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1 THE MECHANICS OF REF LECTION: METHODS AND OUTCOMES OF REFLECTION IN AN AGR ICULTURAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM By AVERY L CULBERTSON A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILL MENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013
2 2013 Avery L. Culbertson
3 To Class V III
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS A dissertation and the entire PhD experience for tha t matter, is a group effort and a group accomplishment No one succeeds in this endeavor on their own, and toward the end of their experience, they realize how many people helped along the way I would be remiss not to recognize and thank my committee: Dr. Hannah S. Carter, Dr. Grady Roberts, Dr. Nicole Stedman, Dr. Sebastian Galindo, and Dr. Al Wysocki. I appreciate each of them as their advice has been helpful; encouragement, gratifying; and expertise, humbling Dr. Carter has become so much more than an academic advisor I thank her for her advice, inexhaustible patience, and example. I admire her as a professor, executive director and woman in agriculture. Dr. Stedman taught me about the field of leadership and showed me how to be a better teacher. Dr. G alindo sp ent countless hours teaching me to be a better methodologist. Dr Wysocki has a deep passion for agriculture and the land grant system which is both contagious and something to learn from. Finally, I thank Dr. Roberts for his friendship, instructi on timely humor and encouragement. As a result of my experience in Florida, I am a better person. I cannot thank him enough for convincing me to take this journey I am blessed to have gained a family in Florida and t here were certa in individuals that br ought value to this experience. Those that shared the graduate student experience with me made these three and a half years both enjoyable and endurable. I appreciate every one of them especially, Chris Estepp, Micah Scanga, Quisto Sett le, Eric Rubinstein Joy Rumble Jessica Blythe, Jessica Gouldthorpe, Angie Lindsey, and McKenzie Smith Thank you for your friendsh ip com ic relief gracious feedback and the constant reminder to keep this all in perspective. Additionally, while being here in Florida I was very proud to be associated with four very special people: Elio and Christy
5 Chiarelli and Kevan and Alexa Lamm I value their guidance passion, courage, and friendship. Without a doubt, I know I was supposed to be here and God ha d specifically chosen th i s plan for me. It was challenging and sometimes lonely. T wo families walked with me during the entire process. I am so thankful for the lifelong friendship I have with Chris and Joy Estepp and Greg and Beverly Evans. As I conclude this journey, I realize that t he main reason I came to Gaines ville was t o find my home in Christ. Through their ministry and counsel I grew and thrived throughout the experience What I have learned as a result of these three years cannot be recognized through a piece of paper, but through a deeper understanding of faith, mercy and grace. One of the hardest decisions I had to make was to leave home. My family has provided support every step of this process as they have in every o ther endeavor Since leaving New Mexico ords echoed through my head daily Through his example I learned the value of taking initiative, serving others, and working hard Myles, Georgia, Meredith, Matt and Randie are my toughest coaches, loudest cheerleaders, and most valued advis ors. The days that I no longer wanted to continue the fight they got on their knees and fought for me. Sophia and Harlan are my laughter, hope, and motivation My family is most important and t hey are more than I could ever describe on paper. Finally, I h ave to thank the t hirty individuals who inspired the dedication of this research. I was so blessed to work with Class V III I thank them for their openness, honesty, willing participation and inspiration I am blessed by their friendship, caring hearts and belief in this industry. These individuals and countless others who take the
6 risk of leadership will be the ones to carry the industry forward and ensure it stays II Tim othy 1 :7 NKJV
7 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 10 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 11 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ........................... 12 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 14 Background of the Study ................................ ................................ ......................... 17 Agricultural Leadership Programs ................................ ................................ .... 17 Experiential Learning and Reflection ................................ ................................ 18 Research Problem ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 20 Purpose and Objectives of the Study ................................ ................................ ...... 21 Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ........................ 21 Overv iew of Methodology ................................ ................................ ....................... 23 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 24 Assumptions ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 24 Definitions of Key Terms ................................ ................................ ......................... 25 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 26 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................................ ................................ .................... 27 Ove rview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 27 Theoretical Framework ................................ ................................ ........................... 27 Adult Learning ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 27 Experiential Learning ................................ ................................ ........................ 29 Constructivism ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 34 Reflection ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 36 Critical Reflection ................................ ................................ ............................. 40 Conceptual Model ................................ ................................ ............................ 43 Related Literature on the Theoretical Framework ................................ ................... 44 Experiential Learning ................................ ................................ ........................ 44 Reflection ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 46 Methods of Reflection ................................ ................................ ....................... 49 Adult Leadership Programs and Adult Learning ................................ ..................... 50 Agricultural Leadership Programs ................................ ................................ .... 50 Teaching and Learning Strategies in Agricultural Leadership Programs .......... 52 Program Outcomes ................................ ................................ .......................... 53
8 Theoretical Underpinnings of Programs ................................ ........................... 54 Additional Literature on Agricultural Leadership Programs .............................. 54 Adult Leadership Development and Education ................................ ................. 57 Related Literature to Adult Leadership Programs ................................ ............. 58 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 60 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 61 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 61 Context of the Study ................................ ................................ ............................... 62 Ontology and Epistemology ................................ ................................ .................... 64 Relativism ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 64 Constructionism ................................ ................................ ................................ 65 Theoretical Perspective ................................ ................................ .......................... 66 Researcher Subjectivity ................................ ................................ .......................... 68 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 72 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 74 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 76 Qualitative Measures of Validity and Reliability ................................ ...................... 84 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 85 4 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 87 Objective One How Participants Reflect on Program Experiences ........................ 90 Reflection In Action Individual Reflection ................................ ........................ 91 Reflection In Action Group Reflection ................................ .............................. 96 Reflection On Action Individ ual Reflections ................................ .................. 100 Reflection On Action Group Reflection ................................ ........................... 106 Objective Two Themes from Program Experiences ................................ ............ 111 Individual Reflection ................................ ................................ ....................... 112 Group Reflection ................................ ................................ ............................ 134 Objective Three Levels of Refle ction ................................ ................................ ... 158 Individual Reflection Introspection ................................ ................................ 160 Individual Reflection Content Reflection ................................ ........................ 163 Individual Reflection Process Reflection ................................ ....................... 168 Group Reflection Introspection ................................ ................................ ...... 171 Group Reflect ion Content Reflection ................................ ............................. 173 Group Reflection Process Reflection ................................ ............................ 176 Group Reflection Premise Reflection ................................ ............................ 178 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ 180 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 18 1 Overview ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 181 Key Findings ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 182 Objective One How Participants Reflect ................................ ........................ 183 Objective Two Themes of Reflection ................................ ............................. 189
9 Objective Three Levels of Reflection ................................ ............................. 199 Constructivist Grounded Theory of the Use of Reflection within Agricultural Leade rship Programs ................................ ................................ ........................ 203 Core Concept Conceptualizing ................................ ................................ ...... 205 Core Concept Strategy ................................ ................................ .................. 209 Core Concept Becoming ................................ ................................ ............... 212 Core Concept Social Interaction ................................ ................................ .... 218 Relationships between Theoretical Codes ................................ ..................... 229 Theory ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 231 Quality Measures of Theory Construction ................................ ...................... 235 Implications ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 240 Recommendations for Practice ................................ ................................ ............. 244 Recommendations for Future Research ................................ ............................... 247 Researcher Reflection ................................ ................................ .......................... 252 Chapter Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ 255 APPENDIX A INDIVIDUAL REFLECTION QUESTIONNAIRES AND JOURNALING ACTIVITI ES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 256 B GROUP REFLECTION PROMPTS ................................ ................................ ...... 262 C PHOTO JOURNAL EXAMPLES ................................ ................................ ........... 263 D S AMPLE OF CODED TEXT ................................ ................................ ................. 265 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 268 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 281
10 LIST OF TABLES Table p age 3 1 Class VIII Schedule ................................ ................................ ............................ 63 3 2 Industry Breakdown of Participants ................................ ................................ .... 74 3 3 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 76 4 1 Data Collection ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 89 4 2 Reflection In Action Codes ................................ ................................ ................. 90 4 3 Reflection On Action Codes ................................ ................................ ............... 90 4 4 Themes ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 112 4 5 Individual Reflection Levels and Processes of Reflection ............................... 159 4 6 Group Reflection Levels and Processes of Reflection ................................ ..... 160 5 1 Reflection In Action Codes ................................ ................................ ............... 189 5 2 Reflection On Action Codes ................................ ................................ ............. 189
11 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 ................................ 34 2 2 Conceptual Model of the methods and outcomes of reflection in an agricultural leadership program ................................ ................................ .......... 44 3 1 Steps in the grounded theory process. ................................ ............................... 81 5 1 Theoretical Codes for the Use of Reflection within an Agricultural Leadership Program ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 231 5 2 The use of reflection within an agricultural leadership program ........................ 234
12 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ALP Agricultural Leadership Program AFBF American Farm Bureau Federation CR Critical Reflection FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of t he United Nations EL Experiential Learning KFSP Kellogg Farmers Study Program R I A Reflection In Action R O A Reflection On Action USDA United States Department of Agriculture WKKF W. K. Kellogg Foundation
13 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Gradu ate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE MECHANICS OF REFLECTION: METHODS AND OUTCOMES OF REFLECTION IN AN AGRICULTURAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM By Avery Culber tson December 2013 Chair: Hannah S Carter Major: Agricultural Education and Communication The purpose of the study was to examine the methods and outcomes of reflection within an agricultural leadership program. Data were collected from participants of a two year leadership development program to examine how participants reflected, what was reflected upon and the level of reflection achieved throughout the two year leadership development program. Findings indicated that participants utilized reflection on action more than reflection in action in both individual and group reflections. In both individual and group reflections, participants reflected at the levels of introspection, content reflection and process reflection. Group reflections also showed evidence of premise reflection. Finally, themes from experiences were similar among individual and group reflection with personal growth being an additional theme within group reflection. The study provided a grounded theory of reflection within agricult ural leadership programs as well as recommendations for practice and research.
14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION In an editorial for the Wall Street Journal, Norman Bourlag, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient and Father of the Green Revolution stated; Consider that current agricultural productivity took 10,000 years to attain the production of roughly six billion gross tons of food per year Today, nearly seven billion people consume that stockpile almost in its entirety every year Factor in growing prosperity and nearly th ree billion new mouths by 2050, and you quickly see how the crudest calculations suggest that within the (Bourlag, 2009, para 4) According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO ) of the United Nations, the 5 billion to an estimated 9 1 billion people by the year 2050 (Brown, 1998; FAO, 2009 ). This 34% population increase will require agriculture to feed an additional 80 mil lion more people per year, which in turn, indicates that the grain harvest alone will have to grow by 26 million tons or 71,000 tons per day in that time (Brown, 1998 ). This challenge calls for an increase in agricultural goods both in developing countries and those countries with established agricultural businesses According to Nelson, et al production is essential to meeting the growth in food demand resulting from population and income growth, and will, in turn generate growth in rural areas to improve food 5 ). Feeding the world through increased production is a worldwide issue and according to the FAO, food production will have to come from increased yields and technology rather from farming more land (FAO 2009 ). The challenge in the present environment is to build toward an advanced industry that provides a food supply with long term stability (Wedding, 2010 ). This can be done through the provision of
15 resources, training and access to markets United Stat es policy makers have demonstrated an interest in this issue and have directed resources to food sustainability coupled with agricultural development focused on production increases, research and development, and innovations in United States trade policy ( Wedding, 2010 ). agriculture production serves as an important industry in the United States and abroad United States agriculture is a $297 billion industry and the largest contribu tor to the ). As an employer of 21 million people (USDA ERS, 2007), the industry is responsible fo r one in 12 US jobs In terms of land holdings, 2 3 billion acres of land in the U S is used for agricultural production (Osteen, Gottlieb, & Vasavada, 2012 ). Through changes in technology, efficiency, and market conditions, one farmer now feeds 154 people (American Farm Bureau Federation, 2012 ). In 2012, U S agricultural exports increased to over $134 billion which was reported t o support nearly 7,800 jobs related to the export of agricultural goods in the U S (Vilsack, 2012 ). Though agriculture remains an important stabilizing force of the economy, its place has changed dramatically in the past century (Dimitri, Effland & Conkl in, 2005; Telg & Irani, 2012; USDA, 2012 ). Through changes, agricultural outputs have grown rapidly, allowing consumers to spend less of their income on food and also allowing a larger portion of the population to become involved in occupations not directl y related to agriculture or production (Telg & Irani, 2012 ). Today, less than 2% of the population is involved in production agriculture (American Farm Bureau Federation, 2012) whereas in the early part of the twentieth century, 50% of the population lived on farms or in rural area whose economy was supported mainly by agricultural production (Dimitri, Effland,
16 & Conklin, 2005 ). Farm numbers have decreased from 6 8 million in 1935 to 2 2 million today (USDA, 2012 ). Additionally, only 1 9% of the U S labor force works within agriculture, which is a major shift from the 40% employed in 1900 (Dimitri, Effland, & Conklin, 2005 ). These changes indicate that agriculture is a smaller player in national and rural economies, is becoming more broadly defined, and emp loys a smaller percentage of the labor force (Telg & Irani, 2012 ). As a result of changes in the industry, 3 ). In addition to the disconnect between producer and consumer, agricultural requirements, changing demographics, agricultural illiteracy, natural resource depletion, 2010, p 124 ). To confront the growing number of concerns, agriculture production and the management of its resources depends upon ). Leaders appointed to face these challenges and manage change within these environments should be educated to possess knowledge and skills that center on the needs of the industry and rural communities (Kelsey & Wall, 2003 ). Businesses and communities alike have committed to facing the challenge of cultivating leadership qualities and skills in individuals to meet this task (Fredricks, 1998 ). Effective agricultural leaders can be found on state and national levels within the arenas of policy, business, production and community development (W K Kell ogg Foundation, n d ) and these leaders can move the industry into the 21st century (Abington Cooper, 2005 ). In the 1960s, the W K Kellogg Foundation recognized the need for leadership in the
17 industry, and the agricultural leadership program was cultiva ted (Miller, 1976 ). Today, agricultural leadership programs are still addressing the need for industry leadership Background of the Study Agricultural Leadership Programs Agricultural leadership programs were first established in 1965 in response to a gr owing need for leadership to bridge the gap between the industry and its consumer (Miller, 1976 ). The inaugural program established in Michigan encouraged participants to gain understanding in political, social and economic issues and develop leadership sk ills so they could be effective spokespersons for their respective organizations, communities, and industries Currently, programs have been established in 39 states, provinces, and countries around the world (Lindquist, 2010) for leaders to develop skills and raise their awareness of current issues (Abington Cooper, 2005 ). Through program evaluations conducted on both the state and national level (Strickland, 2011), program outcomes have been assessed and include increased skill development (Howell, et al 1979), increased networking (Carter & Rudd, 2000), and greater knowledge of current issues (Abington Cooper, 2005 ). are devoting much of their time to participate in these [ agricultural leadership] programs, hundreds of speakers share their expertise and millions of dollars are spent on 11 ). The curriculum within agricultural leadership esponsible agricultural leaders that are capable of addressing industry issues and becoming active participants 68 ). Each program is influenced by the needs of the community it serves, and therefore, the curri culum material and delivery
18 are different for each program (Hustedde & Woodward, 1996; Van de Valk, 2010 ). Program lengths range from 18 to 24 months (Helstowski, 2000) and include seminars at local, state, national and international levels (WKKF, n d ). Formats for learning include lectures, field visits, panels, and meetings (Hustedde & Woodward, 1996 ). Program facilitators draw on the knowledge of local leadership, scholars, and policy makers to develop skills or provide information and perspective on i ssues being examined (Hustedde& Woodward, 1996 ). hip skills through experiential [and] action Valk, 2010, p 142 ). Though ther e is no one program theory that guides agricultural leadership programs, Strickland (2011) identified that agricultural leadership programs learning process Additionally, Van de Valk (2010) advocated for reflection to be styles, personal development, and challenges are all related constructs in that they involve reflection, or thoughtful con sideration of lessons to be learned from various 133 ). Experiential Learning and Reflection Zaleznik (1993) concluded that the best way to learn about leadership is through experience In a synthesis of theories and models by Dewe y, Joplin and Kolb, Roberts (2006) proposed the Model of the Experiential Learning Process As participants in the process of experiential learning, learners construct meaning from their experiences (Roberts, 2006) as they move through the three parts of the cycle: initial experience, reflection and generalization Strickland (2011) indicated the importance of outside
19 influences and demographic variables on the experiential learning cycle These are often brought forth in the reflective process of the cycl e of learning Reflection holds as much weight as the experience as reflection allows participants to develop an understanding of themselves and the experience (Roberts, 2006 ). Schon (1983 ) claimed that reflection is bound up with action (Hatton & Smith, 1 995 ). Both practices of reflection in action and reflection on action involve processes in making judgments and decisions on how to act or proceed on a problem or thought Reflection on Action occurs when an individual reflection on an action that has alre ady taken place Reflection in Action takes place during the action In his study of reflection and transformative learning, Mezirow (1991) proposed six different stages of critical reflection (habitual action, thoughtful action, introspection, content ref lection, process reflection, and premise reflection ). In these six stages, differences are presented between reflective and non reflective action, where non reflective action seeks out theories, objects or explanations, and critical reflection occurs when one critiques what they perceive, think, judge and feel (Mezirow, 1991 ). Reflection is an important component of the leadership program experience (Van de Valk, 2010 ). extent that structu red opportunities for individual and group reflection are included as 603 ). In his study of leadership program theory, Van de Valk (2010) recommended program design should incorporate reflection as it allows for participants to learn from their experience and encourages lifelong learning though the practice of ongoing reflection
20 Research Problem The agricultural industry in the United States faces multiple challenges, including providing a safe and secure food supply for a grow ing population (Brown, 1998), understanding the consumer (Telg & Irani, 2012), and ensuring industry resiliency (AFBF, 2012 ). According to Kaufman, et al depends upon grassroots leaders who are facing these challenges 124 ). Given world population projections, society needs leaders who can advance the agricultural industry through scientific discoveries, innovative practices, and comprehensive policy State level agricultural leadership development programs ar e one of the very few comprehensive leadership development programs for agriculturalists, yet the effectiveness of learning processes used in these programs is largely unknown Agricultural leadership programs were created to train leaders in their areas o f social capital, skill development and issue awareness so leaders can address such situations (Kaufman, et al 2010 ). Though agricultural leadership programs have been in existence since 1965, there has been a lack of published research on these program s (Kaufman & Rudd, 2006 ). Most research conducted on agricultural leadership programs has examined program impacts at participant, community, and industry levels Through multiple evaluation studies on agricultural leadership programs (Abington Cooper, 20 05; Black, 2006; Carter & Rudd, 2000; Diem & Nikola, 2005; Dhanakumar, Rossing, & Campbell, 1996; Hejny, 2010; Kelsey & Wall, 2003; Strickland, 2011; Whent & Leising, 1992), positive outcomes were indicated through participation, however how programs have achieved these outcomes has not been assessed Experiential learning and reflection have been used as a model for learning in agricultural leadership programs, but the
21 processes guiding their use and overall effectiveness have not been examined By examini ng evidence of program effectiveness through teaching approaches such as experiential learning and reflection, programs within the field of adult leadership development and agricultural leadership can understand and model successful practices Purpose and Objectives of the Study The purpose of this study was to explore how an adult agricultural leadership program utilizes reflection methods and to determine how specific reflection methods, at the group and individual level, influence the development of cri tical reflection The objectives for this study were: 1. Identify how program participants reflect on program experiences 2. Determine the themes and concepts from program experiences that participants reflect upon 3. Identify if, or to what extent, reflection methods utilized by the program lead to critical reflection by participants Significance of the Study Kaufman and Rudd (2006) encouraged research within all areas of agricultural are based 135 ). These programs require an investment of money and time by administrative authority, donors, participant sponsors and the participants themselves to ensure leadership development for the industry (Abingt on Cooper, 2005 ). This is evidenced by the more than $111 million that has been spent on agricultural leadership programs (Helstowski, 2000 ). In addition to adding to the body of research of agricultural leadership programs, this study also contributed to the field of reflection and experiential learning within
22 leadership development Reflection can be a useful tool in ensuring participant learning and understanding of leadership program curriculum The reason to integrate reflection into an agricultural l (Densten & Gray, 2001, p 119 ). A study in the core processes that make up reflection, the process es that promote learning from experience, and tools that help facilitators use reflection as a way of learning, can aid in establishing understanding and provide a learning method to aid in achieving the outcomes of agricultural leadership programs Brunga rdt (1996) noted that studying leadership development can document learning outcomes of programs and create additional learning models for other programs . And thus provide the practit ioner with the tools and knowledge needed to develop and educate a 92 ). Williams, 2007, p 8 ). Van de Valk (2010) advocated for reflection to be incorporated into leadershi p programming recognizing that leadership styles, personal deve lopment, and challenges are related constructs in that they i nvolve reflection and considerat ions of the lessons found within program experiences Through incorporating reflection into leadership programming, program facilitators can evaluate participant experiences through a leadership perspective and then be able to apply both the experience and the understanding of leadership to future endeavors Through these findings it is clear that reflection is a core part of the leadership program curriculum, however, further research
23 can provide practices for leadership program to implement reflection in formal or strategic ways In addition to outcomes of reflection this study provided best practices for leadership program facilitators to implement reflection within the curriculum The practices established through this research can contribute to the broa der fields of adult learning, experiential learning and other leadership and educational programs using reflection This study addressed two objectives of the National Research Agenda for Agricultural Education 2011 2015 (Doerfert, 2011 ). This study addres sed Priority Area of teaching and learning processes adult learning and agricultural leadership programming and by examining the role of reflection processes in the context of adult learning in agricultural leadership programs educational programs and career development opportunities that encourage p ositive community change and identify factors that influence that change This study provided valuable data, a description of the needs of adults in agricultural leadership programs, and future directions for research Overview of Methodology This study w as qualitative in nature The study, which was a grounded theory analysis, utilized a constructionism epistemology with constructivism and social constructionism serving as the theoretical perspective s Participants ( N = 30) of the purposive sample were mem bers of Class V III of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (WLIANR ). Eighteen males and 12 females, ranging
24 natural resource industr ies, comprised the participant group (WLIANR, 2011 ). Data were collected over a two year period and were presented in the written forms of field notes, transcribed participant guided group reflections, questionnaires, concept maps, and journals Data analy sis was conducted using the grounded theory approach employed by Charmaz (2006 ). Limitations Data for this study were provided through methods of reflecting within group and individual activities The researcher used one group of participants in one agric ultural leadership program; therefore, the results from this study cannot be generalized beyond the study participants When applying the results to other programs, one should take into consideration that program objectives and population demographics are specific to each program Additionally, data was collected before the study was designed so meeting the objectives set by the researcher presented several challenges based on the data For this reason, theoretical sampling was not conducted within the stu dy. To aid in the conceptual and theoretical development, the researcher revisited the data collected over the two years for the study in addition to pieces of information collected not originally used in the study. This helped to identify concepts perta ining to the program. Assumptions In the first seminar of the two year program, participants took part in a workshop that guided them through the definition of reflection, it s theoretical base, purposes and the benefits and potential outcomes of reflection Therefore, it was assumed that participants understood the concept and practice of reflection and were willing to
25 discuss their experiences with others in the program and w ith the researcher The researcher also assumed the subjects of the study were truthful in their responses, although bias could have occurred in the responses provided by members of this population On part of the researcher, it is assumed that critical re flection was measured accurately Definitions of Key Terms A GRICULTURAL L EADERSHIP P ROGRAM An adult leadership development program Strickland, 2011, p 21 ). C RITICAL R EFLECTION Includes six stages proposed by Mezirow (habitual action, thoughtful action, introspection, content reflection, process reflection, and premise reflection ). ons underlying 2 ). E XPERIENTIAL L EARNING This approach suggests that learners construct meaning from their experiences (Roberts, 2006 ). T he process takes learners through initial experience, reflection on what happened, and the generalization of information to be used in the future, which all contributes to the entire experience G ROUP R EFLECTION M ETHODS Methods of reflection in which the agricultural leadership program participant engages in conversation with others to analyze and synthesize information I NDIVIDUAL R EFLECTION M ETHODS Methods of reflection in which the agricultural leadership program participant works by themselves withou t feedback from other individuals Methods include multiple forms of writing, including journaling, writing letters and responding to questions R EFLECTION The process of the learning from experiences that is under the ). questioning assumptions that are taken for granted embodied in both theory and 119 ). R EFLECTION I N A CTION Th e approach to reflection enables an individual to reshape a n experience while in its midst It is ongoing experimentation that allows the individual to find a viable solution before the end of the problem As a result, actions are more purposeful (Schon, 1987 ).
