Exploring Teaching Practices of the Agricultural Education at Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU)

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of this study was to understand the teaching practices of the Agriculture Faculty at Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU). This study is at the intersection of the critical assessment and examination of assumption and exploring options and plans stages of transformative learning theory (Mezirow, 2000) and the environment factor of Astin's I-E-O model. Previous studies showed that tertiary education of Bangladesh fails to develop critical thinking abilities among the students. Higher order teaching practices help to develop critical thinking abilities among the students. Thus, it is important to explore the level of teaching practices at the Agriculture Faculty of BAU to understand how it supports critical thinking abilities among the students. Graduates being able to use critical thinking skills to solve agricultural issues will increase total food production and reduce national poverty. This study was an instrumental single case study. Faculty of Agriculture of BAU was the unit of analysis for this study. The findings of this study were only generalizable to the Agriculture Faculty at BAU and only relevant for Summer 2020. The phenomenon of this study was teaching practices at the Agriculture Faculty of BAU. Data sources included a census survey of active faculty members and content analysis of course syllabi. Findings from this study suggested that both teaching methods and course learning outcomes of the courses of the Agriculture Faculty at BAU were related the lower order of Revised Bloom's Taxonomy (RevBT). Moreover, faculty members from biological science and engineering used more teaching practices from evaluating level of RevBT than social science disciplines. Evaluating level is considered as higher level of RevBT. Male faculty members also used more teaching practices related to analyzing level than female faculty members. Analyzing level is also considered as higher level of RevBT. Faculty members identified that they have lack of training, standard teaching resources to use higher order teaching practices. Moreover, they also said that students of the Agriculture Faculty at BAU are more interested in job preparation than classroom education. However, faculty members also felt that higher order teaching practices can improve the creativity and critical thinking abilities for students and brings enthusiasms in teaching. Faculty members recommended that BAU revise its curriculum, syllabi, and assessment strategies to create higher order teaching practices in classrooms. As a result of this study, there is opportunity for faculty to increase their use of higher order teaching practices and develop course outcomes that support higher order learning. In addition, the university should revise their existing curricula and assessment techniques and give more freedom to the faculty members to choose their teaching and assessment methods. Finally, training should be organized to support higher order teaching by female faculty members.

Teaching Practices, Bangladesh Agricultural University, LOTSHOTS tool, Assessment