Serving to Learn: Increasing Agriculture Students Self-Efficacy Through Service-Learning




service, agricultural mechanics, experiential, Habitat for Humanity


Service learning is a form of experiential learning that helps students be able to both apply concepts and provide a benefit to an organization, individual, or group other than the learner. The lack of efficacy of our students with the complex skills learned in many agriculture courses brings about a sense of fear and trepidation in students that can cause them to either not engage with the material/skill or do so in an ineffective manner. Service learning was used in a course that has had low levels of efficacy associated to help motivate students to learn and practice the skills being taught. Students in an agricultural mechanics course engaging in activities with Habitat for Humanity progressed through Bandura’s four types of learning experiences integral to the efficacious establishment of a behavior in two directions. Using Constant Comparative method to analyze the reflections of the students it was determined that they progressed through the activity from the perspective of students, moving from the least to most efficacious. They then, with no prompting, reflected backwards from the perspective of most to least efficacious as they began to reflect on how they would facilitate communicating or teaching these same concepts to novices.


Download data is not yet available.


Alcoff, L., & Potter, E. (2013). Feminist epistemologies. New York, NY: Routledge.

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Bear, W. F., & Hoerner, T.A. (1986). Planning, organizing and teaching agricultural mechanics. St. Paul, MN: Hobar Publications

Blackburn, J. J., Robinson, J. S., & Field, H. (2015). Preservice agriculture teachers’ perceived level of readiness in an agricultural mechanics course. Journal of Agricultural Education, 56(1), 172-187, doi:10.5032/jae.2015.01172

Bringle, R. G., & Hatcher, J. A. (1995). A service-learning curriculum for faculty. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 2(1), 112-122.

Bringle, R. G., & Hatcher, J. A. (1999). Reflection in service learning: making meaning or experience. Educational Horizons, 179-185.

Burris, S., Robinson, J. S., & Terry Jr., R. (2005). Preparation of preservice teachers in agricultural mechanics. Journal of Agricultural Education, 46(3), 23–34.

Carver, R. L. (1997). Theoretical underpinnings of service learning. Theory into practice, 36(3), 143-149.

Crawford, P., Lang, S., Fink, W., Dalton, R., & Fielitz, L. (2011). Comparative analysis of soft skills: What is important for new graduates. Washington, DC: Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Duncan, D. W., Ricketts, J. C., Peake, J. B., & Uesseler, J. (2006). Teacher preparation and in service needs of Georgia agriculture teachers. Journal of Agricultural Education, 47(2), 24-35.

Habitat for Humanity. (ND). Habitat for humanity FAQ.

Harlin, J. F., Roberts, T. G., Dooley, K. E., & Murphrey, T. P. (2007). Knowledge, skills, and abilities for agricultural science teachers: A focus group approach. Journal of Agricultural Education, 48(1), 86-96.

Hasselquist, L., & Kitchel, T. (2018). Managerial Perspectives of Listening in the Agricultural Workforce. NACTA Journal, 62(1), 55-60.

Hatcher, J. A., & Bringle, R. G. (1997). Reflection: Bridging the gap between service and learning. College teaching, 45(4), 153-158.

Hays, A. R. (2002). Habitat for Humanity: Building social capitol through faith-based service. Journal of Urban Affairs, 24(3), 247-269.

Hughes, M., & Barrick, R. K. (1993). A model for agricultural education in public schools. Journal of Agricultural Education, 34(3), 59-67.

Jones, S. M., Bouffard, S. M., & Weissbourd, R. (2013). Educators’ social and emotional skills vital to learning. Phi Delta Kappan, 94(8), 62-65.

Kraft, R. J. (1996). Service learning: An introduction to its theory, practice, and effects. Education and urban society, 28(2), 131-59.

Lesley, M.K. 2014. Policy, pedagogy, and research: Three issues affecting content area literacy courses for secondary-level teacher candidates. Literacy Research and Instruction., 53(1): 50-71. 0/19388071.2013.826761.

Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. New Park, CA: Sage.

McKim, A. J., & Valez, J. J. (2016). An evaluation of the self-efficacy theory in agricultural education. Journal of Agricultural Education. 57(1). 73-90.

Robinson, J. S., Garton, B. L., & Vaughn, P. R. (2007). Becoming employable: A look at graduates’ and supervisors’ perceptions of the skills needed for employability. NACTA Journal, 51(2), 19-26.

Rudolphi, J., & Retallick, M. S. (2015). Agricultural safety and health education: Practices, attitudes, and needs of Iowa Agricultural Educators. NACTA Journal, 59(3), 174-179.

Saucier, P. R., & McKim, B. R. (2011). Assessing the Learning Needs of Student Teachers in Texas regarding Management of the Agricultural Mechanics Laboratory: Implications for the Professional Development of Early Career Teachers in Agricultural Education. Journal of Agricultural Education, 52(4), 24-43.

Stoddart, H., & Rogerson, C. M. (2004). Volunteer tourism: The case of habitat for humanity South Africa. GeoJournal, 60(3), 311-318.

Williams, N. R., King, M., & Koob, J. J. (2002). Social Work Students Go to Camp: The Effects of Service Learning on Perceived Self-Efficacy. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 22(3/4), 55–70.

Additional Files



How to Cite

McKibben, J., Hyjeck, A., Clemons, C., Hancock, G., & Yopp, A. (2024). Serving to Learn: Increasing Agriculture Students Self-Efficacy Through Service-Learning. NACTA Journal, 68(1).