26 R EFLECTION O N A CTION This approach occurs when indi viduals evaluate their actions and processes included in completing a task and think back knowledge that contributes to outcomes (Schon, 1983 ). Chapter Summary U S agriculture, though thriving, has continued to face multiple challenges and changes To co nfront these changes, agricultural leadership programs have been established to train leaders using the experiential learning model Additionally, reflection can be incorporated into programs to increase learning in participants A study on the use of refl ection within an agricultural leadership program can add to the field of knowledge on agricultural leadership programs, experiential learning and reflection The three objectives guiding this study were: (1) Identify how program participants reflect on pr ogram experiences, (2) Determine the themes and concepts from program experiences that participants are reflecting upon and (3) Identify if or to what extent to which reflection methods utilized by the program produces critical reflection by the participan ts In addition to providing background to the study, chapter one also provided a description of the significance of the study, limitations, assumptions, and key terms
27 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Overview The purpose of this study was to explore how an adult agricultural leadership program utilized reflection methods and determine how various reflection methods (group and individual level) influenced the development of critical reflection The objectives for this study were to: 1. Identify how program p articipants reflect on program experiences 2. Determine the themes and concepts from program experiences that participants are reflecting upon 3. Identify if or to what extent to which each reflection method utilized by the program produces critical reflecti on by the participants The theoretical framework was constructed using the theories of experiential learning, constructivism, reflection, and critical reflection To carry out the study, literature on agricultural leadership programs; adult leadership de velopment and education; adult learning; experiential education; and reflection methods, outcomes and assessment were utilized to supplement the framework for the study and provide context The chapter was concluded by exploring relevant literature and emp irical Theoretical Framework Adult Learning The complexities of adult learning can relate back to the adult learners experiences, occupation, community or voluntary roles, an d personal interests and needs (Newton, 1977 ). Two main theories have guided the study of adults: constructivism and andragogy (Knowles, 197 0; Marsick, 1988; Merriam, Caffa rella, &
28 Baumgartner, 2006; Myers & Roberts, 2004 ). dults do 7 ). Research has shown that adults learn differently from younger students (Ota, DiCarlo, Burts, Laird, & Gioe, 2006 ). Knowles, Swanson and Holton (2005) stated that andragogy focu ses on the special needs of the adult learners and focuses on six assumptions; need to know, self concept, prior experience, readiness to learn, learning orientation, and motivation to learn Adults are motivated by different factors than that of younger l earners According 199 ). Additionally, adults should play a part in planning their o wn education (Knowles, 1984 ). This can be done by adult learners moving within the experiential learning process, as experiential learning leads learners through reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation phases, as prop osed by Kolb (Myers & Roberts, 2004 ). Reflective observation and abstract conceptualization allow the learner to interpret and apply information Also, concrete experience and active experimentation provide material that is available immediately, which al igns with Knowles contention that adults are concerned with material that has immediate and direct relevance to them (Myers & Roberts, 2004 ). Williams, 1994, p 5 ). Within t he context of adult learning, lessons gained and reflection on the experience can aid in developing new skills, attitudes and ways of thinking (Lewis & Williams, 1994 ). Additionally, adult educators have underscored the
29 importance experience plays in adult learner (Lindeman, 1961; Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007 ). According to Sternberg and Horvath (1995), the difference between experienced and novice learners is that experience allows the learner to bring more knowledge to the problem More experi enced learners, or experts, are able to solve problems faster and in a more economical way, have stronger self monitoring skills, and are able to view and solve problems at a deeper level (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007 ). Experiential Learning J of reference, namely the organic connection between education and personal 25 ). The approach of experiential learning suggests that learners construct meaning fr om their experiences (Roberts, 2006 ). In his work published on Experience and Education, Dewey (1938) believed that the study of experiential education indicated a shift from formal abstract education to the approach of learning from experience Previous e xperience combined with present interaction is the basis of learning When the learner gains new knowledge, it results in the cognitive reconstruction of the knowledge they previously held (Lewis & Williams, 1994 ). For cycle of trying and undergoing by becoming aware of a problem, getting an idea, trying out a response, experience the consequences, and either confirming or modifying previous conceptions (Lewis & Williams, 1994, p 6 ). Individuals learn through experie nces by engaging in their environment and internally processing information Without the internal processing, learning does not occur Once information is processed, it can be theorized to be
30 applied in later experiences Learning by experience has been th eorized and in its conceptualization, can be applied as a teaching method By learning through experience, a physical transformation takes place in the brain (Zull, 2006 ). However, changes occur in only parts of the brain that are used in the learning exp erience The more stimuli provided, the more change occurs Therefore, 5 ). Zull (2006) identified the four a reas as the four pillars of learning; gathering, reflecting, creating, and testing Gathering data is the initial experiences and plays on the sensory function of the brain Learning is not achieved through only gathering data, but gathering is essential t o the process Once data is gathered, it moves from the sensory neo cortex to other areas of the brain In reflection, information is merged to produce meaning and objects and stimuli are associated with prior experiences stored in memory Information then moves from the back of the cortex to the front to become conscious thought and planning Through testing, knowledge is tested and information becomes part of working memory and is assessed for relevance and purpose Testing becomes a new experience which begins another learning cycle (Zull, 2006 ). Experiential learning provides students and environment conducive to learning, an opportunity to test ideas, and an opportunity to question assumptions and understand the experience with the chance to build know ledge (Baker & Robinson, 2011 ). A person learns by experiences through their interaction with their environment Beard and Wilson (2006) provide a breakdown of the process The learning process begins with information comes to the learner in the form of ex perience from the outside
31 environment Learning activities provide stimuli which are received through the five senses As information is processed, an individual perceives, interprets and emotionally responds to the stimuli through internalization Followi ng internalization the stimuli becomes catalogued and builds upon one or multiple intelligences Finally, the experience solidified and theorized into the brain as knowledge that can be understood, operationalized to be applied at a later time The facilit ator can influence what is learned through experience by turning the dial to use specific learning environments and activities and senses of the learner, to address emotions and intelligence types They can also manipulate how the experience can be theoriz ed at the end of the learning process (Beard & Wilson, 2006 ). Experiential learning is a process that is influenced by the interplay between the environment, the learner, and the facilitator (T G Roberts, personal communication, January 24, 2012 ). Facil itators can play on their own knowledge and skills, the prior knowledge and experiences of students and class size, and environment to provide an experience and ensure the success of the learning outcomes (Beard & Wilson, 2006 ). In focusing on these three factors teachers can take advantage of the skills of the learner and facilitator, the context and environment, and teachable moments that can arise during the experience L earning occurs through a negotiation between the learner and their environment and m eaning is based on the socially defined nature of knowledge obtained (Doolittle & Camp, 1999 ). To learn, students in a classroom or the field are connecting what is provided to them with their own personal experiences to gain understanding Through this un derstanding, knowledge structures are built and learners continue to move
32 through the experiential cycle To encourage movement through the cycle, facilitators should keep in mind the factors that influence learning, including student, teacher and environm ental variables upon past and current knowledge structu Caffarella, 1999, p 260 ). The theory of experiential learning suggests that learner con struct meaning from their experiences (Roberts, 2006 ). As the study of experiential education is both a process and a product (Kolb, 1984; Roberts, 2006), the process takes learners through an initial experience, reflection on that experience and the gener alization of information to be used in the future of what is being learned or observed Once concepts are generalized, learners can move through another experiential learning cycle, to test and retest formed generalizations from previous learning opportunities (Beard & Wilson, 2006 ). Kolb (1984) focused on how individuals can reflect and process on a direct experience Kolb proposed learning as the process where knowledge is gained through experience His model of experiential learning depicted a four part process through the learning cycle: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation (Kolb, 1984 ). Learners first have concrete experience s, in which they reflect on those experiences through a variety of perspectives Following reflection, learners create abstract conceptualizations of what was seen in order to create generalizations From these reflections, learners draw conclusions and cr eate new knowledge in the form of generalizations Generalizations are then applied through active experimentation (Kolb, 1984 ). Though an individual may prefer one learning
33 process over the other three, the adoption of one style was inadequate in processi ng knowledge For meaningful learning to occur all stages of the cycle must be negotiated by the learner (Lewis & Williams, 1994 ). Kolb (1984) also theorized that as learners move through the cycle, ideas will be built upon and increase in complexity K grasping experience; Concrete Experience (CE) and Abstract Conceptualization (AC) and two modes of transforming experience; Reflective Observation (RO) and Active Experimentatio a process in which the construction of knowledge involves a creative tension among the 2). This tension is responsive to contextual de mands. Ideally, the learner should experience, reflect, think and act in response to the experience. Boud and Walker (1993) stated that learning from an experience requires three steps to be taken by the learner The learner should first recall the experie nce in an objective manner without any judgment or values attached Next the learner ought to identify feelings associated with the experience, and finally, should reevaluate the experiences Reevaluation involves reflecting to associate the experience wit h past experiences, test the experience against what is already known, and integrate the experience into current knowledge to create new knowledge structures Learning does not take place if experiences are left unexamined (Herrera, 2010 ). Learning occurs recapture, notice, and re evaluate their experience, to work with their experience and 9 ).
34 The foundation established by pas t scholars has given rise to new approaches that continue to evolve in the field of experiential learning (Lewis & Williams, 1994 ). In the synthesis of theories and models by Dewey, Joplin, and Kolb; Roberts (2006) proposed the Model of the Experiential Le arning Process . 22 ). Followed by focusing on the leader; experiential learning follows the process through initial experience, reflection and generalization Once conc epts are generalized, learners then move throughout the cycle to test and retest those generalizations in another learning opportunity This process continues and builds upon prior experience and knowledge (Beard & Wilson, 2006 ). According to Roberts (2006 ), experiential learning can align itself with constructivism, which contents that learners construct meaning from their experiences Figure 2 1 Learning (2006) Constructivism The theory of constructivism draws upon the works of Dewey (1938), Piaget (1966), and Vygotsky (1978 ). According to Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner
35 293 ). Learning is a process of constructing knowledge and is dependent up on past and current knowledge structures of the learner (Merriam, et al 2007; Doolittle & Camp, 1999 ). Learners construct meaning and their own knowledge through experience (Densten & Gray, 2001; Doolittle & Camp, 1999; Kolb, 1984 & Roberts, 2006) and th rough the integration of new ideas and previous experiences, cognitive structures can be modified Therefore, through constructivism, reality is defined by the learner (Doolittle & Camp, 1999 ). Constructivism challenges the individual to reflect on concre te experiences and raise inquiries about the nature of the experience (Merriam, Caffarella & Baumgartner, 2007 ). Learning occurs through a negotiation between the learner and their environment Through social constructivism, the individual learner constru cts meaning based on the socially defined nature of the knowledge they have obtained (Doolittle & Camp, 1999 ). This knowledge acquired is constantly evolving through reconstruction and transformation Therefore, under the premise of constructivism, knowle dge is created rather and discovered (Kinchin, Hay, & Adams, 2000 ). Constructivism is the learning process of constructing meaning and making sense of experiences (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007 ). gnitive and socially interactive activity Driver, Asoko, Leach, Morimer, and Scott (1994) examined both orientations Personal constructivism 6 ). Meaning making by the individual is influenced by previous and current knowledge Social constructivism
36 activity about shared 7 ). In this situation, meaning is made Scott, 1994, p 7 ). In his view of social constructivism, Vygotsky (1978) proposed that learning is a socially mediated activity through interactions with others Additionally, he contended that learning is an active endeavor, whereas it occurs though meanings being made throug h collaboration with others (Vygotsky, 1978 ). Within the field of adult education, construc ted, individual members of society may be able to add to or change the general 275 ). Learning is a process of negotiation and exchange of socially constructed meanings (Candy, 1991 ). In the experiential learning process, the constru ction of meaning and knowledge takes place within the reflection step of the cycle (Roberts, 2006 ). Reflection As learners move through the cycle of experiential learning, they pass through the stages of initial experience, reflection and generalization In the reflection step, learning takes place as individuals interpret the information that has been presented to them (Boud and Walker, 1993 ). According to Strickland (2011), reflection holds as much weight as the experience and reflection allows participa nts to develop an understanding of themselves and the experience (Roberts, 2006 ). According to Destin and Gray differently, to look at situations from multiple perspectives or to better understand
37 120 ). Once information is reflected upon to determine meaning, it can be generalized and applied in a following cycle of learning Learning is deepened and strengthened when the abstract becomes concrete (Bringle & Ha tcher, 1999 ). The terms of reflection and reflective thought hold multiple definitions Dewey belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that suppo rt it and the 6 ). Hatton and Smith (1995) defined reflection as 40 ). Reflection is concerned with how individuals make meaning out of experiences that perplex them (Grimmett, Erickson, Mackinnon, & Reicken, 1990 ). When learners are given an opportunity to reflect on their learning process, they can organize and manage new information and recognize how they can better facilitate their own understand ing (Rando, 2001 ). Reflection can also be defined as the process of the learning experience ( Densten & Gray, 2001, p 119 ). Dewey (1910) was largely regarded as the foundation for the study of and theories on reflection (Hatton & Smith, 1995 ). In following the influence of Dewey, several theories have guided research in reflective thinking over the last century (Lambert, 2010 ). Multiple scholars have contributed to the body of knowledge on reflection D thinking to resolve an issue which involved active chaining and care ful ord er ing of ideas linking each with its predecessors 33 ). Within this deliberate
38 process (Hatton & Smith, 1995 ). Van Manen (1977) divided refle ctive thought into three categories: technical reflection, practical reflection and critical reflection Technical reflection is thought concerned with effective means to the end Practical reflection seeks to examine means, goals and also the outcomes Cr itical reflection includes means, ends, goals, outcomes, assumptions and moral and ethical concerns of the process (Van Manen, 1977 ). Griffiths and Tann (1992) identified a hierarchy of five types of reflection: rapid reflection in which reflection occurs immediately; repair reflection, which refers to habitual reflection; review reflection which allows for reassessment done over time; research reflection that allows systematic assessment done over time; and finally, reauthorizing and reformulating, which causes deep, abstract and rigorous thought taking place over a long period of time (Griffiths & Tann, 1992 ). King and Kitchener (1994) created the reflective judgment model which had seven levels measuring the quality of reflection and provides approaches for problem solving Stages one, two, and three focus on pre reflective assessment in which 47) and do not utilize the given evidence to form a conclusion In stage one; a person adopts a co ncrete belief system where facts and judgments are not different entities In stage two an individual acknowledges that there is a true reality embraced by authority but is not known by everyone In stage three, there is a held belief that though absolutio n is assumed, authority figures may not have the truth Quasi Reflective Thinking encompasses stages
39 problems are ill structured and that knowledge claims about them cont ain an element of 58 ). Individuals in stage four believe that evidence aids in making knowledge claims and reality cannot be known with absolute certainty In stage five, individuals recognize there are different perspectives in looking a t evidence The final stages in the reflective judgment model encompass the reflective thinking category, 66 ). In stage six, information is subject to interpretation, but those interpretations are subject to critique In stage seven, judgments are an outcome of inquiry and are based on interpretation and its relation with that judgment (King & Kitchener, 1994 ). Hatton and Smith (1995) proposed a developmental hierarchy of reflective thought that included five levels Technical reflection consists of making decisions and using skills that apply to the problem at hand Descriptive reflection occurs when one works toward good practice Dialogic reflection considers different viewpoints to find a solution Critical reflection consists of finding solutions to align with ethical standards Finally, the contextualization of multiple viewpoints incorporated all levels of reflection to find solutions and expand options to problems a s they arose (Hatton & Smith, 1995 ). Schon (1983, 1987) claimed that reflection is bound up with action (Hatton & Smith, 1995 ). Schon (1987) encouraged the ideas of reflection on action and reflection in action within professional practice He advocated f or a model in professional education that equipped learners to reflect in order to deal with complex problems and issues (Kember, McKay, Sinclair, & Yuet, 2008 ). Individuals reflecting in action can reflect and analyze issues in the moment in order to bro aden knowledge and analyze
40 issues during the issue or interaction (Kaagan, 1998). Reflection on action was defined in action may have contributed to an expected outcome (p 26) a nd Reflection in action was 28 ). Both practices of reflection in action and reflection on action involve processes in making judgments and decisions on how to act or proceed on a pr oblem or thought Reflection on Action occurs when an individual reflection on an action that has already taken place Reflection in Action takes place during the action Schon able to incorporate multiple levels of reflection and the pract ices of reflection in action and reflection on 35 ). Mezirow (1991, 1998) examined reflection and made the distinction between crit ical reflection and reflection through six levels: habitual action, thoughtful action, introspection, content reflection, process reflection, and premise reflection framework was adopted for this particular study Critical Reflection Learners e consciousness; testing those assumptions to determine if they are appropriate for 11 ). Critical reflection aids learners in understandi 11 ). self growth i Stevens, 2009, p 42 ).
41 experience, w (Mezirow, 1990, p 1 ). In his study of reflection and transformative learning, Mezirow (1991) proposed six different stages of critical reflection (habitual action, thoughtful action, introspe ction, content reflection, process reflection, and premise reflection ). In these six stages, he described the differences between reflective and non reflective action, where non reflective action seeks out theories, objects or explanations, and critical r eflection occurs when one critiques what they perceive, think, judge and feel (Mezirow, 1991 ). Non reflective action encompasses the first three types identified by Mezirow; habitual action, thoughtful action, and introspection Habitual action is defined as the ability to 106 ). Kember (1999) described habitual action as something that has been learned and is used automatically requiring little thought Thoughtful action includes learners making a judgment based o n previous learning (Mezirow, 1991 ). Though previous knowledge is utilized, the knowledge is not appraised, so there is no change to existin g schemas (Kember 1999 ). Introspection refers to thinking about our thoughts, actions and feelings but does not i nvolve reassessing what is already known (Mezirow, 1991 ). This stage of reflection refers to the thoughts individuals have of themselves and not the reasoning behind the development of those thoughts (Kember 1999 ). ternally examining and exploring the issue of concern, triggered by an experience, which creates and clarifies meaning in terms of self, and which results in a changed concep 1999 ). There
42 are also three stages of reflective actio n, which include content reflection, process reflection and premise reflection (Mezirow, 1991 ). Content reflection is reflecting on what one perceives, thinks, feels or acts upon Process reflection examines the performance of perceiving, thinking, feelin 108 ). Premise reflection brings an individual to the final stage of reflection in that it requires one to ask why they think, feel or act in a certain way and the reasoning behind the decisions as well as an assessment of the consequences (Mezirow, 1991 ). In premise reflection, time is taken to redefine the problem or situation so actions can be directed accordingly Mezirow (1991) justified the use of reflective action and premise re flection in meaning perspectives become transformed Premise reflection leads to more fully developed meaning perspectives, that is, meaning perspectives that are more inclusive, dis 111 ). Critically reflective learners are those that are sensitive to why things are being done in a certain way, the values reflected in these actions, the discrepancies that exist between what is being said and done, and the way in which all influences of an organization shape outcomes (Marsick, 1988 ). Action learning ties critical reflection to the experiential learning process (Battisiti, Passmore, & Sipos, 2008 ). rocess of devoting deliberate attention 28 ). emotional or physical, that requires its s ubject through responsible involvement in some
43 real, complex and stressful problem, to achieve intended change sufficient to improve 9 ). Action learning transforms experiential le arning from single loop learning to double loop learning (Battisiti, et al 2008 ). The difference between the experiential learning and action learning is that through action learning, the learner is transformed between the stages of reflection and gener alization Through action learning, learners question assumptions and experience a change in pat terns and beliefs (Mezirow, 1991 ). Through traveling throughout the double loop, learners pick up new things from the experiences rather than repeat experience s with the same results (Percy, 2005 ). Conceptual Model A conceptual model was created to show the process that leadership program participants move through to reach critical reflection Participants move through variables of the conceptual model, which begins with the approach of Experiential Learning (Roberts, 2006 ). Leadership programming activities and methods of reflection can guide participants in an agricultural leadership program to levels of critical reflection Experiential learning models agri cultural leadership program activities Leadership program activities are impacted by program objectives, and these in turn influence participants within the agricultural leadership program Leadership activities also guide reflection methods These reflec tion methods are divided into two categories: group and individual reflection methods Reflection methods provide the opportunity for participants to demonstrate critical reflection (Mezirow, 1991 ).
44 Figure 2 2 Conceptual Model of the methods and outc omes of reflection in an agricultural leadership program Related Literature on the Theoretical Framework Experiential Learning In the synthesis of theories and models by Dewey, Joplin, and Kolb, Roberts (2006) proposed the Model of the Experiential Lear ning Process There has been model of experiential learning within the research Roberts, Harlin, and Ricketts (2006) provided a longitudinal examination of teachin g efficacy of agricultural science teachers utilizing experiential research by Kolb Through combining teaching efficacy theory and experiential learning theory, the researchers produced a model ind icating that teacher efficacy was studied throughout the three stages of the experiential learning process (Roberts, et al 2006 ). Based on the interactions the
45 teachers t ransform their experiences through reflection, develop generalizations and subsequently test those generalizations through further experiences, which in turn, 83 ). efficacy in teaching, student engagement, and instructional strategies changed, however, student teacher efficacy in classroom management did not change Battisti, Passmore, and Sipos (2008) studied action learning processes for sustainable agriculture practices Thr experiential learning and guided reflection processes within action learning proposed by McGill and Brockbank (2004), the researchers examined learner transformation through action learning and guided reflection The researchers concluded that sustainable agricultural education aligns best with action learning, since the reflection process has a experience or on the need for car 2008, p 27 ). Torock (2009) acknowledged that programs within the Cooperative Extension 4 ). Therefore, the author encouraged extension educators to model their teaching and produce guides in line with experiential learning contended that support and feedback were two im portant stages within extension 2 ). Lamm, Canno n, Roberts, Snyder, Brendemuhl and Rodriguez (2011) investigated how adult l earners reflected during a study abroad program based in
46 experiential learning journaling patterns and learning style Through content analysis, the researchers examined the journals for evidence of their expressed learning style The researchers found that themes in the r eflection journals indicated correlated types of learning styles of the participan ts (Lamm, et al 2011 ). Reflection In her study on the effects of experiential learning with an emphasis on reflective writing on deep level processing of agricultural leadership students, Moore (2008), iii ). The purpose leadership course within the context of experiential learning The study examined student attitudes regarding experiential lea approaches to learning The findings indicated that teaching strategies utilizing experiential learning and reflection did not have an influence on the way the students approached learning However, through the analysis was found that students benefited from receiving instruction using experiential learning, and in turn, fostered a deeper approach to learning as a result of the utilized methods Lambert (2010) studied the effects of in structor feedback on the level or reflective thought among students of an agricultural education teaching methods course The purpose of the study was to describe the levels of reflective thinking of students and compare the effects of feedback on students Using Hatton and
47 reflective questions The study found that students provided responses that were either technical or descriptive, with none of the st udents being critically reflective Wiezbicki Stevens (2009) studied the effects of guided reflection on metacognition The purpose of the study was to explore methodology for the development of metacognitive self knowledge and explore which academic exper iences students perceived as influential to their learning Data were collected through written narratives as part of a guided reflection activity The study found that guided reflection was effective for developing metacognitive self knowledge so long as the process of reflection was understood by the learners Herrera (2010) conducted a study on how critical reflection and experiential learning are facilitated within a multi national pharmaceutical company and how the two concepts affected managerial coa ching within this context The purpose of the study was to assess whether managerial coaches utilized both critical reflection and experiential learning with their interactions with employees, even though both terms were not specifically defined within the ir practices The study found that many managers are expected to coach without the training preparation needed in order to coach employees Results also indicated that though participants demonstrated using at least one indicator of critical reflection and / or experiential learning within their coaching, the majority described reflecting on the impact of perceptions and behaviors as a regular part of their practice, and that they learned how to coach employees by drawing on past experiences informal learnin g Kember (1999) developed and tested a questionnaire to measure reflective thinking Previous work had been done on reflective thinking in journal writing and small
48 group discussions, but the authors were interested in forming a coding scheme for reflect ion The theoretical framework to measure reflection was based on the work of Mezirow (1991 ). A four scale instrument was created based on the constructs of habitual action, understanding, reflection and critical reflection Differences were found between scores of graduate and under graduate students (Kember 1999 ). Lucas and Tan (2006) assessed levels of reflective thinking in college students utilizing the Questionnaire for Reflective Th inking designed by Kember (1999 ). Through this pilot study, the au thors concluded that the Questionnaire for Reflective Thinking was justified of further research and investigation, but future research needed to take into consideration the disciplinary and student context (Lucas & Tan, 2006 ). Daudelin (1996) conducted a study to determine the methods of reflection that are most effective in aiding managers in learning The three methods of reflection proposed were solitary reflection, small group reflection and reflection with the aid of a helper Participants of the stu dy held managerial positions in multiple corporations After participants were placed into groups they reflected according to the three types of reflection Questionnaires were distributed to record insights by participants of the three methods Results in dicated that both individual and helper reflection methods were shown to have greater amounts of learning than the small group reflection method Findings reinforced the need to guide reflection through the use of reflection questions Through structured a ctivity, managers can benefit from utilizing reflection within their businesses (Daudelin, 1996 ). self efficacy, stages of reflective thinking and academic performance Phan (20 07) also
49 utilized the theoretical framework of Mezirow (1991) and the Reflective Think ing Questionnaire (Kember, 1999 ) to measure levels of reflection The study found that self efficacy is a mediator of reflective thinking and can determine the level of r eflective thinking Methods of Reflection (Noordhoff & Kleinfeld, 1990, p 174 ). important to establish criteria in what constitutes re to students prior to reflection activities can be helpful in creating expectations about & Hatcher, 1999, p 114 ). To facilitate reflection, a problem is necessar y to initiate and drive reflection (Hoban, 2000 ). However, reflection can be stimulated as a result of a problem, or through prearranged stimuli (Kember 1999 ). Multiple activities can be used to facilitate both individual and group reflection (Bringle & Hatcher, 1999 ). 116 ). Recommendations have b een made by multiple scholars in various fields of adult learning The range of techniques offered can be applied in both individuals and groups in the contexts of education and field placement (Osmond & Darlington, 2005 ). Individual reflection methods in cluded concept mapping (McAleese, 1998; Lawless, 1994; Lawless, Smee photo journaling (Lawless, Smee ; White, Sasser, Borgren & Morgan, 2009 ), and journal writing (Osmond & Darlington, 2005; Daudelin, 1996 ). Group reflection methods include; Think Aloud, Observation and Reflective Recall (Osmond &
50 Darlington, 2005), brainstorming sessions (Eyler, 2001), team discussions and role playing scenarios (Eyler, 2001; Daudelin, 1996) and presentations and videos (Eyler, 2001), assess ing needs and resources (Eyler, 2001), debriefing sessions (Daudelin, 1996; Eyler, 2001 ). However, reflection in oneself or another should be a flexible process The danger of rigid adherence to any t echnique is that the reflective session may be experienced as 5 ). Adult Leadership Programs and Adult Learning To carry out the study, literature on agricultural leadership programs, adult l eadership development and education, and adult learning was provided to supplement the theoretical framework for the study and provide context Agricultural Leadership Programs Agricultural leadership programs were established through the Kellogg Farmers Study Program (KSFP) and have been in existence since 1965 (Miller, 1976 ). The purpose in their establishment was to create a stronger tie between the agricultural industry and the public Following World War II, Michigan State University and the W K Kel logg Foundation recognized the continuing need for effective agricultural leadership and set out to establish a program that developed leadership for the agricultural industry social and economic systems, develop social skills, be effective spokespeople for their industry or community, expand individual networks, and develop future political, civic 52 ). Soon after the KSFP, agricultural leadership programs in California and Pennsylvania were established
51 (Howell, Weir,& Cook, 1979 ). Over time, other states, provinces, and countries established agricultural leadership programs In designing these programs, a format was established for learning According to world around them and to develop their competence in reading, writing, speaking, logical inquiry, and critical thinking All of thes e skills were considered essential 25 ). The purpose of these programs was not to train better agriculturalists, but to develop leaders with an increased understanding of the economic, political and social issues co nfronting the United States and rural society (Miller, 1976 ). Programs have been holding true to the original mission of WKKF and have been utilized around the world to develop leaders for service to their communities and industries (Kaufman & Carter, 200 5, p 66 ). In these programs, adult leaders study issues facing their industries and prepare themselves for leadership roles (Diem &Nikola, 2005 ). Programs have been established in 39 states, provinces, and countries around the world (Lindquist, 2012 ). Programs have used a variety of learning processes (Carter & Culbertson, 2012) to develop leadership abilities and raise issue awareness and understanding (Carter & Rudd, 2000; Abington Cooper, 2005 ). These programs, though different in some aspects (rura l versus agricultural based), are congruent with the goal of establishing effective leadership for the agricultural industries and local communities (Mathews & Carter, 2008 ). Each program has designed its curriculum and vision to meet the needs of their i ndividual state, community base and agricultural industry
52 Teaching and Learning Strategies in Agricultural Leadership Programs Hustedde and Woodward (1996) developed a guide for designing program curriculum to develop leaders through to lead through enga solving and 1) in order for leaders to make an impact Each program has been influenced by the needs of the community it serves and therefore, the curriculum material and delivery is different for each program (Hustedde and Woodward, 1996 ). According to Carter and Culbertson (2012), program curricula are determined by input from administrative authority and industry, and program evaluation Programs have utilized a number of theories and approaches to guide their curricula including adult learning and social learning theory (Black & Earnest, 2009), servant leadership and transformational leadership theories ( Hejny 2010) and experiential learning theory (Strickland, 2011 ). According to the Carter and Culbertson (2012), the knowledge gained from the board, industry input, and evaluations have been disseminated into a structured curriculum program for participants Through these programs, participants have had direct experience and intera ction with a variety of businesses, social settings, and political environments, both domestically and internationally Curriculums within leadership programs cover a range of topics and area mix of lecture and field based learning, panel discussions, tour s, readings, and technology tools (Carter & Culbertson, 2012 ). Research literature has been published on agricultural leadership programs in the areas of outcomes and evaluations (Abington Cooper, 2005; Black, 2006; Black, Metzler, & Waldrum, 2006; Carter and Rudd, 2000; Dhanakumar, Rossing, & Campbell, 1996; Diem and Nikola, 2005; Hejny, 2010; Howell, Weir, & Cook, 1979; Kelsey & Wall,
53 2003; Strickland, 2011; Whent & Leising, 1992 ). Studies have also been conducted on the theoretical underpinnings of the se programs (Black, 2006; Black & Earnest, 2009; Hejny, 2010; Van de Valk, 2010 ). A synthesis of research has been conducted with the recommendation that further research is needed in the field of agricultural leadership programs (Kaufman & Rudd, 2006 ). P rogram Outcomes To assess program outcomes, evaluations have been conducted of several programs on the state level (Abington Cooper, 2005; Black, 2006; Carter and Rudd, 2000; Diem and Nikola, 2005; Dhanakumar, Rossing, & Campbell, 1996; Hejny, 2010; Kelsey & Wall, 2003; Whent &Leising, 1992 ). In addition to evaluations on the state or program level, Howell, Weir, and Cook (1979), Black, Metzler, and Waldrum (2006), and Strickland (2011) conducted evaluations of multiple state programs Program outcomes have been classified as having impacts on both the individual and the community levels Program impacts on the individual level included increased skill development (Howell, et al 1979), increased communication skills (Diem & Nikola, 2005), increased confid ence to become involved in leadership roles (Diem & Nikola, 2005; Howell, et al 1979), increased networking and team building skills (Carter & Rudd, 2000; Diem & Nikola, 2005; Earnest, 1996; Whent & Leising, 1992), broadened perspectives on current issu es (Abington Cooper, 2005), and greater knowledge of others (Diem &Nikola, 2005 ). Program impacts on the community level included participants educating others invol vement in community affairs (Howell, et al 1979), increased awareness of political issues by participants (Carter & Rudd, 2000; Earnest, 1996); and encouraging others to become more involved in community issues (Earnest, 1996 ).
