and evaluation — that have used values-based pedagogy to guide the development, modification, and strengthening of SAFS curricula. Finally, we discuss some limitations and issues that arise when using such pedagogical frameworks. We conclude by challenging educators to focus on connecting values relevant to SAFS with innovative curricular practices that allow emergence of new ways of teaching, learning, and knowing for all.
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