Characterizing "Good" Teaching in Nonformal Settings
North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal
Characteristics of good teaching in formal settings have been thoroughly debated, yet research documenting effective teaching in non-formal settings is lacking. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe what constitutes "good" teaching in non-formal settings. Six Extension specialists representing two land grant institutions were interviewed using a semistructured approach. Results indicate that key differences exist between effective teaching in formal versus non-formal settings. From the interview data, five domains of "good" teaching in non-formal settings emerged: "Good" teaching is (1) grounded in relationships, (2) flexible and adaptive, (3) identifiable in audience non-verbals, (4) similar to theater, and (5) mastering the fundamentals. An understanding of these domains can enrich the overall teaching and learning experience in non-formal settings. Also, Extension literature suggests mastering successful non-formal teaching is critical in fostering agent career retention. Given the connection between successful non-formal teaching and agent retention, Extension agents in particular should receive professional development trainings addressing these five domains.
Brain, R.G., Fuhrman, N.E., & De Lay, A.M. (2009). Characterizing “good” teaching in nonformal settings. NACTA Journal 53(3), 50-55.