54 Theoretical Underpinning s of Programs As a means for evaluation, Black and Earnest (2009) provided a theoretical framework and conceptual model to guide a state leadership program The theoretical framework included elements of social learning theory, adult learning theory and th e EvaluLEAD framework (Black, 2006 ). This framework encompassed context of leadership programming, the experiences of participants, and the self reported transformation of the participant, organization and community (Black, 2006 ). Hejny (2010) conducted a qualitative case study to assess outcomes of a specific agricultural leadership program The purpose of the study was to identify leadership experiences of past participants of the program leadership styles aligned with both servant leadership and transformational leadership approaches (Hejny, 2010 ). Van de Valk (2010) researched the disconnect between the practice of agricultural leadership programs and theoretical underpinnings of programs Through the identification of outcomes, the study organized three leadership constructs within the development of the LEAD New York program: communication skills, developing leadership skills, and networking, relationships and teams Through the analysis of the relationships between the three constructs, a theoretical framework was constructed for that specific leadership program Findings indicated that the program focused on skill iv ). Additional Lit erature on Agricultural Leadership Programs Kaufman and Rudd (2006) conducted a synthesis of research on rural leadership programs In their study they categorized subject matter on adult rural leadership development and identified areas lacking in researc h related to rural leadership
55 programs Findings indicated that there have been very few publications in the areas The publications in the study covered the topics of continuing education, gender equity, safety and health, partnerships, political shifts, and statewide program impact This study suggested the need for research as a means to share results and improve the overall quality of research Sheffert (2007) conducted a study of a rural leadership program to determine impacts of program duration on p articipant outcomes Findings included that programs of the longest duration had the most impact on participant skill development and knowledge Additional findings included that participants are more committed to leadership positions upon completion of th e program Recommendations included programs using tested theories to guide leadership program development Kaufman, et al ( agricultural community to determine the leadership needs in order to assemble an agricultural leadership program Findings from this study helped determine the areas of focus of an agricultural leadership program, which included knowledge of a changing industry, relationship building, and skill development Researchers concluded tha t the Kellogg Farmers Study Program model still has a place in designing and implementing agricultural leadership programs today (Kaufman, et al ., 2010 ). Research has also been conducted on behaviors and cognitive development (preferences) of participants within agricultural leadership programs. This has been mainly conducted within the field of opinion leadership as agricultural leadership program participants have been identified within the industry as opinion leaders (Wi ndham, 2009). Berlo, Lemert, an
56 Individuals can influence others frequent attitudes or behaviors through opinion leadership to achieve desired objectives (Rogers, 2 003). When making decisions, influencing opinion formation (Bearde n, Netemeyer, & Teel, 1989). Characteristics of opinion leaders include knowledge and involvement in a ctivities related to their area or industry and willingness to stay informed about new issues (Corey, 1971). Through social capital, opinion leaders can shape individuals reactions to social issues (Scheufele & Shah, 2000, p. 109). This type of leadership is not found in positional power but is earned through competence, social accessibility and understanding of the system (Rogers, 2003). Wi ndham (2009) examined the source credibility of agricultural organizations as perceived by opinion leaders within the agricultural industry. The study identified participants of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (WLIANR) as opinion leaders as they were considered opinion leaders within their community, organization and industry. T he study gauged the amount of information received from opinion leaders in addition to the tendency for an opinion receive information from organizations they view as trust worthy and are most willing to present considered being credible. The study hypothesized that opinion leaders in the agricultural industry have unique opinions as a result of their unique experience and by working on issues on community, organizational an d industry levels (W i ndham, 2009).
57 Adult Leadership Development and Education Workplace training and development has moved toward an identity and distinctiveness apart for other human resource activities (Marsick, 1988 ). Within corporations and communitie s a significant monetary commitment was made for leadership training which offers the cultivation of leadership qualities and skills through structured activity (Brungardt, 1996; Lewis & Williams, 1994 ). These adult training programs have covered a variet y of topics, formats and purposes Some of these programs have focused on skill development with particular contexts, while others have the goal of creating more informed citizens which leads to advocacy on the local level (Fredricks, 1998 ). According to F especially in leadership skills, to accomplish anything is the driving force behind these 133 ). Changes in environments, technology, policy, and availability of resources indicated the n eed for individuals to change and adapt In order to do so, training programs have been made available this new generation of leaders to cope and to win the world may appear to be a difficult task, however, busines ses and communities throughout the United States are dedicated 130 ). Both corporations and communities have provided leadership education for stakeholders (Brungardt & Seibel, 1995 ). Corporations have offered training in order to strengt hen skills within its employee base (Stephan, Mills, Pace, & Ralphs, 1988) while & Seibel, 1995, p 2) though leaders addressing current iss ues and concerns According to Fredricks (1998), corporations that invest in leadership training have spent over $50 billion in the development of
58 leaders Additionally, 60% of the largest corporations in the world have provided leadership training for the ir employee base (Stephan, Mills, Pace, & Ralphs, 1988 ). While some training modules follow a paradigm based in behaviorism, other training programs are moving toward the frameworks including experiential learning (Marsick, 1988 ). According to Lewis and being applied more widely than ever before in business and industry, because experiential learning legitimizes acquiring self knowledge Learners now have a mandate to see, learn about and examine their own unique situations in action, as they 10 ). In this context, experiential learning focused on differences in learning styles and the experience of the learner versus behaviorism that focuses on the design of the activity (Marsick, 1988 ). Related Literature to Adult Leadership Programs Marsick (1988) proposed a new paradigm for understanding workplace learning that focuses on reflection and critical reflection In this framework, learning is viewed through the lens of experiential (p 190 ). Additionally, development within an organization was seen as a combination of personal growth and organi zational productivity In sum, workplace learning can be facilitated through aiding employees in understanding their experiences Since workers needed more than a set of technical skills for the workplace, employee development programs were viewed as helpf ul because of the focus on teaching employees to analyze situations, determine needs, and derive their own solutions to solving the problem This new paradigm of employee training focused on learning of the worker,
59 integration of personal and job related d evelopment, and an emphasis on both formal and non formal learning (Marsick, 1988 ). Earnest (1996) conducted a research study assessing the impact of various community leadership programs within a state Through a pre test post test assessment, participan ts of the programs reported increased leadership skills, personal networking within communities, greater awareness of issues, increased self confidence, and broadened perspectives Researchers recommended that community leadership programs should incorpora 4), leadership awareness and more hands on practical learning experiences Fredricks (1998) examined current literature on leadership development and training programs and conducted a review of the lite rature on statewide community leadership programs around at the time The researcher found that similarities and differences exist among different state program goals, outcomes and participants The commonality among programs was the specific objective in meeting the needs of the community and providing leadership for the changes in which the community might face Following the assessment of programs, Fredricks (1998) also provided description of the elements of a successful program These included headquar ters, goals, curriculum designed to insight critical thinking about issues within its participants, and communication with past participants The literature review and description provided suggestions for future leadership training programs (Fredricks, 199 8 ). Myers and Roberts (2004) offered a format for faculty to design and deliver professional workshops to the clientele which they serve The purpose of the article was to provide a guide for using experiential learning as the methodology in delivering
60 pr ofessional development workshops to adult audiences Experiential learning was presented as the format with justification for the teaching methods by meeting the needs of adults as indicated by the study of andragogy Professional development wo rkshops can student centered approaches that allow students to become 27 ). Within this approach, instructors adopted a facil itator role as students learn the content Student centered approaches worked well to deliver professional workshops with learning processes that include problem solving, cooperative learning and experiential learning Chapter Summary The purpose of the cu rrent study was to explore how an adult agricultural leadership program utilized reflection methods and determine how various reflection methods, at the group and individual level, influenced the development of critical reflection Chapter Two began with a review of the theoretical framework for the studies Theories guiding the study were adult learning theory, experiential learning (Roberts, 2006), reflection, and critical reflection (Mezirow, 1991 ). A conceptual model was presented to display the connec tions between experiential learning, agricultural leadership program activities, reflection methods utilized by the participants and critical reflection Following the conceptual model, current empirical research that related to the theoretical components of the study was presented Finally, literature on agricultural leadership programs and adult leadership programs was presented
61 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Overview The purpose of this study was to explore how an adult agricultural leadership program utilized reflection methods and to determine how various reflection methods influenced the development of critical reflection The objec tives for this study were to identify how program participants reflect on program experiences, determine the themes and concepts from program experiences that participants are reflecting upon, and identify if or to what extent to which each reflection meth od utilized by the program produces critical reflection by the participants Chapter Two proposed a conceptual framework to guide the study that utilized the theories of constructivism and adult learning, and the approach of experiential learning Studies on adult leadership development, agricultural leadership programs, and other adult leadership programs were reported to supplement the study Chapter T hree discusses the methodology and research design of this study Qualitative research was described just ifying its use in the design The ontology, epistemology, theoretical perspectives, methodology, researcher subjectivity, research design, population, data collection and data analysis procedures were also described Finally, qualitative measures of reliab ility and validity were outlined According to Miles and Huberman (1994), qualitative research is the best strategy for discovery and exploration Qualitative research defined by Creswell (1998) as: an inquiry process of understanding based on distinct m ethodological traditions of inquiry that explore a social or human problem The researcher builds a complex, holistic picture, analyzes words, reports detailed views of informants, and conducts the study in a natural setting (p 15 ).
62 Dooley (2007) studied the approach within the context of agricultural education and reasoned that interpretive approaches emphasized the study of how individuals construct meaning and understand their actions and surroundings does not come to us like a m ath problem, but more like a story There is a setting or context, there are characters or respondents, and there is conflict or a problem to 33 34 ). Herrera (2010) suggested that qualitative research is well suited for understa nding experiences and the meaning that individuals create from those experiences Context of the Study This qualitative study examined the use of reflection within an agricultural leadership program, the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (WLIANR ). The program was established to aid in the development of agricultural leadership in the state of Florida The Florida Leadership Program for Agriculture and Natural Resources was established in 1991 (Carter & Rudd, 2000) and wa s later renamed as the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (Strickland, 2011 ). Its mission is to provide training and development to communities Issues discussed in the program fall into social, political, cultural, economic, and agriculture contexts and are examined and discussed on local, state, national and international levels (WLIANR, 2011 ). Program objectives include; preparing p otential leaders to assume leadership roles in their organizations, industries and communities; establishing networks among class members and alumni to develop the agricu lture and natural resource businesses; analyzing complex issues facing
63 individuals in agriculture and natural resources; developing interpersonal skills in order to foster better understanding; and creating understanding of social, economic and political s ystems and how to work within these systems to bring about change (WLIANR, 2011 ). Upon class selection, participants attend eleven seminars over a two year period to examine issues on the local, state, national and international levels (WLIANR, 2011 ). Cl ass V III was established in November 2010 and concluded their experience in August 2012 Seminars were held on state, national and international levels Table 3 1 provides a description of curriculum topics and locations of the two year experience As part of the structured curriculum in WLIANR, participants take part in reflection activities during each seminar These activities are done both at the individual and group levels Table 3 1 Class V III Schedule Seminar Location Date Focus Seminar I Gainesv ille, FL November 8 12, 2010 Orientation and Community Issues Seminar II Miami and Palm Beach County, FL January 24 28, 2011 Metropolitan and South Florida Issues Seminar III Tallahassee, FL March 21 24, 2011 State Government and State Issues Seminar IV Florida Panhandle May 16 19, 2011 Issues in the Panhandle Seminar V Gainesville, FL July 18 21, 2011 State and National Issues Seminar VI Washington DC, New Mexico, Arizona September 19 29, 2011 Federal Government and National Issues Seminar VII Howey In t he Hills, FL December 1 3, 2011 Interpersonal Development Seminar V III Polk County, FL February 20 23, 2012 Media Training and Current Agriculture and Natural Resource Issues Seminar IX Gainesville, FL April 16 19, 2012 International Issues Seminar X France, Luxembourg, Belgium, The Netherlands June 1 17, 2012 International Travel Seminar XI Orlando, FL August 9 12 Graduation and Alumni Meeting
64 For this particular study, an examination of how individuals construct meaning was conducted using data from both individual and group reflection activities These included transcri pts of group reflection activities guided by participants, and individual reflections in the forms of questionnaires photo journals and letters Field notes were also used to su pplement the data The researcher adopted a relativist ontology and the epistemology of constructionism to view and understand the data Data were comprised of reflection activities done on both the individual and group level; therefore two units of analys is were examined With two units of analysis, both constructivism and social constructionism were employed as the theoretical perspectives for the study Ontology and Epistemology Relativism In designing a study, researchers should select a research parad igm that is p 2 ). Relativism consists of constructed and co constructed realities and asserts that there are multiple realities and knowledge is subject to interpr etation by individuals (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005 ). Those employing a relativist ontology believe in multiple realities and deny the existence of one truth (Guba & Lincoln, 1994 ). Relativism recognizes that different individuals occupy different realities an d these realities constitute diversity in ways of knowing and meaning (Crotty, 2010 ). Truth is understood reducible plurality (Bernstein, 1983, p 8 ). 64 ). Individuals report events by how they see and react to them; ther efore reality is constructed within a
65 specific context The world then, consists of multiple realities that are influenced by context (Crotty, 2010 ). A relativist approach to this research study assumes that multiple perspectives exist and these realities are voiced through reflection Additionally the acknowledgement of multiple realities permits the research er to attempt to reflected upon Constructionism Crotty (2003) con tended that constructionism is removed from the objectivism or the positivistic view of research, but is also separated from the view of subjectivism Constructionism in epistemology is compatible with relativism in ontology in that when a concept is socia Therefore, social constructionism is also relativist knowledge, and therefore all meaningful reality as such, is contingent upon human practic es, being constructed in an out of interaction between human beings and their p 42 ). Meaning in this context is not discovered but rather created and constructed th rough interaction between the object and the subject engaged within that setting (Crotty, 2003; Denzin & Lincoln, 2000 ). Constructionism allows the researcher to understand and explain how they know about the research, however, constructionism is separate from subjectivism because meanings emerge from the interaction and how the subject relates to something and not just the meaning they impose on it (Crotty, 2003 ). In research, meaning is co constructed by the researcher and participants through their inte raction In this grounded theory study, this interaction and engagement between the
66 two parties allows the researcher to explore different ways of looking at a single concept Theoretical Perspective This study utilized the theoretical frameworks of const ructivism and social constructionism sense of it It involves knowledge and embodies a certain understanding of what is 2003, p 8 ). 2004, p 375 ). The world becomes understood and meaningful in the mind whic h indicates relativist ontology and an epistemology of subjectivism Constructivists are 158 ). ctive reality, asserting instead that realities are social constructions of the mind, and that there exist & Lincoln, 1989, p 43 ). In learning and the construction of knowledge, reality is an ind ividual experience (Merriam & Caffa rella, 1999 ). The use of constructivism as a theoretical perspective acknowledges that each individual makes their own sense of the world (Crotty, 2010 ). Constructivism is primarily an individualistic activity and the t unique experience of each of us It suggests that each on s way of making sense of the world is valid and worth of respect as any other, thereby tending to scotch any hind 58 ). Constructivism al igns itself with social & Lincoln, 2000 ). In learning and the construction of
67 knowledge, reality is an individual experience (Merriam & Caffa rella, 1999 ). The use of constructivism as a theoretical perspective acknowledges that each individual makes their own sense of the world (Crotty, 2003 ). Though the definitions describing constructivism utilize the social world, it is important to note, that meanings made in the mind as opposed to social constructionism in which meaning in a product of social consensus meaning making and knowledge production processes that are guided by conventions of language and Koro Ljungber g, & Echevarria Doan, 2008 p. 140 ) Social constructionism contrasts with constructivism in having a more focusing on the social aspect as opposed to individual cognitive processes Social constructi onism aims to draw on constructionism but adds to it the dimensions of historical or sociocultural dynamics (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000 ). Knowledge is a product of social actions and culture as opposed to interpretivism (Young & Collin, 2004 ). Social constru ctionism is interested in interactions and rhetorical processes Individuals do not make sense of the world as single beings, but by engaging in a world of meaning (Crotty, 2003 ). The lenses used to view the world are influenced by the culture of a given group thoughts that are constructed for us We have to reckon also with the social construction of emotions and meaningful reality All reality, as meaningful reality is sociall y 54 ). In its epistemology, knowledge is historically and & Collin, 2004, p 377 ). d, apolitical, and exclusive of affective and embodied aspects of human experience, but in some sense
68 & Lincoln, 2003, p 308 ). In social constructionism, when an object is described, it is not a s traightforward representation as individuals report how they relate to the object which can be influenced by our culture interpretations in isolation but against a backdrop of shared understandings practices, Denzin & Lincoln, 2003, p 197 ). Individuals do not make sense of the world as single beings but by engaging in a world of meaning (Crotty, 2003 ). The lenses used to view the world are influenced by the culture of a given group Researcher Subjectivity p 154 ). As a researcher designing a ground ed theory of reflection within an agricultural leadership program context, I included a researcher subjectivity statement to display experiences from my life that have influenced the lens in which I view the agricultural industry and agricultural leadershi p programs . 6 ). Agriculture and rural life have always been a part of my life experience and will continually play a role in my aspirations as a leadership specialist and teacher Overtime, my focus has changed, but the desire to serve the agricultural industry has not wavered Throughout my college career, I realized I wanted to focus on the people involved in t he industry As I advanced in my studies and career, I realized I wanted to work with adult groups in non formal settings
69 While working for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture I helped establish the New Mexico Agricultural Leadership Program The pr provide leadership training and issue awareness to individuals in the food, agriculture and natural resource industries of the state I familiarized myself with different agricultural leadership programs I also learned how industry functions and how its challenges and opportunities demand strong leadership to ensure success This was confirmed by learning about the success of different agricultural leadership programs and the impacts program participants were making across the countr y Through my experience, I saw success in class participants as a result of the developed skills, understanding of issues, and the networks established I understood the processes of developing leaders through training Upon this realization, I wanted to do more than just facilitate a program, but also focus on teaching and learning methods within these programs This led me to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Florida I am currently completing my doctoral degree in Agricultural Education an d Communication with an emphasis in Agricultural Leadership For the first two years of my program, I worked with the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (WLIANR ). The program built upon my previous experience by placing a n emphasis on research to develop leaders for the i ndustry Duties included assisting in program administration, alumni operations, recruitment and promotion For the majority of my assistantship, I worked with Class V III Working with the program gave me the opportunity to design a research program with the main focus being on experiential learning processes and reflection within an agricultural leadership program
70 I believe that a focus on developing leaders is essential to the survival of the agricultur al industry Agriculture and natural resource industries continue to face multiple challenges that affect the viability and economic strength of its businesses To address these challenges, leaders need to understand the world in terms of social, economic, cultural and political realties among not only the industry, but also its consumer I believe that as agriculture continues to be a major driving force in our In addition to producing food an d agricultural products, the industry has the responsibility of ensuring long term sustainability in changing times This is even more so now as the industry prepares to feed a growing population The question arises, how do we successfully prepare agricul tural leadership program participants to lead the industry through these changing/ turbulent times and take care of the needs of its consumer? Research has shown that agricultural leadership programs are effective in developing the leaders for the industry but how leadership programs are developing these leaders through teaching and learning methods has not been examined One of the more common approaches to learning in these programs is experiential learning with emphasis place on the activity of reflecti on Working in two different programs, I observed participants learning from their own experiences and the experiences of others This contributes to my philosophy on experiential learning, reflection and constructivism/ social constructionism Understand ing of complex issues can be achieved through times of introspection and/ or discussion with others These acti vities take place during times of personal or group reflection During reflection activities, I believe participants were given opportunity to
71 un derstand and interpret information, build existing information, and examine their own beliefs As a qualitative researcher, it was important to me to listen to the voices of the participants and be faithful in reporting their observa tions during reflection activities The lens in which I view the agricultural industry and agricultural leadership programming has been influenced by my experiences The need for leadership within the industry has been guided by a motivation to see successful leadership within the industry which has grown through interaction with current and future industry leaders Through establishing an agricultural leadership program, working for the WLIANR and participating in leadership programs such as LEAD 21, an understanding of the nee ds met by leadership programs and how these programs operate has led me to pursue this research While I realize full objectivity is impossible and my perspectives play an influence on the data collection and analysis, I also do not want to dis tort what pa rticipants shared. Charmaz (2006) indicate d that both researcher reflexivity and prior knowledge of the field influence the researcher. These two aspects combine under the interpretivist research principle of the researcher as the instrument of data coll ection. theoretical choices regarding where to find data and what data to observe as g and analysis. My knowledge stems from research and classwork on experiential learning, reflection, leadership development and agricultural leadership programs. Additionally though the literature did not directly guide how I chose my specific theoretica l codes, which were chosen through the memo ing process, I was able to return to the data and
72 the research to confirm how findings fit within the context of agricultural leadership programs. Data collection concluded in August 2012. Though data collection concluded, I stayed involved in the program and kept in contact with participants through my assistantship and alumni activities. I did not revisit the data for this study and attempted to pull myself away from the data for several months to increase my objectivity and decrease my familiarity with the data and the participants in order to see it with fresh eyes in an attempt to supplement my data collection field notes with new insights. I acknowledge that I was a participant in the process. I experience d the leadership development program alongside the participants. I did not participate in reflection activities, but listened to participant observations and transcribed field notes documenting my impressions and instincts Though I did not know what the objective of the reflection would be I did not try to drive the conversation by participating. However, in my field notes I attempted to make connections to program objectives. In this, I experienced each speaker and field visit. I was given the oppor tunity to experience the leadership program and in doing so, as much as I tried to separate myself, I must acknowledge that the leadership program experience played an influence on the data analysis, as I was able to recall my own construction of the exper ience. With that, it cannot be negated that my experiences played a role in the analysis. Though I took several months off between data collection and data transcription and analysis, my experiences played a role in how the data was categorized and analy zed. Research Design The purpose of this study is to explore how an adult agricultural leadership program utilized reflection methods and to determine how various reflection methods
73 influenced the development of critical reflection The primary method of i nvestigation was grounded theory Participants Purposeful sampling was used to identify participants for this study Participants were members of Class V III of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (WLIANR ). Participan ts ( N = 30) of the study were members of the WLIANR Class V III Eighteen males and 12 females, ranging from resource industries made up the census of this study (WLI ANR, 2011 ). Participants represented the citrus, fruit and vegetable production, horticulture, energy, natural resources, chemical and fertilizer, forestry, agribusiness and industry support, and diversified production industries of Florida. The industry breakdown of participants is provided in Table 3 2. Participants came from the north, central, southwest, southeast, and central regions of the state. Four participants represented the northern region of Florida which included the panhandle and the coun ties of Gilchrist and Alachua. The central region had the larg est number of participants in the class at 19 The central region included Seminole, Orange, Polk, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Highlands, Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. Three participants came from the southwest region of Florida which was made up of Lee and Hendry Counties. Finally, the four participants from the southeast region of Florida represented Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade Counties. Individuals were able to p articipate in the program through nomination and selection Selection criteria included; 1. Nomination by a recognized leaders in Florida agriculture or natural resources 2. United States citizenship
74 3. Private sector employment whereas a significant part of their income comes from 4. the required time of the program 5. Demonstrated leadership qualities and community involvement 6. industries 7. Evidence of concern for issues outside of their own perspective 8. Evidence of the likelihood of personal growth as a result of the program 9. Good character and reputation as evidenced by references 10. Full commitment to participation in the two year program Table 3 2. Industry Breakdown of Participants Industry Number of Participants Citrus 5 Fruit and Vegetable Production 4 Environmental Horticulture 4 Energy 2 Natural Resources 3 Forestry 3 Agribusiness and Industry Support 3 Diversified Production 3 Data Collection Data collection was collected over two years, beginning at the first seminar of Class V III Review Board Approval for the study (UFIRB # 2010 U 1058 ). For the purposes of this study, data included participant guided group reflections which were transcribed by the researcher, questionnaires on topics from specific seminars, letters, and photo journals The data were also
75 supplemented by field notes Each instrument was designed by the researcher and panel of experts at the University of Florida For the purp ose of design and analysis, data collection was grouped into the categories of group reflection and individual reflection to correspond with the two theoretical perspectives of constructivism (individual) and social constructionism (group ). Both types of data were collected throughout the 11 seminars of the Class V III curriculum To pre face the study, during Seminar One the researcher presented to the class the objectives of the research and asked consent to collect data for the study from each participan t Table 3 3 provides a description of the data collected over the two years on both the individual level and the group level As stated earlier, data is supplemented by researcher field notes from each seminar Data were collected through group and indiv idual reflection activities, including recording and transc ribing group reflection activities participant questionnaires, letters and photo journals. Individual reflection activities and group reflection prompts are provided in Appendix A and Appendix B. Appendix C provides several examples of photos used in the photo journaling activity.
