The purpose of this study was to explore the connections between experiential learning and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in preservice agriculture teachers. More specifically, utilizing a conceptual model for teacher development as a framework, this research sought to explore the development of the knowledge bases needed for teaching through experiential learning opportunities, and examine how preservice teachers apply personal amplifiers and filters to develop PCK for teaching agricultural content. In addition, the importance of reflective observation (RO) and abstract conceptualization (AC) to the development of PCK was considered.The purposefully selected target population for this study included all preservice agriculture teachers at Oregon State University during the 2016-2017 school year (N = 10). Three sources of qualitative data were collected and analyzed for this study. Field notes, lesson plans, and interview transcripts worked in conjunction with one another to offer a comprehensive look at preservice agriculture teachers’ development of PCK. Context emerged as an important theme for describing the lived experiences of these preservice agriculture teachers. The context in which participants learned content and the context in which they planned for and taught content for student understanding were both evident, and quite different. The felt need to learn emerged as an important component within the context for learning. Context for teaching was shaped by three sub-themes that emerged from the data: the subject matters, context as a filter, and classroom environment. In general, it was evident the participants had begun developing PCK, although it was unclear as to whether or not they could identify their own PCK, a common occurrence among preservice teachers. However, without an understanding of the conceptual framework or the PCK model, participants were unable to explain how they were merging content knowledge and pedagogical practices. Additionally, it is reasonable to assume the participants were only engaging in reflective practice because they were prompted to do so during the interviews. While the study provided evidence of the connections between experiential learning and PCK, along with the importance of reflective observation and abstract conceptualization to the development of expertise in teaching agriculture, findings support further exploration into the connections between experiential learning and PCK.In order for the conceptual framework to be useful, it is recommended that it be included as a guiding framework for student teacher preparation programs. Preservice teachers would need to be educated on the framework and given the tools to move beyond simply reflecting, to conceptualizing how educational and personal experiences can be used for breaking down content for student understanding.
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