76 Table 3 3 Data Collection Seminar Individual Reflection Group Reflection Seminar I Group reflection Seminar II Personal letter describing WLIANR experiences Seminar III Questionnaire on the legislative process at the state level Seminar IV Group ref lection activity field notes Seminar V Group reflection Seminar VI Photo journal G roup reflection Seminar VII Seminar V III Questionnaire on experienc e in media relations Group reflection Seminar IX Group r eflection Seminar X G roup reflection Seminar XI Questionnaire on the use of reflection Group reflection Data Analysis uctivist grounded theory Grounded theory is designed to build a theory of a practice that is bound within a specific context of the phenomenon being studied (Merriam, 1998, Creswell, 1998 ). According to Greckhamer and Koro Ljungberg (2005), grounded theo a set of techniques or procedures designed to produce a certain kind of knowledge that has evolved and continues 730 ). The method seeks to develop theory
77 about everyday issues (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) and these theories produced are bound to the context in which they are studied (Creswell, 2007 ). The theory generated is individuals involved i n the changing conditions react as a result of those actions (Strauss & Corbin, 1996 ). The theory emerged from symbolic interactionism, which examines an individual in society and the relationship between the individual and their perceptions and actions ( Annells, 1996 ). The individual and their perceptions do not exist until they interact with the world Over time, several transformations of grounded theory have occurred including the traditional approaches of Glaser & Strauss (1967), Strauss and Corbin (1990 ; 1998) and Charmaz (2005 ; 2006 ). Approaches are the same in that the theory requires the researcher to address the same characteristics: theoretical sensitivity on part of the researcher, theoretical sampling, treatment of the literature, constant c omparative methods, coding, the meaning of verification, identifying the core category, memo ing and diagramming, and the measures of trustworthiness (McCann & Clark, 2003 ). These approaches can be distinguished by their ontological, epistemological approa ches and their methodology (Mills, Bonner & Francis, 2006 ). In the evolution of the theory, the relationship between the researcher and participant has changed in that the ls, et al 2006 ). Constructivist grounded theory is the most contemporary approach in that as the researcher collects data and reconstructs experience, meaning, and how reality is defined in the study In her approach, constructivist grounded theory; Cha rmaz (2005) proposes a contemporary approach to grounded theory analysis Past methods in
78 grounded theory have relied on objectivism, whereas Charmaz recommends using a constructionist epistemology to study and interpret data and build a theory A construc tivist approach to grounded theory is appropriate for this study Rather the discovered reality arises (Charmaz, 2000, p 524 ). In this type of analysis, researchers seek meanings for not only what is said or written through reflection activities, but also question the values and The interaction between the research er and part 35 ). In the analysis, the researcher is the co creator of knowledge and in that the description of the situation and interaction effect ho w reflection activities will be reported In conducting data analysis using constructivist grounded theory, guidelines are provided as tools for analysis, but the emphasis is more on studying the phenomenon rather than just the methods of study (Charmaz, 2 006 ). In that, close and locating 50 9 ). Charmaz points out that data is not waiting to be discovered, but is created through interaction between the participants and researcher In that, the researcher brings with them their frame of reference (Charmaz, 2005 ). Constructivist grounded theory is used in this study to render information from group and individual reflection activities Once data were collected, the process of
79 coding and analyzing the data began Charmaz (2006) recommends a temporal sequence of benchmarks in the research and anal ysis process The steps include gathering data, coding, memo writing, theoretical sampling, sorting, and assessment Similar to Charmaz (2006), Pidgeon and Henwood (2006) provided a guided framework through the series of analysis that starts with an initia l topic and moves through composing research questions, data collection, building theoretical categories, interpretations, models and written accounts of theory through indexing and memo writing Through the initial questions, data preparation, and analysi s, the researcher develops concepts, definitions and theoretical accounts to form the grounded theory Figure 3 1 displays the steps in the grounded theory process as proposed by Pidgeon and Henwood (2006 ). Data were collected from November 2010 to August 2012 To separate herself from the data, the researcher did not transcribe or analyze for nine months following the last data collection point. Nine months following collection, t he researcher prepared the data by transcribi ng the group reflection activi ties along with each of the indi vidual reflection questionnaires letters, and photo journals Following collection and data storage, open coding began, coding each reflection activity individually Open coding commenced chronologically, with the researche r analyzing each reflection activity separately in the order in which they were collected. For examp le, the group reflection activity in Seminar One was analyzed for initial codes followed by Seminar Four, Seminar Five and so on. This played a role on ho w codes were formed as reflection activities at the beginning of the two year experience started the coding process and
80 initial codes. Through a constant comparative analysis, codes grew and evolved as each reflection transcription was added to the analys is. I ndividual and group reflection activities were coded independently. All individual reflections were carried through to the focused coding stage before group reflections were coded with the intention of keeping individual and group reflection activi ties separate and in accordance with the theoretical perspectives of constructivism (individual reflections) and social constructionism (group reflections) within the epistemology of constructionism. Throughout the process of transcription and coding, the researcher added to field notes recording observations about the data as was conducted in the field notes for the collection process Following coding, the researcher worked with her dissertation committee to review index systems and models created through the core analysis As outcomes from the data were assessed, the researcher reviewed the data in conjunction with all field notes to determine if data needs to be revisited or more data should be added to the categories to achieve saturation
81 Figure 3 1 Steps in the grounded theory process N Pidgeon and K Henwood, 2006 Handbook of Data Analysis p 631 Field Notes Following each seminar, the researcher compiled observations, questions, and impressions into field n otes. Field notes provided a context for reflections used in the data analysis. The researcher attempted to provide rich with their contributions to the group refl ection, impressions of their dialogue and context to the statements provided. For example, if a significant event took place over the course of the seminar, it was recorded in the field notes. The field notes also provided ions of sp eakers, observations that were not recorded in the reflections and any challenges that may have confronted the class during the seminar.
82 In addition to field notes, the researcher utilized other program materials to supplement the data analysis. This in cluded recruitment materials and program information as well as newsletters written by participants following each seminar. Coding. Interpretation of the data were completed through coding and analysis. Codes were separated, sorted and synthesized using q ualitative coding procedures outlined by Charmaz (2006). Each data source was coded using initial focused and theoretical coding procedures. In vivo codes were used to represent the statements of the participants. In initial coding, line by line coding was utilized. In focused coding, the researcher determined the most useful initial codes to review all data and assure that data fit within the given codes. Data were first broken down by individual and group activity, then by objective. The categories that formed as a result of the focused codes were either classified as themes of reflection (objective two) or processes of reflection (objectives one and three). After initial coding, all data were reviewed in each objective to confirm saturation. Follo wing focused coding; theoretical coding was conducted to specify the relationships between the categories selected in the focused c oding process (Charmaz, 2006). Appendix D provides an example of the coding process indicating initial codes drawn from text and the focused codes that emerged from the data. Theoretical Sampling As stated in the limitations of the study, theoretical sampling of the purposive sample was not conducted as the study was designed after data was collected. Theoretical sampling co process allows for the conceptual and theoretical development as opposed to description and depth of the sample. Charmaz (2006) wro
83 are full, they reflect qualities of your experiences and provide a useful, conducted in the study by the researcher sifting th rough the data and revisiting each reflection activity after theor etical codes began to develop. As data was collected, the researcher was concerned with collecting data to inform the study of the use of reflection within an agricultural leadership progra m. Participants yielded rich information as they were taught early in the program how to reflect and throughout the two years were given multiple opportunities to reflect at both individual and group levels. Participants in the program, and therefore the study, were selected based on common criteria, however, their experience, personal interpretations of experiences (constructivism), and demographics varied widely. This aided in the adequacy of the widely and diversely the analyst chose [her] groups from saturating categories according to the type of theory [she] The development of the theoretical categories carried the weight of the analysis (Charm az, 2006). As the theoretical categories emerged from the data, neither data nor 10). As with beginning grounded theory studies, a weakness may lie in that additionally collected data could influence the applicability and thoroughness of the theory (Charmaz, 2006) Future theoretical sampling to check and distill the theoretical categories d eveloped in this study can continue as data from multiple populations and contexts are collected for future studies.
84 Qualitative Measures of Validity and Reliability eight cr iteria for a quality study: worthy topic, rich rigor, sincerity, credibility, resonance, significant contribution, ethical procedure, and meaningful coherence criteria incorporate multiple paradigms of qualitative research Topics can be influenced by previous literature and concepts or by societal events As agricultural programs have been examined for individual and community level outcomes, a study in learning methods and particularly reflection is a worthy topic that is relevant and ti mely and significant in the research field of agricultural leadership programs The study can build on prior outcome studies and provide knowledge on how these outcomes can be achieved through learning methods ely confirms existing 841 ). Rigor was established by using multiple theoretical constructs: experiential learning, adult learning, reflection, critical reflection, constructivism and social constructionism Additionally rigor was established through extensive time spent in the field and within the extensive data analysis Sincerity was achieved through researcher reflexivity and the researcher being honest and transparent throughout t he collection and data analysis Resonance was achieved through increasing reaction and understanding in The study made a significant contribution to the field by contributing to the theory, method, practice and future research of experiential learning, adult learning, reflection, agricultural leadership programs and adult leadership programming The researcher followed ethical procedures throughout data collection and time in the field as well as
85 during data analysis by staying true to participants observations Research that is gauged on its meaningful coherence is examined to determine if it has achieved its intended purpose and if this research design, data coll ection and analysis ties into the problem and theoretical framework This was established through the researcher tying the proposed grounded theory to the data and to previous literature. This indicated that the grounded theory supplemented the bodies of literature in agricultural leadership programs and reflection. In this step, the researcher was also able to indicate the role she played in the entire research process (Tracy, 2010 ). The final measure for quality proposed by Tracy (2010) is credibility Credibility is established through the trustworthiness of the study and dependability of its findings which was provided by thick description of the findings by the researcher providing context to each reported findings Cr ystallization was chose as a mea sure of credibility as it fits within the interpretive paradigm and social constructionism (Aguinaldo, 2004; Tracy, 2010 ). Crystallization was utilized by the researcher gathering data through various methods and frameworks to bring about truth of a large r picture As data came together and surrounded a central theme, the quality of the research increased (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005 ). Through the use of field notes, data sources, and past research, multiple accounts of the same story were given Chapter Summ ary A thorough qualitative study is established by extensive field time, exhaustive and meticulous data analysis, and the ability to show multiple viewpoints in the data (Creswell, 1998 ). Chapter three discussed the methodology utilized in this study and includes descriptions of the epistemology, theoretical perspective, methodology, researcher subjectivity, research design, population, data collection and data analysis
86 procedures The study adopted a constructionism epistemology with constructivism servin g as the theoretical perspective The study was a grounded theory analysis that employed participants of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources to provide data Data were presented in the written forms of field notes, tran scribed participant guided group reflections; questionnaires, letters and journals Data analysis was conducted using the approach employed by Charmaz (2006 ).
87 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS The purpose of this study was to explore how an adult agricultural leadership program utilized reflection methods and to determine how various reflection methods influenced the development of critical reflection. The objectives for this study were ; 1. To identify how program participants reflect on program experiences 2. To determine the themes and concepts from program experiences that partici pants are reflecting upon 3. To i dentify if or to what extent to which each reflection method utilized by the program produces critical reflection by the participants. Chapter Two proposed a conceptual framework to guide the study that utilized the theories of constructivism and adult learning, and the approach of experiential learning. Studies on adult leadership development, agricultural leadership programs, and other adult leadership programs were re ported to supplement the study. Chapter data were collected using participants group and individual reflections within an agricultural leadership program over the course of two years. Chapter Four describes the findings. Data were collected through group and individual reflection activities, including recording and transc ribing group reflection activities participant questionnaires, letters and photo journals. Individual reflection ac tivities and group reflection prompts are provided in Appendix A and Appendix B. Appendix C provides several examples of photos used in the photo journaling activity. Upon completion of data collection, data were divided into the three objectives of the study for analysis. Data in each objective was coded separately as Objectives One and Three sought to find categories in
88 reflections. Throughout the research categories are referred to as codes for Objectives One and Three and themes within Objective Two. Interpretation of the data was completed through coding and analysis. A sample of coded text is provided in Appendix D Within Objectives One and Three, 225 initial codes within individual reflection and 206 initial codes within group reflections emerged from the data. Within Objective Two, 332 initial codes within individual reflection and 351 initial codes within the group reflection emerged from the data. Each data sou rce was coded using initial and focused coding procedures as outlined by Charmaz (2006 ). In initial coding, line by line coding was utilized. In focused coding, the researcher determined the most useful initial codes to review all data to assure that all d ata fit within the codes. This allowed the researcher to review and study data for t hemes and processes of reflection Following initial and focused coding, theoretical coding was conducted to specify the possible relationships between the categories selec ted in the focused coding process (Charmaz, 2006 ). Field notes were used to provide context to each reflection described in t he findings. Following each seminar, the researcher compiled observations, questions, and impressions into field notes. The resea rcher attempted to provide rich descriptions for each piece of data. Field notes also supplemented the memo ing process as field ions of speakers, observations that were not recorded in the reflections and any chal lenges that may have confronted the class during the seminar. In addition to field notes, the researcher utilized other program materials to supplement the data analysis. This included recruitment materials and program information as well as newsletters written by participants following each
89 seminar. Findings offer a comparison between individual and group reflection as well as offer a comparison between different codes found within individual reflection and codes found within group reflection. As provi ded in Chapter T hree, Table 4 1 provides a description of the data collected over the two years on both the individual level and the group level Table 4 1 Data Collection Seminar Individual Reflection Group Reflection Seminar I Group reflection Sem inar II Personal letter describing WLIANR experiences Seminar III Questionnaire on the legislative process at the state level Seminar IV Group reflection activity field notes Seminar V Group reflection Seminar VI Photo journal Group reflection Seminar VII Seminar V III Questionnaire on experience in media relations Group reflection Seminar IX Group reflection Seminar X Group reflection Seminar XI Questionnaire on the use of reflection Group reflection
90 Objective One How Partici pants Reflect on Program Experiences Data were first grouped into individual reflections and group reflections. Individual reflections were made up of questionnaires and journaling activities. Group reflections took place during seminars and were led by a program facilitator or class participant. Reflections would either take place at the midpoint or at the end of the seminar. The reflections were recorded and transcribed by the researcher For the first objective, to determine how program participants re flect, data were (1983) Reflection In Action and Reflection On Action. Once data were grouped into individual and group reflections, data were grouped into the categories of Reflecti on In Action and Reflection On Action. Following the initial coding, processes participants were using to reflect were us ed to separate the data further into the subca tegories which described processes of reflection. Codes found in individual and group activities are displayed in Table 4 2 and Table 4 3 Table 4 2. Reflection In Action Codes Reflection In Action Individual Reflection Reflection In Action Group Reflection Using Personal Experiences Disclosing Goals and Wants Learning through Shared Experiences Conveying an Opinion Connecting Multiple Class Experiences Personal Responsibility and Obligation Table 4 3 Reflection On Action Codes Reflection On Action Individual Reflection Reflection On Action Group Reflection Disclosing Goals and Wants Using Personal Ex periences Observations of Self Learning through Shared Experiences Lessons Learned through Experience Direct Observations Reflection on Change and Transformation Conveying Future Action
91 Reflection In Action Individual Reflection For individual reflec tions coded for Reflection In Action, data were divided into observations to disclose goals or wants, conveying an opinion, and conveying personal obligation or responsibil ity. The first code to emerge within individual reflection in Participants referre d to colleagues, family members past and present leaders, and speakers that had ad dressed the program. In doing so, reflect on what they thought and observed in that moment. Photo journals aided participants in reflecting in action as the photo provided a way for them to go back to the situation within their description. In the spirit of referring to past leaders experiences one participant tied past leadership to challenges. The photo journaling activity was assigned the national issues seminar in Washington, DC, New Mexico and Arizona. Participants were asked to submit a p hoto and journal entry or write up to describe the experience and the reflection the photo evoked. To stimulate writing, they were asked why they chose the photo, how the photo described what they learned, and what the photo might suggest about their thou ghts, values and assumptions. During th leaders and his staff led the class through the capital stopping in various places to point out monuments and events in history that had taken place where the class was walking. One participant chose to take a photo and write on the experience that took place within the National Capitol and his thoughts while the class toured the Rotunda. In writing the journal, he shared his thoughts of those who had walked before him and state d what he was thinking at the time of the activity;
9 2 As I stood there, I thought about great individuals like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan. I thought about the men and women that had served and died in our military to give us the freedoms that we enjoy today. I thought about the sacrifice of those that had served as ambassadors in other countries separated from their families for years at a time. I thought even with the challenges we face today, our coun try is still one of the greatest and stands for good (Photo Journal, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). Disclosing goals and wants. The second code within individual reflection in action to emerge was using observations to disclose goals or want s. These codes were found solely in the reflection letter activity from Seminar Two In this activity, participants were asked to write a letter to a family member, friend or colleague to detailing their experiences in the program. Letters were then submi tted to the researcher for analysis. In the letters, p articipants showed desire to share what they had lear ned with others as well as referred to what they felt and how it might apply to a shared experience with the reader As part of Seminar Two partici pants visited a homeless shelter in Miami. administrators and tour, the class was charged with serving dinner as a team that evening to the population coming in from the streets. During the time class participants r eported changes in their perspectives and how they were personally changed by the experience. At the end of the week one participa nt provided a letter that did not go into a description of the event, but disclosed how much he wanted his family, who was ad dressed in the letter, to experience what he had experienced. By the language used, it indicates he was thinking this as he was taking part in serving dinner that night at the shelter. I wish our family could have witnessed that together. They would have seen life from a different perspective and realized how much they have, when they see families like the ones with nothing at all but the clothes on their backs (Reflection Letters, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ).
93 Shared experiences were also in dicated in another letter which addressed the experience at the shelter as well. Wit hin this code, the participant referred to what they He also indicated how he realized what he could do at the given time and hoped to change as a result of the experience. I know that you think that I am already a positive person with a good attitude, but when talking to the staff of this shelter, I knew I could bring myself up to an whole new level of positive attitude, that would in turn make everyone happier, and more motivated toward the success of the business we run (Reflection Letters, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). Conveying an opinion. The third code to emerge was particip ants conveying an opinion. Through the photo journaling exercise, opinions were conveyed referring to the knowledge of others. Two observations emerged out the photo journals in which participants were examining the behaviors of others, be it past leadersh ip or present day colleagues. In one photo journal, a participant referred to what she saw and reflected upon during the Capitol Rotunda tour. The photo was of a painting of a particular point in history. In a previous reflection, this participant had i ndicated her political views and how they potentially differed from the rest of her classmates. In this In this entry she discussed the thought the emotion provoked and what she was thinki ng at the time of the photo. When I took this photo in the Capitol, it reminded me of all the history and conflict the United States has gone through since its inception. Many people But I believe most of them h ave absolutely no understanding of the thoughts of those leaders that actually make the basis of our government so great (Photo Journals, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ).
94 For the same activity, another participant provided her opinion in relat ion to her own industry and occupation. The photo she submitted was taken outside of the pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country th an by improving its agriculture participants had been briefed on trade, world hunger, and agricultural policy. In the photo journal, the participant discussed agriculture s important roles and need for improvement. In tying in the quote, the photo journal also included observations from past leadership When I saw the quote, I thought even George Washington understood the role agriculture plays, not just then, but the im September 29, 2011 ). Personal Responsibility and Obligation The fourth and final code to emerge from the data for individual reflection in action was the sense of personal responsibility and obligation. Observations made in the photo journals used past leadership and the sacrifices of others to convey a personal sense of duty and addressed the skills participants need to work on to become better leaders Once again, the tou r of the Capitol Rotunda was addressed. In the photo that corresponded with the following quote, the participant noted the importance of personal history. In addition to not only thinking about what leaders had done in the past, the participant went on to discuss how he felt because of their actions. The participant stated that;
95 As the Congressman led us on this tour and into the Rotunda, I felt a sense of awe to thin k about the people that had been there and the history that occurred here in the past times. I was humbled and inspired to think about the faith, sacrifice and service of our founding fathers. I was reminded of the dedication of those currently serving, an d my own responsibility to do what I can where I am to serve others (Photo Journals, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). Within the same activity, another participant addressed personal responsibility as a result of reflecting on what she had obs erved and learned as a result of the program. During the national trip, participants were given the opportunity to meet with officials and tour the National War College. As part of the tour, participants were led into a classroom in which an example from their curriculum was written on the whiteboard. The example (and subsequent photo for the photo journaling activity) was of a conflict resolution model. Conflict resolution had also been addressed in a previous seminar. The photo journal provided indi cation of personal construc ti vi sm experiential learning in tying experiences together to create new knowledge, and reflection in action as the participant came to realization of those personal responsibilities bestowed upon leadership while she observed t he diagram. Reflecting on this classroom coincidence in the context of its location the War College reminded me that the freedoms I cherish have been won, and are defended by, those willing to give their lives to preserve what makes this country great. I was reminded anew of the debt I own and the obligation Journals, Personal communication, September 29, 2011 ). Individuals also addressed the skills they need to work on to become better l eaders and obtain responsibility in previous seminars as well. In reflecting on the experience at the Community Partnership for the Homeless, one participant noted ; Once we toured the facility, talked to the main leaders of the facility and listened to h is
96 story, I realized what I need to improve on. (Reflection Letters, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). Reflection In Action Group Reflection Similar to the individual reflection activities, group reflections w ere broken up use of Reflection In Action and Reflection On Action. Categories under Reflection In Action included using a story or personal experience to reflection on observation outside the program, learning through shared class experiences, and connect ing multiple class experiences. Us ing personal experience s The first code to emerge within group reflection in action w a s the use of personal stories to reflect on observations outside the program. Stories were used to explain interactions with others op portunity for personal application, shared class experiences, and personal transformation During the Seminar Five participants were asked to reflect on what they had learned as a result of the program so far. The first participant used a personal story about her interactions with others to describe what she had learned. T o address the question stated; I never understood the impact I was having on others. And the color sorting made me find out how true blue I was because if you got a 24, I was a 23 and t hree quarters for blue. Meant that I was doing for others in my association what I should have been leading them to do for themselves. And that if I truly wanted to be a leader, I needed to do less for them, but enable them to do it instead (Group Reflecti on, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). This individual is an executive director of a state organization who manages staff and a board of directors. As a result of program experiences, she realized the importance of delegating work not o nly as a means to accomplish tasks but also teach
97 early in the program in order to understand their own and others pers onalities. In this reflection statement, this individual stated how program experiences had been tied together and how she realized while working with her staff what she needed to do differently. During this same reflection, p ersonal stories were also use d to share the application of what has been learned. This particular statement was part of a larger reflection. This participant had indicated the importance of passion and how it had been noticed in other individuals that had presented within the program seminars. After how that passion had been recognized in her own work and how what she had learned through programming was being applied at a given time. I actually pres ented this weekend at the small farms conference which is not always the friends of the [State Agricultural Organization] and I had a And that just hit home. I was Five, Personal Communication, July 2011 ). Learning through shared experiences Another code to emerge under the use of personal stories and observations was learning through shared experiences. During the international seminar, participants addressed their observations and thoughts of what they had seen that week. The conversatio n during the reflection had geared toward what was learned and comparing it to what had been seen before or more familiar practices within processing and packaging of food and agricultural products ; regulations on agricultural operations ; and the use, sal e and consumption of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food and agriculture As part of the international trip, participants were able to visit a seed company and plant in France. Before the
98 international seminar, participants had been briefed on international trade and the use subject and noted; Speaking of [Seed Company] I gues s it was Monday we went to [Seed Plant] .France and the US are probably a lot more alike than we think. When contentious issue here. Because of the food safety programs and the fresh fruit I was surprised that they were interested in potentially using that as a tool in orange production (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 4, 2012 ). Some participants went a step further in conveying not only what was learned, but how their thinking had been transformed by the experience. During the Seminar Five reflection a participant discussed a change in his thinking as a result of visiting a family ow n ed oyster processing operation in Ap alachicola, F lorida during Seminar Four T as a result of the economy and a large environmental disaster in April 2010. The owner of the processing operation discussed the economic impact of the spill (though it n ever breached Florida shores) and he discussed the loyalty or disloyalty of fishermen and oystermen in the area and how his business had taken a hit at a result. These boatmen had tak en the opportunity to collect [Company] funds in order to work for [Comp any] to help clean up the spill. For the first time for many participants, it was the first time they had heard this side of the story. This emotional meeting influenced conversations that occurred for the remainder of Seminar Four and continued througho ut the rest of the two years. The interaction with the oyster processing operation owner impacted one individual in particular and in the group discussion he observed that gained a greater understanding of the issue and not only the issue but also how one needs to examine
99 various sides of every issue before a decision is made. In the reflection, the participant stated; The a ha moment came to me in the last trip in Apalachicola. It was when we were going to [Oyster Processing Operation] .And the owner was there talking about what happened with [Company] and he started breaking down and got really, really personal and how it really affected his family and how it is affected its potentially affected his businesses. ly allowed me to get a better understanding of sitting back and saying okay, now what is the issue? Why do I need to think this way or open a box and make a better decision. And I t with Wedgworth (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 2011 ). Connecting Multiple Class Experiences. Finally, the third code to emerge was connecting multiple class experiences. Reflections could explain lessons learned from two separate events This occurred mainly within the national and international trip seminars. During the national trip, participants had the opportunity to visit with their congressmen (or staff) and discuss three issues impacting Fl orida agriculture and natural resources. The issues of water, immigration, and government regulation were discussed at length within Seminar Five which was the seminar to prepare participants for the national trip experience. In addition to discussions of the three issues, participants also participated in an agenda setting workshop which prepared them to present on these three topics to their congressmen on Capitol Hill. Participants had a variety of different experiences with their congressional offic es. During the national trip reflection, one participant offered his insight on the meeting but also tied it an interaction that took place later in the national seminar. After leaving Washington DC, participants traveled to the southwest United States. In New Mexico, one of the program speakers
100 participant tied being visible to what he had learned in the meeting. It kind of hit home for me in Washington, even before [Pro gram Speaker] made his comments last night. Because [class participant] and I at our meeting with [Congressman] time. We met with a lower assistant and it really hit me there that we need to be more vocal, viable, vis impact than we have now and it just made me realize again last night when we heard those words from [Program Speaker] (Group Reflection, Seminar Six, September 27, 2011 ). During the international seminar, particip ants also tied what was learned to a previous seminar. As part of the program participants were able to visit a seed company and plant, where they met up with a leadership program alumni member who also worked for the seed company in France. The alumni member offered insight on the seed industry, company and plant; and on the importance of the program participants as leaders to be vocal for the industry. During the international trip reflection one participant stated; I think yesterday, the a ha moment or the feeling that we are all connected and that this is connected to our other trips was when [Alumni Member] across the world. And that took me right back to New Me xico when [Sta te Representative] Farmers rai And so, it was one the a this together. This is why we are in this program. This is why we are here (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 4, 2012 ). Reflection On Action Individual Reflections For individual re flections coded for Reflection o n Action, data were divided into the following categories; conveying goals or wants, observation of self, observation of others, lessons learned through experiences or examples, and reflection on change or transformation
101 Conveying Goals and Wants. The first code to emerge within individual reflection on action was conveying goals or wants. As mentioned before, passion w as a domina nt theme within discussions and individual reflections. During Seminar Two participants were asked to write a letter to discuss what was learned and to describe experiences. In this activity, some p articipants disclosed they were influenced b y individuals which in turn influenced their own goals. At the beginning of Seminar Two th e first speaker addressed the importance of doing one s job with passion. Agriculture s importance had also been discussed during the seminar during discussion abo ut Miami Dade County and its agricultural industry as well as discussions about the importance of being an agricultural leader within urban areas. In the following reflection, the participant joined both the passion he had for his industry and the importa nce of agriculture to the state. both from other classmates, and from program speakers. This passion is encouraging and inspirational. I hope to have the same level of passion for my j ob in striving to help Florida agriculture while helping to make Florida better ( Reflection Letters, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). During the same reflection activity, a nother participant conveyed the influence of progr am and industry leaders on his own aspirations within agriculture I have only had a small sampling of what this program has in store for me. If to the different industries in Florida, the leaders that help to make this industry great, but I also hope to become more engaged, open minded, leader myself ( Reflection Letters, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). Communication of goals and wants were also included throughout other seminars and their a ctivities. For example, during Seminar Three one participant noted appreciation for what they had learned and explained how the experience will be
102 The process does w Seminar Three Questionnaire, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). Observations of Self. The second code to emerge within individual reflection on action was observations of self. Parti cipants focused mainly on what they learned or learning practices. This theme resonated throughout the two years. The media training, which too k place during Seminar Eight, gave participants the opportunity to learn about the media and how to better pres ent themselves on camera. Through this learning exercise, participants were given an issue to prepare to present in a mock interview in front of the camera. The individual conducting the workshop and mock interviews w as a former program participant and h ad extensive experience with industry communications At the end of the media training, participants were asked a series of questions about the training and what was learned. One of the questions asked was; once finished with the exercise, did the feelin gs you had in anticipation of the exercise change? On being asked about the media training, one participant replied : I liked that it was not real. But it gave me the opportunity to experience it and learn some of the ways I can improve without having to make a fool of myself in public ( Media Training Reflection Personal Communication, February 22, 2012 ). Most reflections we re based on how they would change their behavior if they could do the exercise over again or what they could apply from the exercis e in the future. In other reflection. I evaluate decisions Reflection, Final Evaluation, Personal Communication, August 9 2013 ).
103 Participants also used Reflection In Action to provide observations of themselves throughout other reflections within the two year program. In the beginning of the program and the first few individual reflection activities participants also conv eyed how the Miami experiences, I can tell you that going to the homeless shelter was quite humbling. It choked me up a little bit and I can tell you I feel so fortun ate for who I am and what Reflection Letters, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). Though one participant admitted they did not learn anything to change how they felt about a situation, they did admit how they see themselves differently, Three Reflection, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). Finally in making observations of themselves, participants also compared themselves to others they had met during the program. During Seminar Two par ticipants were able to visit an FFA c hapter program in Miami. During the meeting, the chapter officers presented on agri science proje cts and their Supervised Agriculture Experience Programs. At the conclusion of the seminar, on participant noted; kids at Coral Reef were inspiring and I was amazed that they so freely got up to do a presentation. Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). Lessons Learned through Shared Experiences The third code to emerge within individual reflection on action was lessons learned through experiences. These in
104 depth reflections r eferred to fellow class participants, locations visited and applied lessons. When participants reflected on their fellow classmates they discussed some of the important events that defined them as a team At the beginning of Seminar One participants met at a local challenge ropes course to participate in team building activities. One of the more challenging activities consisted of a participant climbing to the top of a 30 foot pole supported by ropes that we guarded and maneuvered by their class mates, w ho at the time were still unfamiliar as relationships had not developed. The lesson of strong relationships was learned at that time and wa s reflected on during Seminar Two in the individual reflection activity. From there, our adventures took us to conq uering a high ropes challenge course, where we climbed over 30 feet up a pole, jumped off a platform and rang a bell. I am still amazed that not only did I climb that high, but I was able to count on and trust these 30 new friends that I had just met only hours ago (Reflection Lette rs, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). Participants also reflected on learning from fellow classmates during the national seminar. The national seminar presented several challenges as an emergency cause d the program dir ector to fly home leaving the class short one program staff member. Though there were two other staff present, the class seemed to come together for the last leg of the national trip. At one point in the program, the class came together to pray for the p participant noted the journey they had taken together in his photo journal. With a positive step in the right direction we cannot create ourselves what has been created for us an important lesson that many times we can forget. This concept was evident through the ability of our class to really come together on this trip. I am blessed to be a part of a group that comes together and will always look to help others. Whether it be to gather to pray together send out well wishes to those in need or just to listen to what others have to say, we have a great group of individuals that have become
105 a family this past year. We understand that in order to lead and to enact change in our dai ly lives and for our industry, we will not be able to do so by ourselves (Photo Journal, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). During the national trip, participants also reflected on spe ci fic experiences to detail what they had learned. As part o f seminar programming in Arizona, participants met with Cooperative Extension Service officials and visited a controlled environment facility. Presenters discussed the ability to raise crops in the facility in times of drought or when water was not readil y available for consumption. Producers within the class observed the benefits to the controlled environment and also applied it to their own challenges in production. One participant noted; I thoroughly enjoyed this tour and visit to the CEA, taking in all aspects of crop production and how through research, they are producing crops for maximum productivity. I think that the aspect of this tour that intrigued me the most was the controlled environmental realm of crop production. As a fifth generation Flo rida farmer, I know firsthand how valuable an asset the resource of agriculture is to not only my family, community, and state, but to our country and furthermore the world. One of our biggest enemies in the agricultural business is managing our environmen t. To the Florida farmer, our environment can help our industry grow, prosper, and thrive, or destroy and devastate. How wonderful it would be to take this uncertainty away, to be able to grow our crops and/or livestock in a certain, efficient, and environ mentally friendly way, resulting in high value crop production. This photo to me evokes the resolution of the scientist, engineer, student, and farmer. In the ever changing world of agriculture, where challenges are the one aspect that has remained through out time, in this photo, I see hope. (Photo Journal s Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). Reflection on Change and Transformation. The fourth code to emerge for reflection on action was reflection on change and transformation. Participants addressed what had aided them with the cha nge or growth through reflection as well as mentioned actual changes as a result of the program. One participant observed how the progr am had aided her own personal growth and on focusing more on changes being made with daily tasks.
106 lot of things a little bit. Focus, focus, focus; and then execute. ways to step up and be more effective. rs, Pe rsonal Communication, January 29 2011 ). During the last seminar, participants were asked to reflect on how they would use the practice of reflection in the future. Participants offer ed responses ranging from daily practice to how they had personally changed as a result of reflection. O ne participant expressed that participating in the program helped him with his job change (Final Evaluation, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Another participant noted that I have left every seminar reflecting on how I ). As a result of learning and reflection another part icipant noted: effort to set aside preconceived notions of people and locations until I can experience them first hand. As well, I will try to make real connections to these folks with whom I (Reflection Lette rs, P ersonal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). Reflection On Ac tion Group Reflection Categories in group reflection under Reflection On Action included; using personal experiences to convey understanding, referring to shared experiences, direct observatio n and conveying future action. Using P ersonal Experiences. The first code to emerge was using personal experiences to convey understanding. In discussing personal experiences, participants would address areas of improvement or identification. One pa rticipant ad dressed how the program and the skills learned in the program have pro vided them with new experiences. This participant also elaborated on the use of the network. He also
107 explained how a fellow classmate had set up meetings that then brought along opport unity for him to become more involved in his community. Talk about networking. About a month and a half ago, [name] called me and asked if he could have some peop le over to our place for a aunt, I believe, serves on the economic council of Oke echobee, who had not been to our place. She was impressed with what she saw and I got to you at our next board meeting. So that turned into fill out the application to be a boa rd member. So I am now meeting with them on the economic council thanks to our friend [name] who left me holding the bag. I wanted to tell you that little story because I thought it might be kind of neat to share based on how networking works (Group Reflec tion, Seminar Nine, Personal Co mmunication, April 18, 2011 ). Other participants referred back to personal experiences to convey how and why they got involved in the program. Separate from the first example of personal experiences to become involved in in dustry and community, participants conveyed importance in becoming involved in the program. Participants reflected on how being engaged would aid them in their personal aspirations and the personal growth that took place as a result of enrollment in the p rogram. In discussing why she got involved in the program and the benefits it reaped, one participant stated; I was blessed to be hired at [organization] by [organization leader] and he true, we have with our friends and family. But we are a family. Not only within the class have we built relationships but with our speakers or whoever, but also outside of t his class. [Foundation] or whatever the case may be we have a great network that does make us stronger (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012) Using Shared Experiences. The second code to em erge from reflection on action within the group was the use of shared experiences among the participants. In this, participants tended to group multiple experiences into one statement without providing detail on each experience as they were a shared const ruction and there was a
108 shared understanding of what was learned. For example, one participant referred to the week of experiences during the reflection at the end of the week. During this particular seminar, participants focused on issue awareness and l earning processes. He observed that; For me the word would be experiences. Just thinking back on this week. We went from a feed mill today. We were talking with orange growers and in the strawberry fields, and in front of the camera on media day. I mean, the amount of things we have done. Not just this week but the whole program.(Group Reflection, Seminar Eight, Personal Communication, February 23, 2012 ). This same reflective process was apparent earlier on in the program when a participant addressed what had impacted them the most in the program so far. I f we were to have all these speakers come into a classroom, this course r the effect as it would have of the effect to be all of you all and serve those homeless people that was hands on. To tong into each of th ese communities, it opens us up, i t makes us take something in and you know if an expert came from 50 miles away to make this t be the same as if we were being there (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Participants also talked about learning from each other within the program, not only about program topics but on things to improve upon. As p art of the program, participants are aske d to moderate different seminar sessions throughout the two years. In the following statement, one participant noted how much she learned from watching other classmates do the same job she did, but also how she cou ld improve herself in that capacity. I understood th at [class mate] shared this speech or the speaker introductions within his group, so his vice chair knew what he was going to say Gee that would have really helped [class mate] wo rk in my favor to be there with all the information. So I much more aware of how I am being perceived and what I need to be doing so that others are perceived as well if not better (Group Reflection, Seminar Fi ve, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ).
109 D irect observations. The third code to emerge within reflection on action in group settings was the use of direct observations. These statements were made, often in the form of an opinion or observation with little background or qualifier. One participant u sed a direct observation when talking about his own personal growth. He stated; The thing that I have learned the most about so far this year, over the last year, is really about me. Especially when I get outside of my specific business or expertise. I rea lly like to sit back and listen. lot. I am not a very good public speaker. I am going to get better at it (Group Reflection, Seminar Fi ve, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). This participant did not always offer a lot of insight d uring reflections as he was naturally quieter than other participants. However, later in the program, this individual offered more insight and provided longer reflections as indicated in the following statement; Obviously the relationships and the network other people to change it for you (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Persona l Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Direct observations were also used in Seminar reflections that were more structured or timed. For example, the g roup reflection during Seminar Eight took place at the end of a seminar before individuals headed home. In that, the reflection moderator asked as they went around the room, participants offered one succinct statement to describe the program Statements we re structured in a succinct manner of the way I view Personal Communication, February 23, 2012 ).
110 This practice was also used during the Seminar Six reflection where reflection activity moderators asked individuals to elaborate on o ne of three quotes from the seminar programming. They were given a time of 45 seconds to present. So as opposed to discussion, reflection was presented as quick presentations from each individual. One concise state ment offered during this group reflecti on activity was; We raise the expectations. We raise the profits. And we rise to the challenge (Group Reflection, Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 27, 2011 ). Conveyi ng Future Action The final code to emerge within reflection on action in group settings was the tendency to convey future action within reflections. This type of reflection occurred mainly within the l ast reflection during Seminar Eleven During this s eminar reflection, participants were asked why they would stay involved in the program after graduation, as an alumni member and as a member of the class. Responses could be cataloged into the categories of relationships and networking, personal obligatio n, and the desire to continue on something that was started. One participant noted all three reasons within her response. Why I plan on being involved, I kind of do it as others have said. Its have met along we have a child we have a responsibility to teach that child and bring them kind of where we are now. We are now given the responsibility now of to those that nd kind of continuing that process. Looking at some of those along the way, both in Tallahassee and DC and ev en at the cemeteries, it really hit me hard that a lot of folks have done lots of things in their lives to let us, let me, be where I am today. And so it is my duty to do the same (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Conveying future acti o n was also apparent in previous seminars as well. During Seminar Five one participant explained a behavior change in that she would be
111 meeting with her elected officials. This was a result of contacts she had made in an earlier s eminar and the personal obligation to work at the local level on issues. As a follow representative to actually meet with them. And I am meeting with them two or three weeks from now when I come home. They called me from the Tallahassee trip. It took this long to actually schedule an appointment but we have one scheduled. And I understand that it is so outside of my comf what am I going to talk about? I just tried to go in there and make an appointment. So I am going to do my homework, but my point is that it is not what I would have ever considered doing if it had not been for this. (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). During the Seminar Eight group reflection, one participant reflected on the impacts of the program. This participant had impacted her in terms of amount of information learned, but also in terms of changes in her own life. She used the group reflection as an opportunity to announce she was running for public office. If I had to use one word, I would use impact. But that encompasses a lot of things. The impact like what this program has had on me as an individual. But also the impact of the network of all of you, and the impact of all of our programs, tours, and speakers. impact upon us. to me. And while I am speaking, [Company] elections (Group Reflection, Seminar Eig ht, Personal Communication, February 23, 2011 ). Objective Two Themes from Program Experiences From the initial, focused and theoretical coding processes, multiple theme s emerged in both the individual and group reflection activities Results from the analysis of themes are displayed in Tab le 4.4.
112 Table 4 4 Themes Individual Themes Group Themes Increasing Understanding Personal Growth Relationships and Networking Leader Characteristics Application of what has been Learned Application of what has been Learned Responsibility of Leaders hip Value in Understanding Relationships and Networking Individual Reflection The themes drawn from individual reflection data were increasing understanding relationships and networking, application of what has been learned, and the responsibility of leadership Each category is broken up into subcategories and supplemented by relevant excerpts from the data Increasing Understanding The first theme to emerge from the data were increasing understanding This category included the learning from enviro nments, understanding and appreciati ng others seeing the larger picture, p oints of learning (avenues of learning), and moving beyond assumptions Participants learned mu ltiple lessons from their environments and took environment into consideration in addi tion to material presented. Participants also observed the importance to the environment to being a leader. One participant noted: other city seeing what is available or going on, or the strengths and weaknesses of the com Reflection Letter, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). The first seminar took place in Gainesville, F lorida In addition to skill development workshops the class also met with university and city officials as well as
113 part of the program, participants explored the city and were briefed on characteristics of the city and importance of these characterist ics in determining the perception of value. The secon d seminar took place in Miami and West Palm Beach County. During of Miami briefings by the US Coast Guard, Port of Miami, USDA, and leaders from the different ethnic communities in Florida. The seminar began with an introduction by a program speaker who talked about the different cultures of Miami and encouraged the class to embrace the differences the y observe throughout the city. Following briefings in Miami, programming continued in West Palm Beach where the program discussed different agricultural operations and issues. Following the first two seminars, participants began to make comparisons betwe en seminar locations. In their observations they pointed out differences and commonalities. Another participant stated, amazing how much there is in common even though the po pulation is so an international type of city. Both are dealing with the poorer areas and how to get those areas to take pride in their communities. Both have homeless, yet no one wants to have services provided in their neighborhood. Yet we did visit a homeless shelter in Miami that the area around it is now being supportive and even holding community meetings in its chapel. Both cities are dealing with the economic downturn and how to provide services to the public with fewer tax dollars while trying to lure new businesses to relocate and provide new jobs (Reflection Letter, Personal Communication, Ja nuary 28, 2011 ). This sentiment remained constant throughout the two years as during the the issues in agriculture are basically the same anywhere in the country, w hether it is
114 Journal, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). In addition to differences in communities, participants also pointed out how others can view environments. O ne participant noted: There are so many stereotypes associated with Miami and the exposure WLIANR gave me really opened my eyes to the diversity and how they all mesh together to make for a very interesting city. We all tend to get wrapped up in our own l ittle worlds of work, personal life and interests. This trip to Miami made me realize how important it is to continually expose myself to new people, interests and places near and far, never passing judgment, but rather to appreciate the differences and t he impact they have in the bigger picture (Reflection Lett er, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). have been to in which the different cultures seem to segregate themse lves to certain Letter, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). Participants also made observations about how they can fit into an environment, with the emphasis of the reflection still being on their surroundings. After observing the state legislative process a participant acknowledged that; I have a much better understanding of my role in the process and the impact that I can have on the process. I see the dedicat ion of the staff/ elected officials have and I have a much different view of the lobbyist scene after having met and shadowed them (Seminar Three Reflection Questionnaire, Personal Communication, March 2011 ). The second sub category to emerge regarding in creasing understanding was understanding and appreciating others. Observations about understanding others were made throughout the two year program, with the majority being made in the final evaluation at the end of the two year experience. Understanding others included understanding classmates and other individuals within communities that were visited.
115 A reoccurring theme as a result of the seminar in Miami was an increased understanding and open mind toward other individuals This came as a result of visiting different communities, cultures and being immersed into environments which may have been unfamiliar. When visiting the Community Partnership for the Homeless, participants recognized the differences between themselves and the population as well as the unfamiliarity, but also how they may have held stereotypes of individuals different from themselves. In reflecting participants would recognize those previously held stereotypes but also how and why they had changed. After serving dinner at the co mmunity partnership for the Homeless, one participant noted: It was very rewarding and humbling for someone like myself who comes from a great family and helps us run a well established business to be put in these peoples shoes and to serve them. Other th an serving the homeless dinner and taking a tour of the facility, I completely rescinded the negative connotations in my head that I have always had toward the level of people enrolled in the facility (Reflection Letter, Seminar Two, Personal Communication January 28, 2011 ). The third sub category to emerge regarding increasing understanding was seeing the larger picture. The reflection letter asked participants to think about what they had seen in addition to articulate what they had learned from the ex perience, how they felt about what they saw and how the information would be applied. The letter could be addressed to a friend or family member or someone who had an interest in their participation in the program. Each of the 30 letters were approached differently as some reported in the forms of stories and others succinctly provided thanks and descriptions of what had been learned in the program. In conveying what had been learned, participants eluded to what was being learned was part of the larger p icture and the participants joined the lessons from both seminars to find common themes. One participant made the observation that;
116 made me realize that our world is bigger than Southwes future, I become a bigger part of our community and our world because I realize that each of us can make an impact in some way (Reflection Letter, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). The fourth sub category to emerge regarding increasing understanding was moving beyond assumptions. Participants observed stereotypes they formerly held when examining individuals, organizations, cities and processes. One participant ok by its cover. Some of the reflections we had helped me understand and see more about my classmates than any Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Participants also made the followin g observations about the contexts of organizations and communities. A participant observed that in terms of personal that are typically accepted by me. And now I have a personal view versus accepting the norm August 9, 2012 ). In describing a community, a participant made the following observation: As for the initial programming in Miami, I learned not to succumb to media stereotypes. I had visited Miami a few times as a child, but my real impression of the city was driven by television and Hollywood. I learned that, for a large metropolitan area, there are pockets of really great people d oing wonderful things. As well, a deeply engrained sense of community I would expect that in a small town, but not in a large metropolitan area (Reflection Letter, Seminar Six Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). The last subcategory to emerge within increasing understanding is avenues of learning. Participants noted that they had learned and come to a greater understanding
117 from the past and from others in addition to the seminar material. In learning from the involvement, I think the statement from our speaker is very true: The game you are T hree Reflection Questionnaire, Seminar Three, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). Another participant also appreciated learning from past lessons. However, this participant referred to past program experiences leading up to the current experience. S eeing this lesson and hearing how the National War College aims to prepare military personnel for strategic leadership reinforced in my mind how thoughtfully and rigorously the WLIANR curriculum has been developed. I felt as if all previous seminars had b een leading up to our comfort zone) and cheered on as we soar (Photo Journals, Seminar Six, Personal Commu nication, September 29, 2011 ). Participants also reported learning from other individuals. One participant noted informational sessions, we learned valuable techniques and knowledge or interrelating Letters, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). T hrough shadowing other lobbyists, greater understanding could be achieved One participant observed: I came in knowing only the basics, shadowing [lobbyist] was a great experience teaching my group about the inside game. The process is much more involved and interesting than I may have assumed. I did find it difficult to de velop trust between people involved in the process (Seminar Three Questionnaire, Seminar Three, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ).
118 Another participant noted that though the y were familiar with the processes being taught in the seminar further under standing was ac hieved by watching others. This participant stated; Having been to Tallahassee in the past and seeing the different legislators, the process I have observed this time has not changed a whole lot. The side I had not seen a lot of was the s eeing and talking to the Florida Ag amount of work and varied topics they have to deal with. They are impressive with how well they do their job and how connected to the inside game the y are (Seminar Three Questionnaire, Seminar Three, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). Other observations came toward the end of the two year experiences as a result of the practice of reflection. A participant session, it was nice to hear what others gleaned from an experience and that what they got out (Final Evaluation, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 20 12 ). Participants also reported that reflection Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Relationships a nd Networking Relationships and Ne tworking was the second theme that emerged from the data Participants reported the value found in relationships including those with the class, the organization, industry and other contexts. This category included the p roperties of; the importance of relationships, types of relationships, building consensus and the network and working together. The importance of relationships included participants discussing building relationships, the resources of relationships and the importance of relationships. One
119 relationships with peers, legislators, and staff. They are deal makers that work with all interested parties and strive to reach conse Three Questionnaire, Seminar Three, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). Another participant noted that as a result of relationships built through the program they learned that they a re not alone in delivering a message by interview. It is important to form a team in an effort to understand the interview, understanding the issue and understand the correct message to be conveyed to the public (Media Training, Seminar Eight, Personal Communication, February 22, 2012 ). The m ajority of r eflections could be categorized desc ribed relationships within the feel as though the National Trip really brought our class fully together (Photo Journals, Seminar Six Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). In the same reflection activity during the national trip, a participant noted: It continues to amaze me how 30 people from all walks of life, from all over Florida can be forced into cohabitating and still get along. we are leaders with strong personalities that presumably would clash and yet we respect our differences, and I would even say embrace them (Photo Journals, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). That same sentiment had been stated earlier i n the program as well, as indicated by a of growing relationships: One of the greatest things about this week was not a place we went or something we learned, it was just being able to continue building on the friendships we star ted in the first week. I am tired and glad to be home, but (Reflection Lett er, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). Participants also pointed out the value of the relations hips among the class. One participant observed how the class has come together;
120 Now as I become more familiar with the other classmates, their interests, likes and dislikes, personalities, industries, and responsibilities, I realize we all have a lot more in common that I originally thought. And now the group is really beginning to gel. By that I mean we are getting to know and understand each other. In fact, we did an exercise this past week at the end of seminar II about character where we had to writ e down a single word that we felt could best describe the character of another classmate. On about 60% of the classmates a word immediately came to mind and the (Reflection Lette r s, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). Another participant pointed out the importance and resiliency of relationships in stating; To forecast, I will likely not remember the view of the hotel in DC, or a speakers name from a tour. But I promise you that each and every one of my classmates, our coordinators and collective shared feelings in this experience will forever be engrained in my mind and hard. In other words, water is important, but we will likely resolve our issues. Immigration is equ ally important, but again, we will likely come to a sensible solution if we do our job well. But, the relationships we foster along the way addressing these issues and all the new issues not yet on the radar screen are not interim. My feelings about my c lassmates and the privilege to share this experience will forever live with me. The issues may change, but the relationships hopefully will not (Photo Journal s Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). Participants also addressed the val ue of the organization or leadership program and the individual who had participated in previous classes. Participants also addressed the value of the leadership program and industry networks. In addressing the program, one participant stated; "we have me t several members of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute that have provided a plethora of great inspiration as to all we can expect to learn and experience throug hout the rest of our journey. A ll in all, it has been a complete honor and privilege to be par t of this program (Reflection Letters, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 2 9 2011 ) In address the value of industry networks, participants pointed out for the industry to be in harmony in their messages and the importance of the industry to wo rk
121 together on a national level, one participant stated "I also felt we were effective because we we re in harmony with our message. It is so important that all of us in the agriculture industry bond together and have a consistent message (Photo Journals Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). A nother participant noted that there is an "importance to work with ag associations and associate industries on a consistent and concise message. I assumed our messaging was consistent, however data presented by the PIE Center showed we have room for improvement (Seminar Three Reflection, Seminar Three, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). When observing commonalities as a reason to work together, one participant synthesized the national tr ip in stating "the one constant throughout the entire trip seemed to be that regardless of the business or state we have a deep federal governmental involvement that has the potential to change the way we do business if not put us out of business and we ne ed to work together on these issues as an ag industry without state borders (Photo Journals, Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). Finally, one participant also recognized the value of those in policy to the industry. Participants rec ognized the value of policy makers in statements such as She was current on our issues and extremely open for discussion as I realized that Connie Mack is very aligned with agriculture in my area. it gave me great confidence to know that we actually do h ave this resource in Washington that is open to hear our concerns and problems (Photo Journals, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). The third sub category to emerge under the themes of relationships and networking was buil ding consensus and the n etwork. Participants pointed out the need to build consensus and strong networks. Programming "reinforce(d) that a strong network of friends and colleagues was invaluable (Seminar Three Questionnaire,
122 Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). When discus sing consensus, the most common context for the theme was the state legislative process. Participants observed (Seminar Three Reflection, Personal Communication, March 24, 201 1 ). Additionally, "in the legislative process, it is critical to build consensus. Therefore the more effective leaders have a broad number of relationships and are able to effectively communicate their ideas to these Questionnair e, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). In measuring effective leadership participants pointed out that "the most effective [leaders] are those who have built good relationships with peers, legislators, and staff. They are deal makers that work with a ll interested parties and strive to reach consensus (Seminar Three Questionnaire, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). It was also stated that leaders "a ll have a large network pool. N o matter what business they are in, these people reach out to prope l outside their industry and are opinion leaders for interests important to them" (Seminar Three Questionnaire, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). Additionally, participants also observed that effective leadership focused on relationships in that "r elationships get you in office a nd get things done in office. T here are different ways of motivating the workforce, but developing the relationship and building trust is key" (Seminar Three Questionnaire, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). On the p articipant's role in the process, a leader "can lobby [their] representative more and build a stronger relationship. [They can] build a better relationship with staff [and] build relationships with other industries other than
123 agriculture that have common interests to see an objective to completion (Seminar Three Questionnaire, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). The final subtheme under relationships and networking was working together. Participants pointed out the value of working together by usi ng examples from seminars, its importance to keeping the industry alive and their own role in the process of working together. One participant reflected on the issues sur rounding a specific seminar location and how working together would result in fu lfill ing the needs of everyone. The participant stated, If you want to improve your chances of success on an issue, you need to broaden your base of support to include as many viewpoints as possible. I n effect, the [Ranch] epitomizes this principle in that it s management combines the wants and needs of cattlemen, hunters, fishermen, naturalists, conservationists, and environmentalists (Photo Journal s Personal Commu nication, September 28, 2011 ). Participants also pointed out the necessity of the agricultural i ndustry working together as "if we want to preserve our way of life, we have to work together in unison. we have to stand up for our neighbors issues even when they don't directly impact us" (Photo Journals, Personal Communication, September 28, 2011 ). F inally, participants observed how they were part of the process of working together as one participant noted; "Throughout the experience, I felt like a small spoke of a much larger operating wheel where all parts are working on their own individual goals, yet together moving forward creating economic opportunity for all (Reflection Letter, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). Application of what has been learned. The third theme to emerge within individual reflections was application of what has bee n learned. This theme consisted of the sub categories of industry and community, application in career contexts, the use
124 of skills such as reflection, increased communication and problem solving skills, and increased preparation. In applying what was lear ned within the industry and community, participants noted the importance of using information to promote the industry, use personal skills, and increase their own involvement. Reflections on media training brought out the importance of promoting the indus try through skills taught in the program. One participant stated that to be a more effective citizen lobbyist, they would; use my new connections to help promote the industry this will be through aligning with other groups for a common goal (i e forage seed, dairy association, all use the seed business) and provide information back to our company that may affect how we do business in Florida (Reflection Questionnaire, Seminar Thr ee, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). I plan to get my three to four po further my commun ity, company, career and so on b y making a positive impression (Final Evaluation, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Participants were also motivated to become more inv olved in their communities by examining community needs and meeting with program presenters. One participant stated; To see those high school students and see how much they accomplished was inspirational. Even if they do not end up in agriculture, they n ow have a deeper understanding for the agriculture industry. I will be looking into my local high schools and FFA to see how I can help or volunteer (Reflection Lett er, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). Other participants committed to becoming m ore involved in their community as indicated in the following reflections: From this experience, I have decided to get more involved in my community. I have applied for volunteer boards, plan to join a service club in my community and have become more awa re of the issues and how I can help around my community ( Reflection Letters Personal Communication, January 28, 2011)
125 Many of these experiences have given me a new outlook on how our family as well as our business can contribute to the betterment of our h ometown and state. I have learned than an individual person has the power to make a difference in the life and well being of another. I have learned that it is not always about finance, but simply appreciation and respect for others ( Reflection Letters Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). Participants also made observations of how what had been learned in the program could be applied to the work place. Reflections on workplace application dealt with the practice of reflections as indicated in sta helping me evaluate the main things we do; hopefully to improve, focus, and get better results ( Final Evaluation, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Another person staff. After projects or a meeting we now take time to set back and talk about the good and the bad. What was done right and where ). Participants also addressed the application of reflection in a more general sense ings we do, hopefully to improve, 2012 ). ce more share time or improve an experience (Final Evaluation, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). about different outcomes before making those decisions (Final Ev aluation, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). P articipants also acknowledged change in
126 reflected on projects, tasks or speaking engagements, looking for ways to improve. However, I never reflected at the depth I now reflect on issues (Final Evaluation, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Finally, participants alluded to the idea of applying program information in their lives to become better at what they do as one participant stated; As we progress through the program, I continue to pursue the same goal as when I started: to draw out at least a single nugget from each of the presentations and or field trips and to make that nugget useful professionally o r personally, immediately or in the future. And through these experiences I hope to become a better catholic, husband, and father. If these experiences allow me to do those three things well I hope it will enable me to focus on being a good leader capabl e of providing stability and endurance for those who depend on me and to make proud those I wo, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011 ). In addition to applying the practice of reflection, participants also noted they would use other skills taught in the program to improve communication decision making and problem solving. When working on communicating and solving problems, participants felt the skills they had learned in the program could be applied to future en Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Participants also th ought skills taught in the pr ogram ). Participants also measured good leadership by the possession of particular skills which was problems and have the experience and knowledge to effect Seminar Three Reflection, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ).
127 The final subcategor y to emerge in the theme of application of what has been learned was the importance of preparation. Through skill development activities such as the media training, participants felt they were more prepared for future experiences. One participant stated; good idea of what to expect and how to prepare for such an experience (Media Training, Seminar Eigh t, Personal Communication, February 23, 2012 ). Though the training was difficult, particip ants also reflected that future experiences would be As always, the unknown is what I Seminar Eig ht, Personal Com munication, February 23, 2012 ). In addition to the training and skill development, participants also recognized the value of preparation in leadership roles and meeting with others. On participant observed; The opportunity to sit not only as constituent s but as fellow Americans to cherish and appreciate. Looking back on this meeting, preparation was key (Photo Journals Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). Preparation was also as an recognize that preparation is key to the process. And it is not nearly as bad if you are uary 23, 2012 ). Finally, through programming experiences, participants recognized the value of being prepared not only in leadership roles or in the workplace but also in their home life. One participant noted; I was shaken by the stories of medical disa ster or some other calamity that
128 be homeless but it made me realize we need to save more diligently for a better safety cushion than what we currently have in place ( Reflection Lett ers Personal Communication, September 28, 2011 ). Responsibility of Leadership The last theme to emerge in the individual reflections was the responsibility of leadership. Sub categories consisted of personal responsibility, passion of leaders, the ide ntification of leadership, being innovative, advocacy in the agricultural industry, serving others and personal growth. Personal responsibility included acknowledging obligations and service to others. This theme was recognized throughout the two years as indicated through the reflection letters, photo journals and questionnaires. The first time this theme arose was at the conclusion of Seminar Two The seminar consisted of visiting different businesses in Miami as well as visiting the community partners hip for the Homeless. In the following quote from her reflection letter, one participant noted the impact of the shelter as well as what she learned about the dynamics of the community. The other t hing I am realizing is that [name] and I need to serve our community in some way. We need to find an organization that we can contribute to, something that will make our community a better place for our kids and others to live, learn and labor. not enough just to look at ourselves we need to help others t oo in concrete ways. Whether helping serve dinner at an indigent shelter or finally volunteering to help tutor kids/ adults in reading, which is one of my joys in life ( Reflection Letter, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011 ). In expressing her obligation she also expressed that it was more than responsibility but also desire to help others. This same theme also arose within the photo journals, as one participant reflected of his own responsibility by following the examples of others, which inclu ded past and present national leaders. In his photo journal, the participant stated; I was reminded of my own responsibility to serve others, my family, community, state and nation. Reminded of the duty and opportunity each of
129 us has to serve our God and each other. It reminded me how thankful I am to live in this country and for the freedoms that we enjoy (Photo Journals, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). The second subtheme under the responsibility of leadership was the theme of passion. T he topic of passion was mentioned throughout the two years in both individual and group reflections. The first time the t heme arose was during Seminar Two and was initially addressed by the first speaker of the seminar, Mr. George Knox. As Mr. Knox addre ssed passion in his presentation, it was apparent that participants applied the same theme to future speakers. One participant reflected that; One common thread to all presentations in the portion of the seminar was passion. Each and every individual tha t we had the chance to meet or speak with was passionate about what he or she was doing. This included everyone from [program speaker] to [program speaker] It was clear that a key to great leadership is being passionate about what you are doing (Reflect ion Letter, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011 ). The example provided by many of the speakers and supporters of the program apparent in the Semi n ar Three reflection. The purpose of Seminar Three was to examine state issues as well as interact with state political leaders. Participants met with political leaders as well as program alumni and supporters that were engaged in t he political process. In the S eminar Three reflection, participants were asked to identify the qualities of effective leaders. Passion had already appeared within reflections from Seminar Two but arose again in Seminar Three Participants reflected on a passion for their interests, job, causes, and for their constituents or the public. One participant stated; Firstly, all the leaders are passionate about their work. They are also well informed about not only there area of expertise, but also things relevant or con trary to their area. Similar to passion, they are committed to their cause.
130 There is no 80%, only 100% committed (Seminar Three Questionnaire, Seminar Three, March 24, 2011 ). In addressing passion, the word passion was no t always used so much as it was described. In the same reflection activity, another participant noted; There are so many matters that are the same for all of these issues. These people have a natural love for doing their job and the betterment of the public. They are all energetic, li vely and very knowledgeable which makes them a natural leader (Seminar Three Questionnaire, Seminar Three, March 24, 2011 ). In addition to passion, participants reflected on other characteristics of leadership. In addition to reflecting on general charac teristics in others, participants also identified these characteristics within themselves. Participants identified themselves as opinion leaders and also provided descriptions of others as having characteristics of leadership. This theme, identification of leadership, was mainly addressed in Reflection Letters and Photo Journals. They identified themselves as leaders within the reflection letters and tended to identify others as effective leaders in both photo journals and the reflection letters. This t heme also emerged within the Seminar Three reflection questionnaires. During Seminar One the concept of opinion leader was introduced to the class n, the presenter introduced the concept of opinion leadership and made participants realize that they are opinion leaders in their industry and state. Within her ref lection letter during Seminar Two one participant wrote to her father how she began to id entify herself as an opinion leader. In her letter she stated; In ref lecting on sessions one and t wo, there are a few things that have really hit home with me. In session one is was learning or should I say realizing that I too am an opinion leader. I a lways knew you were, but I
131 (Reflection Letters, Seminar Two Personal Communication, January 29, 2011 ). Later in on her reflection letter, she added to the concept of opinion leadership and her leadership ability and role in st ating; What I did not anticipate is the impact that I would have in developing agriculture. I see this as passed on the key speakers that we have had, but it has allowed me to understand what I can do to make a difference (Reflection Letters, Seminar Two Personal Communication, January 29, 2011 ). Participants also reflected on others as being leaders in their industry. Within the Photo Journaling reflection, participants often reflected on the practices of seminar presenters. rtion of the seminar in New Mexico, participants were able to meet with individuals in production agriculture within an environment different than their own. One of the homestay visits consisted of visiting a wind farm. This wind farm, as others in New M exico, serves as a supplement business and income for ranchers. One class participant, offered reflected on the visit to the wind farm from the perspective of a fellow producer understanding challenges faced by the cattle industry. The participant reflec ted that; I am optimistic that [rancher] is an early adopter of a greater trend, and we domestic supply of food and energy and I assume that the success on the [name] ranch can be re plicated in various forms across the country. I also assume that as technology advances and infrastructure is put in place, wind will be more competitive wi th traditional energy sources ( Photo Journal, Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 29, 20 11 ). The third subtheme to emerge was advocacy within the industry. This theme was apparent throughout both individual and group reflections and throughout the two yea r experience. During Seminar Two the importance of advocacy was first expressed
132 as a concern in that many leaders in Miami did not understand or know about agriculture within the county or state. Of the jobs that the cities of Gainesville and Miami are trying to create, those jobs will not feed our nation. We must also decide on how we can keep farmers framing instead of selling out there property to be developed into other uses. It was interesting to hear how little some of the speakers in Miami were concerned with agriculture (Reflection Letters, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, J anuary 29, 2011 ). In addition to concern, participants also expressed how their own practices can influence others knowing about agriculture. One participant stated; The difference is how we approach others. We have not done a great job in educating tho se that are not in agriculture. This is something that I need to be conscious of, and strive to do a better job in educating others. This was evident with the speakers that we had in our Miami seminar, as some of them did not have an interest in agricult ure, and this showed in the way they approached thei r jobs ( Reflection Letters, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011 ). Advocacy for the industry was also addressed in the national seminar while al and the southwest. Within the photo journal reflection, one participant tied observations of state leadership and national leadership together. Additionally, though he provided a picture of a scene in Washington DC, in his journal he referred to somet hing that was discussed later in the trip, the expression, the importance of being viable, valuable and visible which was a theme provided by a speaker later on in the national trip in New Mexico. Even though our opponents are so much louder than we are, t outnumber us but they are much more vocal. We need to increase our presence in Tallahassee and in DC so that we are more effective in getting the truth across to our legislature. Think of the impact an ag leader from Florida could have on an ag committee member who is from across the country. By being visible and valuable for the industry, we could tell our story and have a changing impact on those members who are not affected by decisions but are crucial to the vote. We can be a voice and we can make an impact by telling our story, sharing the truth about the ag industry
133 and reminding everyone about the lives we feed and save every day we go to work (Photo Journals, Seminar Six, September 29, 2011 ). Agriculture advocacy was also addressed in media training which took place in the second year of the program. In addition to the importance of being an advocate, participants reflected on how the skills and training they received could aid them in being an advocate for the industry. In the reflec tion questionnaire for media training, to our industry. [It will] help us get our voices out in a positive way (Media Training Questionnaire, Seminar Eight, Pers onal Communication, February 22, 2012 ). Another Seminar Eight, February 22, 2012 ). The final theme subtheme to emerge within identification of a leader was personal growth. In personal growth, participants reported how they saw themselves change as a result of experiences and how they could foresee improvement in the future. This w as mainly addressed within the media training portion of Seminar Eight. This experience gave participants the opportunity to learn how to better prepare them for working with the media and also to apply what was learned through mock interviews. Several pa rticipants reflected on how the practice got them out of their comfort zone One participant and somewhat uncomfortable. But of the comfort zone (Media Training Seminar Eight, Personal Communication, February 22, 2012 ). In reflecting on the experience, another participant tied the training
134 with another uncomfortable situation that had happened earlier in the program. He stated ; I was still anxious after. It was as nerve racking as I thought it would be. But I guess I did realize, like jumping off a telephone pole that the first is the most challenging and then with practice I could improve and be less nervous (Media Training, Seminar Eight, Personal Communication, February 22, 2012 ). Personal growth was also addressed in the final evaluation in statements about how the process of reflection had helped them as leaders grow. This was evident in he value of reflection. Prior to Wedgworth, I would have never consciously thought of reflection as a tool for growth. I now realize how Evaluation ). Another participant wrote Evaluation, Personal Communication, Seminar Eleven, August 9, 2012 ). Group Reflection The emerging categories drawn from group r eflection data were p ersonal growth, relationships and networking, value in understanding, application of what is learned and leader definition characteristics Each category is broken up into subcategories and supplemented by relevant excerpts from the d ata Personal Growth The first theme to emerge from the data were personal growth. This category included the properties of growth through trust, emerging out of comfort zones, coping with challenges, continued growth through involvement, gaining knowle dge, and anticipation of future programming. During the first seminar, participants were briefed on the practice of reflection. After the briefing, a program administrator led the first reflection activity After explaining the process, he asked the
135 fi rst question: How did you feel about becoming part of the program? Participants gave very short answers as the facilitator went around the room calling on individuals. Responses included; nervous, excited, scare d, apprehensive, and reserved. Personal gr owth was often gauged in retrospect. Individuals tended to look back on program experiences to reflect on personal growth and change. In the final group reflection one participant reflected back to the beginning of his experiences to acknowledge his con tinued growth throughout the process. He acknowledged the importance of applying what was learned and wanting to remain involved continuing that growth. He stated; I thinking back to signing up for the program and the reasons I signed up for it and what professionally. To engage and to be engaged. And the learning experience involved. This is just the first step. Take the second step and continue that process to get outside your comfort zone and to, I think we said in one of would stay engaged (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, Au gust 9, 2012 ). Earlier in the program, in S eminar Eight, a participant also acknowledged his own p ersonal development but he did no t only talk of his own experience but spoke of it as if someone asks about the program or if I am talking to someone about the program, someone 2012 ). In the same group reflection someone also recognized it as something bigger stronger as a person and I guess the big benefit is it makes agriculture stronger as a
136 Seminar Eight, Personal Communication, February 22, 2012 ). In addition to acknowledging the growth that had taken place, participants also referred to the motivation to challenge themselves again as a result of the program. During the group reflection in seminar Five, one participant acknowledged the importance of challenging himself and becoming involved again. This individual was involved in community programs and co mmunity governments. However, in the reflection he recognized that he could be even more so involved and wanted to challenge himself again. After providing this reflection, he later stated how he was going to emerge out of his comfort zone and challenge h imself again through personal activities and through civic engagement. things is really to challenge myself again. Early in my career I was Lions Club president. You know, just invo lved in all the civic organizations and really active. But then you get three kids and you move up the ladder at eally have gotten to do is to challenge myself again, get back out and get active, get going again. The other think is really that comfort zone. A little getting out of it. The pole dive we did was really scary and I want to challenge myself again (Grou p Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Participants also tended to challenge themselves in terms of comparing themselves to other participants. One participant stated; see everything everyone else in the room is involved in and then you look back at yourself and you start challenging yourself to start doing some of these things that you see other folks doing. So I know I am challenged, but in a different way (Group Ref lection, Seminar Eight, Personal Communication, February 22, 2012 ).
137 Leader C haracteristics The second to emerge was leader characteristics. Similar to the individual code of leader characteristics, this category included passion and opinion leadership. In addition, this code also included the importance of preparation and responsibility. The first subtheme to emerge within leader characteristics was passion. Passion was often acknowledged in variety of contexts including as something to be observed, learned and applied. Participants spoke of passion as something to learn from others. By learning passion, it can be applied in their lives. Participants also acknowledged passion in their fellow classmates and the organization at large. Passion contr ibuted to the motivation of staying in the program. In describing her motivation to remain involved, one participant expressed admiration of the passion others had for their own occupation and how that translated into something to teach others; We have no t only learned or shared with each other about our own existed before. And the passion that we have for our own industry is equal to if not surpassed by the passion that somebody els e has about their industry. And why would you not want to stay involved or contribute to this program to help pass along that gift so somebody else can learn about all the amazing things that not only occur in front of them, but occur statewide and even i a passion that we all have sitting here (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Earlier in the program, this same participant had acknowledged he r relationships with her classmates and pointed out different experiences she had with some of them and how she admired their passion for what they did; I found that its whether I've spent a few minutes with each of you or a long time, I am get ting out of this. [Name] showed me around his grove. I can see his passion first hand. I got to go with [name} he showed me his cows. S o I really tried to follow [name], I've been to [name] place and his passion for that. Each of you are making this p rogram more
138 beneficial for me (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Individuals also spoke of passion in the context of their role in agriculture and advocacy for the industry. In her reflection statement, one participa nt explained the differences in her farming community between large and small growers. She acknowledged her role in the process of working together. She stated; I have this inner passion and desire for people to understand that agriculture is important i n the US agriculture is important. And as a small farmer in a big grower area, I was always really irritated with that small So I hope I am getting enough s important for all of us to support each other so we can all survive (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Finally, participants also recognized the absence of passion within speakers and how that absence was apparent a nd detrimental. When asked about disagreements with programming, this participant stated; T he one real q the lady who was EBC the tourist development in Wakulla County, I thought she was a littl [County] from her talk (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). The second subtheme within Leader Characteristics was self identification as a leader. This incl uded identity of leader characteristics, opinion leadership and value or recognition as an opinion leader. During the final reflection, participants drew back to previous lessons learned over the two year experience. One participant drew back to Seminar Three. In this seminar, the class met with state leaders and presenters briefed them on the legislative processes and issues within state government. In drawing back to this seminar one participant stated; And kind of going off what [name] also said: In Tallahassee there was a
139 question. Do we want to be somebody or do we want to do something? (Group Refle ction, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). T he importance of opinion leadership also emerged. As previously mentioned, this concept was introduced to the class within the first seminar of the program. In this, the workshop presenter encouraged to identify as an opinion leader as recognize the networks in which the participants were involved. In the group reflection during Seminar Five, participants reflected on and shared what they had learned so far in the program. In referring to their leadership role one participant noted; And like [name] said, we are leaders in our communities even though we probably only think of ourselves as real leaders until we got into this eing in this the most (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Another participant echoed the same sentiment. This participant was surprised to see themselves as a leader in agriculture as before the program had not always directly identified herself with the industry. She stated; I think one of the biggest things for me was the whole part of being the opinion leader. I just never saw myself as that I knew what I did and I did what I had to do and did my job and went home. I never thought that I influenced enough people, especially on things that I am not 100% comfortable on. I am not a farmer, I am not a grower, and I am not necessarily on that side of what I would consider agriculture (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Participants also recognized their opinions were valuable on different issues within agriculture. While in Washington DC, not only were par ticipants able to learn about congressional processes but they were also able to discuss issues impacting the agricultural industry, specifically water, immigration and government regulation. During the national seminar reflection, one participant noted t he value of their opinion and their
140 surprise. In tying several lessons together they were able to acknowledge their value but also set out to become more of an opinion leader. During the reflection, the participant stated; I chose valuable, viable, and v isible. And the reason I did was because there a lot of things I do or that I like that may be very visible. But there are a lot of times that I am not really sure in what I say. And when we were in office and the fact that his staff sai d, we want you to tell us me realize that we are valuable. And I need to remind myself of that and the things that I do or the contributions that I make are valuable (Group Reflect ion, Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 27, 2011 ). The third subtheme to emerge was decision making and how as a result of the program, participants were able to apply decision making skills and thought to decisions that need to be made. Duri ng the fifth seminar, one participant noted how he had changed in how he approached decisions with business. By examining issues critically, he acknowledged the drawbacks of making immediate decisions. This individual had stated in prior group reflection s how he was learning about the industry because he was new to agricultural production and his current position. In the group reflection he stated; from a leadership standpoint. Be cause in my prior industry, all decision out later and just keep going. This really allowed me to get a be tter Wedgworth (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Decision making was also addressed in the final group reflection. When asked why individuals would stay involved, most talked about the network and continued learning. O ne individual addressed the idea of continued learning and personal growth but how that would contribute to future involvement and future decisions for the industry.
141 In that, he went beyond his own individual industry and acknowledged his role in agricult ure. This came as a result of learning about various industries and being identified as a leader within one agriculture industry. In the group reflection, this individual stated; tuck in and very involved in that. Now were talking in that of going and seeing timber or going and talking about hay and grass and cows and everything else is really making me say, if I want to be involved in decision makings that I need to be educated i n all of ag and how those decisions effect a ll of ag instead of just citrus (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). The fourth subtheme to emerge was the importance of responsibility and having priorities. During the f ifth seminar, participants were briefed on different agricultural issues in preparation for the national trip and meetings with their congressional delegations. One of the speakers presented on water use in Florida and present challenges. The presentatio n brought about conversation of the issue of water use and discussion of advocacy for the industry, but in that, it also brought up the discussion of responsibility of agr iculturalists to educate others about their industry. One participant noted; of our use and the whole comment about the food, the price of food. That kind of threw me back a littl e bit because I hear that a lot in the grocery store when I am picking up the gallon of milk and the average consumer he grocery store shows. So I have a little bit of an opinion of some of her comments today and I think our job and our responsibility to educate our own communities on what we are about and what its really like on the farm (Group Reflection, Seminar Fi ve, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ).
142 Responsibility also emerged when discussing conflict resolution. During Seminar Five, participants were briefed on conflict resolution as a means of working within the team and working with others. Problem s olving styles were also discussed, assessed, and applied within the context of preparing to speak on the issues of water, immigration and government regulation. One participant noted that in addition to learning how to manage conflict resolution, an indiv idual had the responsibility within their role in the conflict. The participant stated that; And so you know we talked about a lot of ways of conflict resolution but a lot of times conflict resolution can come through education. You know educating each o ther on both sides of the issue and then awareness also in terms of making people aware of your expectations or their responsibilities and also being aware of your own responsibilities (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ) Responsibility was also addressed in the final seminar in the context of program involvement. When asked why someone would stay involved in the program after abo ut our industry, especially a newcomer like myself. Seeing everything that is going (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Dur ing the same reflection another participant noted that; Why we should stay involved are the people. The people in this room and the people we have met, the network. It inspires me. The other thing is related to our responsibility and I am reminded of wh en we were in the rotunda and I think about the people that had been there and sacrificed. We have the same responsibility I think. And we can, I think the group and the whole organization obviously can do things to influence our community, our jobs, our state, and our country. And so I look forward to being part of that (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ).
143 Another individual reflected on responsibility and used the analogy of her business to convey a point. She s tated; In order for my grove to give me the things I need, to be successful and that type of thing, I need to take care of it. And so in order for Wedgworth to continue to keep benefiting our industry, I need to try to take care of it. And so it is that when you have such a wonderful asset, in order for that asset to continue to be that wonderful, you have to take care of it and nurture it and program (Group Reflection, Seminar E leven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). The final subtheme to emerge was the importance of adapting to situations. This was most evident during Seminar Ten, the international experience. Participants had to adjust to language barriers and moving around in different cultures. In trying to adapt they also had to acknowledge their deficiencies. One participant noted; W hen we got here to the airport its really strange to feel like a minority in a that people are willing to help and do whatever they can to understand you, and you can get around you had to cope (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 4, 2012 ). During that same experience, another participant talked about adapting to not only traveling to a foreign country, but also to the expectations of those at his place of work and home. In seminars past, most participants were able to be contact ed, though employers, family members and others knew that emails and phone calls would be returned at specific points in the day. However, on the international trip, with the time difference, it appeared that expectations were different as one participant observed. been able to disconnect from our life as easy as we could. I mean in our this and that. And o Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, Au gust 9, 2012 ).
144 Application of what has been learned. The third theme to emerge was application of what has been learned. Properties included value of information, applying skills such as reflection, teaching others the le ssons within the program, using information to become more involved, agricultural advocacy, and embracing opportunity. Program participants initially recognized the value of program information. Whether it was skill development or issue awareness, participants reported the ability to ap ply what was learned within their home and work environments. With that, an appreciation was established for the program. When asked about what had been learned in the first year, one participant noted that it went beyond material but the application of what was learned. Additionally, the skill development of reflection was also appreciated. One participant observed that; through with it, work at it. And the thank you notes help a lot. It helps you go b ack through everything you did and review it and read over everything again (Group Reflection, Seminar Fi ve, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). During the first seminar, participants were learned how to reflect through a workshop to explain the conce pt of reflection and by a program administrator leading the first reflection. Class members participated in reflections during each seminar in the program During these reflections, participants indicated that since they understood the practice, they inc orporated reflection into their daily lives and reflected on many personal decisions as a result of the program. This same concept was indicated in individual reflections. In indicating what he had learned from the program, one
145 participant indicated that he not only applied information but also skills that had been taught in the program. And it got to the point where not only has Wedgworth has taught me patience for a leadership standpoint because in my prior industry, all decisions made, you know decis ion making needs to be done 5 seconds a knee jerk reaction and we've got to live with the consequences. and figure out later and just keep going. This really allowed me to get a better understanding of sitting back and saying okay, now what is the issue, why do I need to think this way or why you accept my way. no longer that way, you've really got to open a box and make a better decision. I think show that we were able to experience in Tallahassee is that one perso n can make a huge difference. A group can change the world, and being quiet work (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, P ersonal Communication, July 20 2011 ). Participants also reported that the y were passing on the lessons they had learned to other individuals, including work colleagues industry and family members. This same theme was evident in individual reflection as well The first leg of the international trip provided exposure to agricu ltural operations, the city of Paris, a large food and agricultural market and opportunity to embrace the French culture and experience different systems, such as transportation throughout the country. In the reflection for the international trip, most in dividuals commented on the differences and similariti es between the two countries. In doing so, one participant added to the conversation stating the importance of exposing others, mainly her children, to different cultures and perspectives. You truly do are in it and you start at home going back and having those conversations and are able to look at your child and say, we need to do things that expose you. I need to do things that expose you to different aspects and differ thought processes so that maybe you can find a different path, or a path things that Wedgworth has done for me and its truly is amazing (Group Refl ection, Seminar Eleven, June 4, 2012 ).
146 Throughout seminar reflections, participants reported how they would use what they learned, but they also connected how they used what was learned to aide in the improvement and security of the agricultural industry. Agricultural advocacy was a reoccurring topic of conversation that fell into several themes throughout the research. In the reflection discussing future involvem ent participants discussed the importance of remaining involved for personal growth, to rem ain connected to the program and to provide opportunities for others in the future. However one participant also noted the importance of leadership for the industry and the importance of working with others in order to advocate. The big take away I take i s from everything that we have seen, our industry needs us. They need more people like us fighting within our industry but also really educating people outside of our industry. And it think that has become more and more apparent you know, as the different explored here but also what we see in our day to day life. And if we are not giving back to that, we are going to be hurt as a whole (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Advocacy was spoken as a general term, but also as a personal obligation. When asked what participants had taken away from the program, one participant pointed out that advocacy began by doing things presented at a local level or in the here and now. To him, these were just as importan t as the change on a larger scale. to make or try to make universal changes and try to complain about universal changes and go to DC or go to our legislators, making these whole big huge changes. And I think if we just stop for a minute and looked back at what we can influence and what we can get our hands into we should probably get a whole lot more done (Group Reflection, Seminar S ix, Personal Communication, September 27, 2011 ). This same sentiment was shared on the national trip when one participant
147 our one voice as a group, as Wedgworth, o frame that voice and be able to carry out the message about agriculture (Group Reflection, Seminar S ix, Personal Communication, September 27, 2011 ). The final subtheme to emerge under application of what has been learned is the importance of embracing opportunity. Participants often shared life and job changes with fellow participants. Throughout the two years several participants reported making ca reer changes as a result of this program. At the conclusion of the program, one participant spoke on how she had drawn on prior experiences lessons and network to aid in making the change and receive advice on the change. In her reflection, she drew on the lessons learned in S eminar T hree During the last program session a program alumnus and current Assistant Commissioner or Agriculture and Consumer Services asked participants to reflect on their Wedgworth experience. He also encouraged the class to value the opportunity they had been given and offered several pieces of advice s tatement to reveal how the program had changed her both personally and professionally. And I think what al ways hits me is what [Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services] told us in Tallahassee when he said, this is a game changer. And I firmly believe that, absolutely. And I ran into him last week, before I took the job with [a company] and he said to me nd he had no idea the decision I had on You have no idea. This absolutely was a life opportunity I have ahead of me if you had asked me three weeks ago or a month ago or six months ago if I would be moving home. I would have told you that you were crazy. So the fact that I get to go home is because of Wedgworth. It was because of the network that we have here that I get the
148 opportunity to move home and be close to my fa mily and to carry on and to find others to have this experience ( Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Value in U nderstanding The fourth theme that emerged was finding value in understanding. This category included t he properties of understanding o thers continued learning, perception, changing perspectives, and acknowled ging differences Throughout the two year experience, participants were able to examine issues on local, state, national and international levels. Each seminar provided them opportunity to learn about new industries and business, examine issues and evaluate effective leadership within those contexts. In the Seminar Five reflection, when asked what pant responded; P rior to getting involved in the program I know I was very myopic in my thinking. You know, I was very focused in what my core business was all about and who we need to become better in our own business. And this has really allowed me to have more of a global mindset (Group Reflection Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). The first subtheme within value in understanding was the opportunity to understand others. Participants began to understand others in terms of cultu re, economics and issues. This subtheme firs t emerged in the Seminar Five reflection when asked what had been learned one participant referenced a statement made by George Knox in Seminar Two. The participant reflected that; se I remember back to what Mr. Knox said in Miami is that to remember that all people are coming from the place that they feel is right and I genuinely believe that about people. They are coming from their point of view is what they think is best that wil l get us to you know, where we all want to be. So I think that is important (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). I n the same reflection, it was reflected upon that it is also important to understand where others are co ming from, their issues and their intentions.
149 issue. Because there is always one, and the people on the other side are not there, they are not generally out to get you. They are figh ting for what they believe is right (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Understanding others, in addition to understanding where someone is coming from also included understanding intention. Participants learned this on both the individual level and on the level or business or industry. During the Seminar Ten reflection, one individual recognized the surprise he felt when trying to compare a European company with his own previously held assumptions. In the reflection he stated; Mine was Monday, talking with [name] and [name] and with the assistance of [name] How they do is with Asia, Europe, and the United States. There region is tens of thousands of mile impressive (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 4, 2012 ). The second subtheme to emerge within value of understanding was the importance of continued learning. In the firs t seminar, participants remarked how important it was to reflect and think critically to avoid habitual group think and prejudice. Additionally, reflection was perceived as important as a requirement to growth and application (Group Reflection, Seminar On e, Personal Communication, November 11, 2010 ). Following reflections did not address those to concepts specifically but did acknowledge the value of keeping an open mind to understanding others. For example, participant stated; So I think it is very important not only to do the things that are in front of you, but also be mindful of all the things that are outside of just your tunnel vision, your industry. Because it is s uch a big industry in general (Group Reflection, Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 27, 2011 ).
150 Participants also had the chance to critically examine issues that had been sue within European markets and as something that differentiated American food supply demands from European demands. The conversation during the reflection had geared toward what was learned and comparing it to what had been seen before or more familiar p ractices. Before the international seminar, participants had been briefed on pa rticipant revisited the subject and noted; The other thing is that I keep thinking about yesterday and the seed have come to the conclusion that they have lost that battle. And so what can we learn from that in our own country related to whatever issues we face? Whether Reflection, Seminar Ten, Perso nal Communication, June 4, 2012 ). Participants also acknowledged learning how to increase understanding through other individuals. During Seminar Five, when reflecting what participants had learned, two participants used the examples of two former leade rship program participants to convey how they had learned to further understand others. One participant reflected on the skills used to understand others. Another participant disclosed how he had learned to understand others from watching deepen understan ding of others or issues. When we sit around and night I am learning things about a lot of different industries and its really helped me in a sort of got from watching [colleague] and people making comments about him from the class last year. I really [th ought] sit back and listen really take in what everybody is saying and Miami, everything about the economy down there an d how their net export is now You know [ colleague ] has really changed in the last two years and this Wedgworth program and he starts out now in his thinking where he
151 just coming from his side, he's more centered now and to listen bet ter (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Another subtheme under value in understanding was the dispelling of perceptions or impressions as a result of seminar programming. This was most prevalent in the Seminar Ten ref lection, when participants of their changed impressions and expectations. Impressions were changed through programming as well as free time. In reflecting, participants disclosed how surprised they were regarding the language barrier. At f irst, participants were surprised how many individuals including program hosts and speakers knew English. almost evident how ready they are. From our previous speakers, and the previous seminars, that they are making themselves ready for the world by knowing English and all these other languages where I feel like we are gatherings that if your own personal wai English, they are just calling someone over [snaps fingers] and they are on it (Group Reflection, Seminar T en, Personal Communication, June 3, 2012 ). However, another participant had a different experience. After the i mpression that so many individuals understood English, he was surprised that specific individuals did not know English. Additionally, he disclosed how uncomfortable he was by interacting with those who did not speak English. I was just kind of surprised a bout the gentlemen that spoke yesterday, billion dollar company and actually wants to change the world. And there is just so much that gets lost in the translation when you just have to sit. I was that. And you know, we are around a lot of the service industry here, and they are all goin g to know English. I kind of stepped out on my own today and went and washed clothes and made a couple mistakes at the as prevalent as you think it is (Group Reflection, Seminar T en, Personal Communication, June 3, 2012 ).
152 An additional perception that was dispelled was that of the amount of differences between a home region and a foreign country. One participant reflecte d on similarities been really enlightening (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 3, 2012 ). Another participant remarked on how many similarities existed between the two places. I think for me I was really surprised how close this economy is and all of amazing; I thought it was going to be like all your typi cal French people walking around. T his was m y person, but not very many. So it was really surprising to me how welcoming they are and how very clos e they are to us and to everything they want to do (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 3, 2012 ). During this same reflection, participants also reflected on their observations of Rungis market which was a large food and agricultu ral market outside of Paris Buyers at the market included wholesale, retail, grocers and restaurateurs. Earlier that day, participants had the opportunity to visit one of the largest food and agricultural products market in the world. Participants tour ed the wholesale market and were briefed on the processes, customers and products available. A fter visiting Rungis market, participants reflected on the differences between the two food systems. Reflecting on food systems then digressed into observing ge neral differences between the two countries. To follow up on what [name] had said, and what [name] had said, you know some things. I mean we are definitely already in the box bee f and other meats. But we are behind them on the traceability of our foods. And I think things that happy with not having air conditioner in your hotel room and one bed in their hotel room. Its smaller rooms and they have a much more efficient
153 transportation system (Group Reflection, Seminar Te n, Personal Communication, June 3, 2012 ). In understanding others, one of the interesting conversations came from the international trip reflection. After visiting Rungis food and agricultural market, as noted in the previous statement, participants rema rked on the differences between the home country and host country. Participants reflected further on the differences between the two systems but in doing so, they arrived at the understanding of those differences. When touring Rungis, part icipants observed and remarked on the packaging and advertising of food products to restaurateurs and grocers. Foods were packed to be visually appealing to sell to buyers at the market. Participants recognized this as very different from their own pract ices. One participant stated; amazing the differences in the way we package these goods and how want to generalize, but basically restaurants, individual people coming in and buyi n they are going out in bulk, quick, easy, the cheapest you can possibly get them out. W e are selling things to And what you were talking about, ho w do you bring this together and move markets you know. On first impressions, though they did no t agree with it, they appreciated it. As the conversation progressed, one participant reflec ted on how the practice would not work If I tried to sell that celery, the ce lery we saw today, I could not sell that I because it had some beautiful leaves and presentation on it. S o I think there is a huge disconnect from mass marketing commodity quality specifications that are required for the mass market I think they are just totally different perspectives from our world point of view versus theirs because they are so accustomed t o the value and the quality of food versus
154 us who, we are trying to mass feed everyone (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, P ersonal Communication, June 3 2012 ). The last subtheme to emerge was the importance of keeping perspective. Following the discussion on differences between food and agricultural markets, one participant remarked on having different perspectives. In having different perspectives, some things are observed while others are not seen. In explaining this, he stated; Because we all have diff erent perspectives. I guess the things that I look at in places sometimes are obviously different than others. When we were at the White House, there were weeds in the turf. When we were at Versailles, there were vines in the boxwood. From a distance, all of these things look wonderful, but when you get up close and sort of put a from that (Group Reflecti on, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, June 4, 2012 ). Another participant agreed with the comment and added by articulating the whole story and it depends on how things are viewed. In that, it is important to exchange dialogue to resolve issues and solve problems. Because you know, 30 000 foot level of everything is, we can all agree on, hen he devil is all right here in trying to figure out and so the dialog and exchang e is a necessary part. And [name] is right, when you get up to the boxwood get that worked out and done right to make it beautiful at that level (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, P ersonal Communication, Ju ne 4 2012 ). Relationships and networking The final theme to emerge was relationships and networking This category included the properties of value of relationships within the class, program, and ind ustry, and importance of passing on what had been give n to others
155 The first subtheme to emerge was the value of class relationships. During two reflection, facilitators asked the group how the class would encourage e veryone to remain involved in the organization. In Seminar Eleven, the facilitator referred back to involved in the program. Responses varied from personal growth, personal obligation, focused on the class and the relationships that had been established as a result of the two years. With that, reflection geared toward keeping the network togethe r. One participant stated; that are what makes this to me, so extraordinarily different from anything you sent me the update on your dad. So just remembering that not just about you, but also that we care about you and your feelings. I can see emails going back and forth on that. But I would hate not to see you all in person. So I too will make th at commitment to be at something (Group Reflection, Seminar Nine, Personal Communication April 18, 2012 ). During Seminar Eleven, participants also referred to the value of the class relationships but also referred to its value. I would say stay involved because of the relationships an d friendships built that the network that is formed. Not only in our class but in the whole Wedgworth program; alumni and all of that. So I just feel like that network is so valuable stateside that we can call each other at any time on a variety of needs, professional or personal (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). The class relationships apparent through all seminar reflections, group and individual. When asked in the last seminar w hy one would remain involved in the organization, he mentioned the relationships but also elaborated on why those relationships are important. As participants had traveled together for over 40 days in
156 the course of 22 months, participants realized the val ue and amount of the shared knowledge between the thirty participants. Several people have already mentioned the network and obviously that network is very important, but I think it takes this network of 30 individuals to hold to that level, because we hav e so many different experiences, we have had together. kind of like your ex grown up together, you are buddies. You just have this experience; it takes this relationship to a whole new level. With that being said, I think so many these relationships and how thick they are, you are already allowed to look beyond just your own backyard to become a better opinion leader for you state, community, nation, etcetera. So definitely, we realize we need to build these relationships (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). I n addition to recognizing the value and unique nature of the relat ion ships, participants also realized participants needed to remain involved in the program as a class to help each other in the future. [name] o see the individuals here that have worked so hard to provide us what we need here in the state of Florida not getting the resources they Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, June 4, 20 12 ). Finally, in reflecting on the class relationships one participant stated the importance of keeping involvement centered around a purpose. In his reflection, he encouraged participants to brainstorm ideas to aid the program in the future as a means t o stay together. I think that having some kind of purpose helps keep people together. So maybe each year, there is a specific purpose that our class would have that could be a specific charity or foundation or it could be saying that during Wedgworth year s like who would really like to host Class Nine for Seminar Five or something like that. Then as many of us get there as we can. But also like we did for the Mason Smoak Foundation, you know it could be thing like that we there is not class. Just someth ing, just some purpose for people to stay involved ( Group Reflection, Seminar Ni ne, Personal Communication, April 18, 2012 )
157 In reflecting on relationships and networking, program participants often drew back to the second subtheme, the program network. As a result of the Assistant challenge in Tallahassee, participants were aware the obligation they had to the program. In reflections and conversations, they noted they were part of a larger organization and mission. During Se inspired and the other is [Alumni Member] challenge to us; honor the family name. And so what will we do? What will I do? What will we do to honor Reflection, Seminar Eig ht, Personal Communication, February 22, 2012 ). In that same Integrity It seems everywhere we go, we treated like we are treated this program and the people that run this program and how we conduct ourselves while ht, Personal Communication, February 22, 2012 ). When recognizing the program netwo rk and relationships, participants also reflected on the size and scope of the network. During the international trip, following meeting with program alumni based in France and a fellow class member announcing a move and a job change, one participant stat ed; But then on that, also you know that when you get into Wedgworth, you have a huge network of people. That network is now global. You have two members that are going to be moving over here eventually and people like [name] moving to Houston. You have people in DC. It starts out just as a group of Floridians but it quickly grows worldwide (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 4, 2012 ). In discussing the value of the program network, participants also reflected on the obligation they have to the program and In discussing the value of the program network,
158 participants also reflected on the obligation they have to the program and future participants. In reflecting on future involvement, one participant drew back to previous experi ences and the lessons that were instilled. Why should we stay involved is the people. The people in this room and the people we have met. The network inspires me. The other thing related to our responsibility and I am reminded of when we were in the rot unda and I think about the people that have been there and sacrificed. We have that same responsibility I think. And we can, I, the group and the whole organization obviously can do things to influence our community, our jobs, our state, and our country. And so I look forward to being a part of that (Group Reflection Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication August 9, 2012 ). The last subtheme to emerge was the i ndustry network. However, as opposed to just defining the industry network, participants talk ed about its importance, and desire to necessarily speak on the importance of gett ing the word out, but working within the industry and the industry working together as a network to achieve one voice. I picked we raise everything but our voices. Not being a big producer, one of the things that I see throughout the industry is a lack of communication between the industries and agriculture. And it really distresses me because I constantly see the left group and the right group not wanting to talk to each other and unify. And things would be so much simpler in my opinion, if people had o ne unified voice. And we went forward and were able to talk about different things (Group Reflection, Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 27, 2011 ). Objective Three Levels of Reflection For the third objective, to determine how program partic ipant data were categorized using ) levels of reflection. Once data were grouped into individual and group reflections, data were grouped into the categories of the six levels of reflec tion; habitual action, t houghtful action, introspection, content
159 reflection, process reflection, and premise reflection Following the initial coding, processes participants were using to reflect were us ed to separate the data further into the subcategories which described processes of re flection. Levels of reflection and its processes are displayed in Table 4.5 and Table 4.6. Table 4 5. Individual Reflection Levels and Processes of Reflection Introspection Content Reflection Process Reflection Using others experiences to convey observa tions Using others experiences to convey observations Using others experiences to convey observations Using observations to disclose goals and wants Observations to disclose goals or wants Conveying personal obligation or responsibility Conveying an opin ion Conveying an opinion Observation of self Observation of self Conveying personal obligation or responsibility Change and transformation Lessons learned through experience or examples Observation of self Lessons learned through experience or example s Change and transformation
160 Table 4 6 Group Reflection Levels and Processes of Reflection Introspection Content Reflection Process Reflection Premise Reflection Learning through shared class experiences Using personal experience Using personal e xperiences Learning through shared class experiences Connecting multiple class experiences Learning through shared class experiences Learning through shared class experiences Using personal experiences to convey understanding Direct Observation Direct ob servation Direct Observation Direct observation Conveying future action Connecting multiple class experiences Conveying future action Individual Reflection Introspection Using others experiences to convey observations An observation that arose i n both individual reflection and group reflection was the fact that participants were very busy during seminars with little time to touch base with home. As part of program accountability, program participants do not utilize their cell phones or email dur ing program. Breaks in between speakers allow for participants to call in to work and home, answer emails, and return phone calls. In the following comment, the participant expressed that it was nice to meet others spouses, and also how spouses could fin ally notice how busy the schedule was. It was also important to notice that participants only expressed feeling without connecting it to prior learning or past experiences. It was interesting to see the dynamics with people when their spouses were include d. It was also helpful in keeping the peace for the future because Two, Personal Communication, January 29, 201 1 ).
161 In observing other individuals, one participant noted how thankful she was for what class participants had done for her. However, in the photo journal, the participant did not acknowledge why feelings emerged. She stated; Through home "heart" ships and home sickness, my Wedgworth family has uplifted me. At my seat on the bus I have seen my friends walk by with words of encouragement, tissues for tears and love. Every day with a sunny hello and how are you doing even through tired and weary eyes. I ha ve had interesting conversations and laugh out loud moments! Before my ride on this bus my friends celebrated my birthday in Washington DC and while in New Mexico offered up prayers for my father, moving me beyond emotion (Photo Journal, Seminar Six, Perso nal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). Using observations to disclose goals or wants At the conclusion of Seminar Two the participants were asked to write a letter to reflect on program experiences, and convey what they had learned to other individuals In addition to sharing learning experiences, participants disclosed goals or wants. Within the reflection letters, many participants shared with others their experiences at the Community Partnership for the Homeless. During this seminar session, parti cipants served dinner to the homeless population as well as toured the facility. As a result of the experience at the Community Partnership for the Homeless, in Miami, participants showed how they were impact. In the following statement, the participant describes the experience and feeling, but does not tie it to prior experiences or question prior experience. I wish that you and the girls could have been part of the experience we had with serving dinner to the homeless at the Community Partnership for th e Homeless Shelter. It was so moving to see each person walk into that dining room hungry and wanting something to eat. They were so grateful for us helpi ng them ( Reflection Letter, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011 ). Conveying an opinion. In con veying an opinion, participants offered their own personal views as well as applied new material to build upon previously held
162 perceptions. One participant used her occupational knowledge and applied it to the present experience. Many people today like to of them have absolutely no understanding of the thoughts of those leaders that actually make the basis of our governance so great. When a politician running for the presidency would even dare to hint they would do away with the separation of church and state that makes it very obvious that they do not appreciate the thoughtfulness of the drafters of our Constitution ( Reflection Letter, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011 ). Observation of self. In the final evaluation, participants were asked to describe ways the participant used reflection has changed because of the leadership program. Some participants offered short, succinct answers with no indication of how those feelings developed s ( Final Evaluation, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). In preparing for the media training, participants also used introspective reflection within the questionnaire. Personal Communication, February 20, 2012). Both the evaluation and training utilized questionnaires at either the end of the day or end of the seminar. This may allude the use of shorter answers, however, in filling out these questionnaires, some participants reflected at a deeper level. Lessons learned through experience or examples. Participants used displayed introspection in answering questionnaires, particularly the media training reflection. For example, when participants were asked if their impressions had changed challenging as anticipated. It was still challenging but Ray did a great job of helping us
163 Communication, March 24, 2012 ). Participants also provided reflections at the introspection level in the S eminar Three questionnaire In response to the question of what was learned from the seminar one participant stated The way bills are formed and passed was quite different from what I thought. The system is so complex that it is actually v ery orderly and simple. An idea (bill proposal) goes down the pipeline and it gets checked off or pushed back again until it is eventually passed or dropped completely (Seminar Three Questionnaire, Seminar Three, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). Individual Reflection Content Reflection Using others experiences to convey observations. Participants utilized content reflection in describing thoughts and feelings by elaborating and explaining their reflections in reflective activities such as photo j ournals. In one photo journal, the participant reflected on what she perceived when visiting the Vietnam Memorial during the National Seminar. She began her reflection by placing it in the context of the war eflection with what the experience meant to her and what she and others should do with what she learned. This picture brings many emotions forward as well as thoughts of how we can learn from our past. The Vietnam War did not end till April, 1975. I had b arely begun to live in 1975 and all these people had died to protect my American rights. That really struck a nerve with me. I had 3 uncles who served in Vietnam and I am very blessed to have them all with me today. My uncles were the lucky ones; they made it home. The rose standing at the base of the wall was in honor/memory to some who was lost; who never forget our past. Finally, we must learn to be better leaders to secure the future o f our children and their children (Photo Journal, Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). Reflections in this category were also discovered in the final evaluation. Even though the participant did not elaborate on feelings or perception s, they did reflect on
164 people with a different opinion. They have much to add to a positive solution (Final Evaluation, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9 2012 ). To reflect on what was observed or learned, participants also used examples of others actions to reflect on what was perceived. This was done both in writing activities and questionnaires. Within the reflection letters, responses were obviously longer and more detailed. For example, in the following reflection letter, individuals are specified by name and occupation. That passion that [program speaker] talked about is what [business owner] has found with his winery, what [program speaker] has, a nd is the comm on thread so far. [Program speaker] of the Coast Guard, [business owner] of the [business corporation] [hospital CEO] from [hospital] to the ag teacher at [ High School ] all have optimistic outlooks and are a powerful energy (Reflection Lett ers, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011 ). However, when providing reflections within a questionnaire, observations of others were made and perceptions were conveyed, but answers were more general, n, it was nice to hear what others gleaned from an experience and that what they got out of it was totally different than what I got. It Communication, August 9, 2012 ). O bservations to disclose goals or wants It was found that when participants disclosed goals or wants within reflections using content reflection, participants would provide observations of what was learned and then disclose what they wanted. For example, in their reflection letter, one participant stated; both from other classmates and from program speakers. This passion is encouraging and inspirational. I hope to have the same level of passion for
165 my job in striving to help Florida agriculture while helping make Florida better (Reflection Letters, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011 ). Conveying an opinion The majority of reflections under the code of conveying an o pinion related to the agricultural industry. It was very apparent the passion and concern that participants held for the industry. Most reflections that provided an opinion on the agricultural industry were with reflection letters and photo journals. Pa rticipants conveyed what they perceived as well as what they would act upon. In their photo journal, one participant stated; Agriculture plays many important roles and they are not just the ability to carrying on a family business. We provide a vital ser vice in feeding our citizens, providing environmental services like recharging the ecosystem, giving wildlife a place to live and hunt for survival. By constantly improving our operations we can become more efficient in production, improve the amount and quality of the water we return to the ecosystem and we can look at playing a part in storing water for urban areas all the while providing a viable economic engine to our communities whether they are on a local or international level (Photo Journals, Semin ar Six, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). Participants also conveyed an opinion using content reflection within questionnaires. Though the reflections were shorter, participants still reflected on what was perceived and felt. For example, whe n reflecting on common leadership qual ities, one participant stated; T here are so many patterns that are the same for all of these issues. These people all have a natural love for doing their job and the betterment of the public. They are all energetic, lively and very knowledgeable which makes them a natural leader ( Seminar Three Reflection Questionnaire, Seminar Three, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). Conveying personal obligation or responsibility Reflective journals indicated participants fe lt a sense of obligation and responsibility. Some participants provided
166 observations of past leaders and in doing so, participants tended to be reminded of their own obligations and responsibilities. One participant stated; I felt a sense of awe to thin k about the people that had been there and the history that occurred here in past times. I was humbled and inspired to think about the faith, sacrifice, and service of our founding fathers. I was reminded of the dedication of those currently serving, and of my own responsibility to do what I can where I am to serve others. I was reminded of my own responsibility to serve others, my family, community, state, and nation. Reminded of the duty and opportunity each of us has to serve our God and each other. I t reminded me how thankful I am to live in this country, and for the freedoms that we enjoy (Reflection Journals, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). They were also reminded of leader qualities and how they tied to their own obligat ion to their industry. It takes several working parts, minds, and people to make a masterpiece. No one person can do it on their own. We are outnumbered in voices and votes, however, we must reach out to our friends, neighbors and the general public to g ain continued support of our production of food and fiber (Reflection Journals, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). Observation of self. Within the code of self observation, participants focused mainly on what they learned or learning practices. This theme resonated throughout the two years. As personal growth was a subtheme in individual reflection, it is apparent that participants would talk about their development using what they perceived, thought and felt. In the reflection lett ers, a participant observed that; I am continually amazed at what I am learning about myself. My perspective has been changed even though we have lonely been together several weeks. My view of those in my class, program speakers, and communities all have changed. I believe my understanding of these things will improve my ability to solve problems in the future (Reflection Letters, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011 ). Lessons learned through experience or examples Statements that refl ected perceptions thoughts and feelings about what has been learned were found in both
167 questionnaires and journaling activities. Within the questionnaire, a participant succinctly reported on what they felt about the media training and being in front of a camera. The participant reflected that; I did not like seeing myself on camera, but it is a good experience to see what you would do differently if put into this position in the future. I liked the practical opportunity. It is hard than it looks when p resented with the original presentation (Media Training Reflection, Seminar Eight, Personal Communication, February 22, 2012 ). Content reflection was also observed in a reflection letter which conveyed feelings about how to prepare the family for potentia l disaster. This theme was influenced by the visit to the Community Partnership for the Homeless and as a result of the visit, participants took what they felt and applied it to preparing families for potential disasters or events. I was shaken by the stories of medi c al disaster or some other calamity that edged a family out of house and home. Thanks to our families, we will never be homeless, but it made me realize we need to save more diligently for a better safety cushion than what we currently have in place. I also need to make sure [daughter] and [daughter] work harder at school to excel and that they take advantage of opportunities to explore their passions (Reflection Letters, Personal Communication, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011 ). C hange and transformation Content reflection within the processes of change and transformation was marked by participants observing changing their own perspectives but also the importance of changing the opinion or perspectives of others. In visiting Bios phere 2 during the national trip, one participant pointed out changing perspectives and viewing something different. In her reflection she conveyed what the class learned as well as her thoughts on how to apply the lesson in life. In her photo journal sh e reflected; We were reminded on several occasions while visiting the biosphere 2 that the project was not a failure. Just as those who designed, constructed and
168 lived in the Biosphere 2, we must continue to push forward, adapt and remind those around us that agriculture is alive and well in the state of Florida and across the country (Photo Journals, Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). On the national trip and other participant reflected on the importance of changing tives. In her reflection, she implied that her perspectives had changed change if they had a similar experience. In her photo journal, she stated; Seeing the actual fence and hearing the truth to the rumors we hear about workers trying to come to America to do the jobs Americans will no longer do heightened my concern I wish folks that are working to remove our labor force from our country could spend a day in the shoes of a farmer and then travel where I did with my Wedgworth Leadership Institute class; maybe that would change their position (Photo Journals, Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). Individual Reflection Process Reflection Using others exper iences to convey observations Using process reflection, participants used others experiences to convey how they thought, felt or perceived something. Participants were influenced by others to think about what they experienced in a different way. After m eeting with officials in Miami and West Palm Beach County, on participant indicated that by watching how others conducted themselves, he would change how he embraced different opportunities. In his reflection he stated; The learning experience has been s ignificant for me. It is really encouraging our workforce. They have inspired me to get more involved in the necessary items that are needed to move agriculture forward. This is something that we do not think about on a daily basis, and I know that I am blessed to have the experiences that we have had so far. The question is what will we do with these opportunities ? (Reflection Letters, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011 ). In observing other individuals wh ile using process reflection, participants did not necessarily reflect directly on others actions, but on how they could learn from their
169 actions to change their own behavior. This process was most common within the two questionnaires; media training and Seminar Three questionnaire. In discussing how to better work with the media, one participant stated the develop a question and answer prior to interacting with the media in an interview ). In observing state leaders in the context of the legislature, one participant observed that I have seen the impact that can be had if we participate in t he political process. I will focus on working with my elected officials, organizational associations, and my company to help in giving our thoughts and concerns to our government (Seminar Three questionnaire, Seminar Three, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011 ). Conveying personal obligation or responsibility Reflective journals indicated participants felt a sense of obligation and responsibility. Some participants provided observations of past leaders and in doing so, participants tended to be remi nded of their own obligations and responsibilities. This was indicated in both photo journaling and the final evaluation. The photo journal examined how feelings develop and the final evaluation examined the acting and assessment of performing a new skil ls. In the photo journal, one participant was reminded of her own obligations to give back; Reflecting on this classroom coincidence in the context of its location the War College reminds me that the freedoms I cherish have been won, and are defended by, those willing to give their lives to preserve what makes this country great. I was reminded anew of the debt I owe and the obligation I have to give back some measure of wha Photo Journals, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ) Within the context of the final evaluation, a participant reflected on how to hone in work on delivery of my point of view to fairly
170 communicate and understand Co mmunication, August 9, 2012 ). Observation of self. In the final evaluation, participants were asked to describe ways the participant used reflection has changed because of the leadership program. One participant provided observation of how he reflected b ut also that as a process he speaking engagements looking for ways to improve. However, I never reflected at the minar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Participants also reflected at length on how they performed the acts of perceiving, thinking, feeling, and acting. In his reflection one participant observed that; Lastly, I guess I simply felt. I c ould write volumes of feelings associated with each program. The young coast guard specialists made me nearly tear with pride as they described plainly and matter of factly how they protect our coastal borders and those trying to reach them. As well, [ho spital administrator] left me feeling both envious he has created an environment of harmony amongst his employees (something all of us best efforts. But again, I felt, something I ra rely do in my day to day enterprises. And, quite frankly that is nice to connect and not be so analytical (Reflection Letters, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011 ). Change and transformation Change and transformation within process re flection was most apparent in questionnaires asking the specific questions of what participants would do with information provided through the training or seminar. As a ecome more available for interviews. In the past, I would dodge interviews. Now I feel more comfortable. Working to talk about certain subjects that I know will get the media attention (Media Training, Seminar Eight, Personal Communication, February 22, 2012 ). Additionall y,
171 since being taught about reflection and having to reflect during the seminars, participants were using the practice in their own life. One participant observed that; eflecting at work is helping me evaluate the main things we do hopefully to improve focus and get better results (Final Evaluation, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Group Reflection Introspection Learning through shared class experiences Participants observed the value of learning through the program. In gro up reflections, participants would convey what was learned by relating them to shared experiences within the class. In this, participants would not have to elaborate on the experience because of shared knowledge. However, levels of reflection could still be indicated in this code by participants willingness to share what was perceived but also how those perceptions developed. Within introspection, how feelings developed was not indicated in reflections such as; A lot of you guys know that I am new to agr about two years so the experiences of being able to visit all these different places, learning about different types of agriculture and all the problems that are going on in all different types of industry. been absolut ely phenomenal for me (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Connecting multiple class experiences In communicating multiple class experiences using introspection, participants would recall multiple events. F eelings an d thoughts were conveyed but no description on how those feelings developed was revealed. For example, when asked what participants gained from the program during Seminar Eight, one participant stated; I enjoyed the most is just seeing how much more ag h as to offer. As a [County]
172 down and see sugar cane, lettuce operation. Going to see the cell ulose plant with the timber. A nd then shifting this all on the rural and how much I mean r operation T citrus and cows. I've really enjoyed getting out of Polk County and seeing some of these other parts of the st ate (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). With in different reflection activities it was common for participants to connect multiple experiences within their observations. Within the international trip one participant w as able to discuss the differences by connecting her own personal experiences in two different locations. In the group reflection she stated; [name] was talking about, between Paris and here. A nd it was a lot of fun walking around today and getting to go in the little shops and actually seeing a lot of local things. And like we did the olive oil tasting. And it was just a very unique experience whereas in Paris it was very touristy and a lot o f people from all over the world. But here you really got to immerse in the culture and I really enjoyed that today (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 4, 2012 ). Direct observation During the first seminar, participants were br iefed on the practice of reflection. After the briefing, a program administrator led the first reflection activity After explaining the process, he asked the first question: How did you feel about becoming part of the program? Participants gave very sh ort answers as the facilitator went around the room calling on individuals Responses included; nervous excited, scared, apprehensive, and reserved. Feelings were conveyed but how or why those feelings had developed was not discussed. Participants refle cted on shared experiences throughout the two year program. During seminar nine, in the participant led reflection, participants were asked how they would stay involved in the program. Reflections came in the form of ideas and suggestions. Though the fee ling of wanting to keep in touch was apparent, indicators of
173 how those feelings evolved or developed were absent in the reflection. One participant offered; somebody is kind of dealing with something and you've heard it. You know maybe not an email, but maybe just a quick phone call just to make sure they are doing okay. Whatever they are going through. I just feel a little bit more personable with our whole group (Group Refle ction, Seminar Nine, Personal Communication, April 18, 2012 ). Conveying future action In group reflections participants tended to share goals, future aspirations and application of what was learned. One participant stated; For me one of the biggest thin gs that have changed for me is I have wanted to become more involved on more of a state level than a local level. I mean not as far as politics and that type of thing, but I wanted to know what is happening, reading more about the issues and really care a bout them and I am hope we go to the national level. Having the same enthusiasm about it too (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). The participant expressed feelings and thoughts about himself and his future aspirations but he had not examined or made a decision on why those feelings had developed. Group Reflection Content Reflection Using a story or experience to reflect on an observation outside the program To contribute to discussion or convey a point, participants would often use a story or personal experience to provide explanations. During Seminar Five, one participant reported on what she had been doing between Seminar Four and Seminar Five. During the Seminar Five reflection a participant discussed a personal experience she had as a result of visiting an oyster operation in A palachicola during Seminar Four. as a result of the economy and the British Petroleum Deep Water Hori zon Oil Spill in
174 April 2010. The interaction with the business owner im pacted the entire class. As a result of these interactions, this particular class member used her contacts to make officials aware of what was going on from her perspective in the Apa lachicola bay area. In providing her reflection during Seminar Five, she stated; engaged. And this program has taught me to be more engaged. In fact, when we got back from the panhandl e, I sat in on Florida Food Safety. I am on the Florida Food Safety Security Advisory Council for the Florida Legislature. I actually spoke up for the oystermen there and Apalachicola. Totally, outside of my area. I got a very quick call after the phon e, after we got off the conference, from [state official] continuing to talk to me about it trying to figure out how to help these folks Florida. Be cause they are with me (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Learning through shared class experiences Participants were given the opportunity to travel and meet individuals from all walks of life throughout the two year experience. In this, different stories would emerge as questions were asked and conversations began. These experiences as a result of learning something new often emerged in the group reflections. In sharing these experiences, though shared meanings we re apparent, giving to abbreviated stories and reflections, feelings and perceptions still emerged within the reflections. During the international trip reflection, one participant provided insight on what she had learned through seminar facilitators. Sh e stated that; I think that people helping us our like the tour guides and our bus drivers what they are doing for us and their own personal lives. Hearing [bus the bus driver and now all of a sudde Thailand. I mean just so many different chapters in that life and every time he said something it was just like wow. He started out as a bus driver and ended up as somebody that is just amazing (G roup Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 4, 2012 ).
175 Direct observation Direct observations included explanations in addition to opinions and ideas being conveyed without the use of a lot of detail or class experiences to qualify the obse rvation. During Seminar Five, participants reflected on what they had learned so far in the program. One participant provided observations of her own development as an opinion leader. In being direct, she was also able to convey what she perceived and h ow those observations had developed over time. In reflecting with her class, she stated; I am a complete and total nerd and I should probably come up here and get a PhD or something. Because I really love to learn about stuff so, even though we had these really long days of listening, to people speak, and yes my ey es start to get a little heavy. I really like to learn about things and understand them. So I feel like I do have an opinion that is valuable not that other le. B ut I think if you have more informed opinion, it is and you can argue your position more effectively. So I found that I am reading quite a bit more than I used to and really want to look at importance of being involved on the local level. A lot of times I look at things that are going on, especially politics on a state or national level. But really important to be invol ved on a local level (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Connecting multiple class experiences In connecting multiple class experiences, participants could observe two different situations, state how the connected to gether or provide comparison of two different situations. During the international trip reflection, there was a tendency to compare practices and culture with American practices. For example, one participant compared private and public sector relationshi ps. In doing so, he conveyed perception and how that perception had evolved. Going back to the [Seed Company] I was impressed by the 3500 growers and how they come together for product development and researching and bringing that into a pri vate struct ure. Whereas in citrus we are very dependent on the university. The university does a good job but it certainly
176 presents its challenges trying to have that public private partnership. And on top of that, these guys, 50 years ago, they were very dependent on research, but they kind of made that transition into more of a private structure ( Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 3, 2012 ). Conveying future action In group reflections participants tended to share goals, future aspiration s and application of what was learned. Statements using content reflection conveyed not only the goal, but also feeling toward the implementation and potential success of the goal. One participant stated; E very time every session is new and overwhelming for me. But I get something from it every time And I am so excite d when I talk to, listen to [presenter] in a leadership with our local FNGLA and we have some conflict going on with our board members. And I feel like this is a perfect opportunity for me to take back what I have learned from this program and help facilitate a resolution to what is going on (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Group Reflection Pro cess R eflection Using personal experience to conv ey understanding To provide reflection, participants would often use a story or personal experience to provide explanations. When participants reflected using processes, they would refer the processes of thinking. During S eminar Five when asked what a participant had learned as a result of the program, she examined the act of perceiving but also the efficacy of perceiving and acting within a given context. In discussing how she implemented changes in her workplace she stated; I was doing for others in my association what I should have been leading them to do for themselves. And that if I truly wanted to be a leader, I needed to do less for them but enable them to do it instead. And the other things that I have found out I shared it with But for Wedgwo rth yesterday, that I horded information (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ).
177 Within this type of reflection, participants also used personal stories to convey a point to others about how to approach different lessons t hat had been learned by the class. One participant used an example of his employer to explain how processes and issues can be approached. A couple of you know [alumni member] think is always necessarily a bad thing. He i s forever going to, throwing conflict at you. thinking of every possible option. Not necessarily that he wants you to do o look at it from both, from all sides and make sure you are sure about what you are doing (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Learning through shared class experiences Participants often r eflected on value of learnin g together. As a result of learning together and shared experiences, one participant noted that how he perceived and acted in conversation had changed because of the knowledge he had gained. In the last reflection he stated; M y knowledge and experience is so much higher now because of everyone and everywhere been and everything we've actually seen. Like I was always there like on the weekend or you know somewhere nothing was going on pretty much. But I mean the things that we saw, the places that we've gone, places that we've seen are just amazing to me and I just I feel like I have such a basis now when I have a conversation with somebody like not only the horticulture industry but like this part, and this part, and this part, always different pa rts of ag all tie in to the same situation (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). Direct observation During the Seminar Six reflection, participants offered succinct reflections. Most reflections referred to content being concerned with what was perceived, but several individuals offered reflections on how we perform thinking, feeling and reflecting. In reference to perceiving the industry, one participant remarked; So I think that is something to do. So I think it is very important not only to do the things that are in front of you, but also be mindful of all the things that are ou t side of just your tunnel vision, your industry. Because such
178 a big industry in general (Group Reflection, Seminar Six, Personal C ommunication, September 27, 2011 ). Group Reflection Premise R eflection Learning through shared class experiences During reflection, participants would often use shared experiences to reflect on what had been learned. During seminar Nine and Seminar Ten of programming. During Seminar Nine discussions were held on the European perception and consumption of genetically modified products. While at the seed use and sale. One individual chose to reflect on this issue, but in doing so, not only offered observation and conveyed his perceptions but also questioned how the seed company had reframed this issue and expressed desire to apply the same processes to h ow he could change The other thing is that I keep thinking about yesterday and the seed have come to the conclusion that they have lost that battle. And so what can we learn from that in our own country related to whatever issues that about that, what they did differently, to c hange that perception (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 4, 2012 ). After visiting a large food and agricultural goods market in Paris, participants reflected on what they saw and also how what they saw had changed their perspectives and what they tho ught to be true about the advancements of American agriculture and marketing versus European practices. By touring the market, Rungis, perspectives on efficiency versus appearance had changed for some individuals. In the following statement, one particip ant acknowledged how he and others may have thought
179 differently before, but as a result of the experiences, exposure had influenced potential changes in meaning frameworks. My though t was along the line with [name] especially going through the fruit and ve getable section today at the Rungis market. It kind of amazed me in it perfectly. Everything looks nice. The cherry tomatoes are in way, in one direction with the stem on the may not be as advance or in the lead in the world market as we think we are. And that stuff takes labor, it takes time and when I look at stuff in our market compared to what I saw over here. I mean stuff was comi ng out of Spain, it was coming out of Brazil, it was coming out of France, it was (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 3, 2012 ). Using personal experiences to convey understanding Personal experiences can be used to communicate that one understands a new issue, but can also be used to display how transformation in meaning has taken place. When sharing what he had learned, on participant explained how the use of reflection had also made him become aware of why he thought and acted as he did before. In his example, he disclosed how working in the business industry had governed his reactions and within his new career he understood the value of reflection. And it got to the point where not only has Wedgworth has taught me patience for a leadership standpoint because in my prior industry, all decisions made, you know decision making needs to be done five seconds th the consequences and figure out later and just keep going. This really allowed me to get a better understanding of sitting back and saying okay, now what is the issue, why no longer that way, you've really got to open a box and make a better decision. I think show that we were able to experience in Tallahassee is that one person can make a huge difference. A gr oup can change the world, and being quiet (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011 ). Direct observation In providing a direct observation, one participant gave his opinion and perception of the perspective chan ges within the two economies of the
1 80 United States and Europe This reflection was also in reference to the large food and agricultural market and how what was experienced changed perceptions and meaning frameworks. Additionally, in his reflection, this p articipant observed that not only had his frameworks changed in viewing European agricultural marketing versus American agricultural marketing, but that perspective changes may arise that were not noticed or reviewed before the experience. Just listening t o the folks yesterday and the different economies and everything. I think go i ng to be game on. Everything we have today is going to be challenged. The relationships we have, the comforts we have with our own government, the farm bill. These guys k now our farm bill better than we know the farm bill. And that kind of stuff. So I think we are (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 3, 2012 ). Chapter Summary Chapter f our explained the results found for each research objective; (1) to identify how program participants reflect on program experiences, (2) the themes from experiences participants reflected upon and (3) to i dentify if, or to what extent, reflection methods utilized by the program lead to critical reflection by participants For the first and third objective, findings were categorized as processes of reflection. Findings indicated that participants utilized reflection on action more than reflection in actio n in both individual and group reflections. In both individual and group reflections, participants reflected at the levels of introspection, content reflection and process reflection. Group reflections also showed evidence of premise reflection. Finally themes from experiences were similar among individual and group reflection with personal growth being an additional theme within group reflection.
181 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Overview The purpose of this study was to explore how an adult agricultural leadership program utilized reflection methods and to determine how various reflection methods influenced the development of critical reflection. The objectives of the study were; 1. To identify how program participants reflect on program experiences 2. To determine the themes and concepts from program experiences that participants are reflecting upon 3. To identify if or to what extent to which each reflection method utilized by the program produces critical reflection by the participants. From the literature reviewed and t he data collected and analyzed, the researcher set out to establish a constructivist grounded theory on the use of reflection within an adult agricultural leadership program. Chapter Two proposed a conceptual framework to guide the study that utilized the theories of constructivism and adult learning, and the approach of experiential learning. Studies on adult leadership development, agricultural leadership programs, and other adult leadership programs were reported to supplement the study. Chapter Three Qualitative data were collected using participants group and individual reflections within an agricultural leadership program over the course of two years. Chapter Four described the findings from th e study. Chapter Five provided a discussion of key findings, a proposed theory, implications and recommendations. Data were collected through group and individual reflection activities, including recording and transc ribing group reflection activities par ticipant questionnaires, and journals. Upon completion of data collection, data were divided into the three objectives
182 of the study for analysis. Data in each objective was coded separately as Objectives One and Three sought to find categories in processe s in reflection and Objective Two Findings in C hapter Four indicated that participants utilized the practices of reflection in action and reflection on action within indi vidual and group reflections. Identified t hemes that were reflected on as a result of the program experience were similar among individual and group reflections, with the group reflec ting having one additional theme Finally, the research er discovered that participants reflected at t he levels of introspection, content reflection and process reflection within individual activities and introspection, content reflection, process reflection and premise reflection within group reflection. Key Findings Findings are broken down by the object ives of the study. Within each of those objectives, data was coded through the process of constant comparative analysis from initial coding to focused coding. Within Objectives One and Three, 225 initial codes within individual reflection and 206 initial codes within group reflections emerged from the data. Within Objective Two, 332 initial codes within individual reflection and 351 initial codes within the group reflection emerged from the data. The procedure of breaking down the text into codes was co nducted through a constant comparative analysis beginning with the first reflection activities and continuing the analysis in a chronological pattern throughout the two years of data Appendix D provides an example of coded text indicating both initial an d focused codes. Findings offer a comparison between individual and group reflection as well as offer a comparison between different codes found within individual reflection and codes found within group
183 reflection. Throughout the research codes are refer red to as processes or themes. Processes refer to the coding scheme for process es of reflection within Objectives One and T hree. Themes were referred to as the codes based on the themes and concepts of reflection analyzed for Objective Two. To conclude the process, focused codes were placed into the proposed theoretical codes. Theoretical codes are introduced within theory construction. Objective One How Participants Reflect For objective one, the researcher examined if and when participants used ref lection in action and reflection on action strategies offered by Schon (1983; 1988) to reflect on program experiences. Evidence of both reflection in action and reflection on action were found on both the individual and group levels of reflection. Howeve r, what participants reflected on and the processes utilized differed between individual and group and between reflection in action and reflection on action. Reflection In Action. The practice of reflection in action was not common in the data, but it was evident in both individual reflections and group reflections. In the individual reflection, it was found when participants reflected using others experiences, disclosing goals and wants, conveying an opinion, and when reflecting on their own personal obl igation and responsibility. This was different from participants using reflection in action among the group. At the group level, participants referred to personal experiences to convey a lesson learned, reflected on what had been learned through shared e xperiences and tended to connect multiple class seminar experiences. When reflecting individually, participants drew on the experiences and also revealed the change they wanted to provide insight in their own lives. For example, when disclosing goals and wants, one participant stated; I wish our family could have
184 witnessed (Reflection Letters, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011). This reflection as well as others gives indication of constructivism in that the participant was negoti ating with his environment and making sense of how he saw the world (Crotty, 2010). In doing so, he saw his role in that world, being that one to help others and hopefully have his family do the same. At the time, this was a unique experience since when the class worked at the homeless shelter, there was no time to discuss what was going to happen in the experience beforehand. This is evidence of reflecting in the experience (Schon, 1983). In composing the letter, the participant took himself back to th e experiences, drew on his own knowledge and not so much the experiences or observations of his fellow classmates. This was different from participants reflecting in action among the group. In the group level, participants referred to personal experiences to convey lessons learned, reflected on what had been learned through shared experiences, and connected multiple class seminar experiences. The previous statement fell under the code of disclosing goals and wants. In the group reflection setting, partic ipant tended to reflect on what they needed to do, but never outright stated a goal or desire they fe lt as it And that if I truly wanted to be a leader, I needed to do less for them, but enable them to do it instead (Group Reflect ion, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011). This could be an indication of not only shared knowledge, but a shared goal of wanting to become a more effective leader, hence enrollment in the program. Group reflections drew on socially defin ed meanings and socially shared stories. Even when using personal experiences, participants implied lessons or roles that each take within leadership. In the reflection, though the
185 participant was reflecting on what she did at that moment, she did not ha ve to explain what was going on so much because of the shared knowledge and the construction of meaning and value (Crotty, 2010). This is evidence of social constructionism in that the participant was part of a larger group that had already defined the ne eds of leadership and implied the goals of being an effective leader. Social constructionism allows for socio cultural dynamics (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000) and a definition of meaningful reality (Crotty, 2010). Additionally, in the context of social constru ctionism, when this as well as delegating work, she did not have to be as straightforward about her actions as fellow class participants understood her position from prior knowledge (Denzin & Lincoln, 20 03). In other group reflections utilizing reflection in action participant s were able to reflect on what they saw at that moment in order to broaden their knowledge and analyze issues during the seminar and particular briefing (Kaagan, 1998). Reflection O n Action Reflection On Action was evident in both individual and group reflections and was a much larger practice than reflection in action. The codes were larger, but the processes were similar to the number of codes in reflection in action, meaning th at participants reflected using a similar number of processes throughout the two years. Differences were also observed between participants reflection on action at the individual and group levels. At the individual level, participants conveyed goals and wants, provided self observation, reflected on lessons learned through experiences and the changes they had experienced as a result of programming. Within the group level, participants shared with others reflections by
186 using personal experiences, shared e xperiences, direct observations and conveying future action. Though there were similar codes between individual and group processes, how they reflected was different. Similar to reflection in action, participants reflected on their own learning in both si tuations. For example, though some of the codes were similar such as lessons learned through experiences and learning through shared experiences, what was reflected upon in both contexts was different. In the individual reflection one participant shared in their letter, From there, our adventures took us to conquering a high ropes challenge course, where we climbed over 30 feet up a pole, jumped off a platform and rang a bell. I am still amazed that not only did I climb that high, but I was able to coun t on and trust these 30 new friends that I had just met only hours ago (Reflection Letters, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011). In discussing with the group a shared experience, one participant reflected on what the class had experienced together. I have anywhere near the effect as it would have of the effect to be with all of up. It makes us take something i Personal Communication, July 20, 2011). Reflections were different being that in reflecting on their own experience, the person acknowledged personal feelings and growth whereas in the group reflection it was indicated that the reflection was intended for and connected to the 29 other individual s in the room. Additionally, the benefit of offering the reflection was of mutual agreement and understanding (Crotty, 2010). F eelings about the action were shared in the indiv idual reflection whereas feelings about the action are assumed in the group reflection. The individual quote does show evidence of constructivism in the learning and transformation taking place in the participant (Doolittle & Camp, 1999) ; however, in
187 the group reflection, the participant eludes to the shared knowledge and how it impacts the group as a whole, not just how it impacts him as an individual (Crotty, 2003). Comparison of Reflection In Action and Reflection on Action. Differences were also indic ated on what processes were adopted at the individual level of reflection and the group level of reflection using the process of reflection in action and reflection on action. Figure 5.1 displays reflection processes at the individual and group level for reflection in action and reflection on action. At the individual level, only one code was similar; disclosing goals and wants. In both types of reflection, participants referred back to experiences through observations of self and what practices they lea rned or experiences with the program (reflection on action) or conveying what was learned through watching or reflecting on the experiences of others. Within reflection in action, participants discussed personal responsibility which correlates with a larg e subtheme within Objective Two, meaning that participants discussed responsibility and also used it as a process. Within group reflections, participants used the methods of using personal experiences and shared experiences to reflect using both reflectio n in action and reflection on action. Participants using reflection in action only used experiences as the third process was connecting multiple class experiences. Participants using reflection on action shared direct observations by conveying succinct t houghts or opinions and conveyed what they wanted to do with what was learned in addition to reflecting on experiences. Reflection on a ction was a larger data to analyze, and offered more codes than reflection in action. One significant finding was that w hen participants reflected in action at the individual level, they tended to use others experiences to convey an observation rather
188 than their own experiences This did not happen at the group level or reflection in action nor did it occur when participan ts reflected on action, at the individual or group level. In utilizing the process of using others experiences to convey an observation, a participant stated, As I stood there, I thought about great individuals like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas J efferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan. I thought about the men and women that had served and died in our military to give us the freedoms that we enjoy today. I thought about the sacrifice of those that had served as ambassadors in other countries s eparated from their families for years at a time. I thought even with the challenges we face today, our country is still one of the greatest and stands for good (Photo Journal, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011 ). When reflecting in action at the group level, participants used their own experiences impact I was having on others. And the color sorting made me find out how true blue I onal Communication, July 20, 2011). When reflecting on action, participants used their own experiences to draw back on what was learned in programming. This was indicated in individual reflection statements such as, eel about some of the Miami experiences I can tell ion] or whatever the case may be, we have a great Communication, August 9, 2013). Using others experiences and using personal experiences (1983) suggest that p questions
189 and therefore new outcomes. The use of others experiences provided examples for the participant reflecti ng in action to use others to help understand, construct knowledge and examine his own obligations. In the reflection, the participant suggests that he could learn from others actions and these examples can govern his actions (Schon, 1983; Mezirow, 1991). The interpretation provided a description of the event rather than process of using others experiences to reflect occurred in the photo journaling reflection act ivity. The activity allowed participants to draw back on an experience by examining a photograph and allow the expression of feeling and meaning through the photograph (White, Sasser, Bergren & Morgan, 2009). Table 5 1 Reflection In Action Codes Reflecti on In Action Individual Reflection Reflection In Action Group Reflection Using Personal Experiences Disclosing Goals and Wants Learning through Shared Experiences Conveying an Opinion Connecting Multiple Class Experiences Pe rsonal Responsibility and Obligation Table 5 2 Reflection On Action Codes Reflection On Action Individual Reflection Reflection On Action Group Reflection Disclosing Goals and Wants Using Personal Experiences Observations of Self Learning through S hared Experiences Lessons Learned through Experience Direct Observations Reflection on Change and Transformation Conveying Future Action Objective Two Themes of Reflection For the second objective, the researcher examined the themes reflected on by pa rticipants within an agricultural leadership program. Major themes were very similar between the individual and group reflections with subthemes differing. Within the group
190 reflection, participants reflected on an additional major theme than in individual reflections. Themes for individual reflection were increasing understanding, relationships and networking, application of what has been learned and the responsibility of leadership. Themes that emerged in the group reflection were personal growth, leade r characteristics, application of what has been learned, value in understanding and relationships in networking. In addition to personal growth theme and the differing subthemes, individual and group reflection differed in the order in which themes were f irst discussed within the two years and surfaced in the data. At the individual level, when participants reflected on increasing understanding, they reflected on what they had learned from different environments, understanding and appreciating others, see ing the larger picture, avenues of learning and moving beyond assumptions. This theme emerged within the first individual reflection activity following the second seminar. In comparing environments, participants offered observation of an environment and t he importance of fitting in or acknowledging they were part of a larger picture or system. Participants also discussed having an open mind toward others and issues. This theme was most evident in the reflection letters from Seminar Two as a result of vis iting a homeless shelter in Miami and listening to a keynote on respecting the diversity of the city. This was noted in reflections such as; This trip to Miami made me realize how important it is to continually expose myself to new people, interests and p laces near and far, never passing judgment, but rather to appreciate the differences and the impact they have on the bigger picture (Reflection Letter, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011). In viewing the larger picture, participants joined lessons fr om different seminars to construct a larger world view, and build knowledge upon what was previously known.
191 This was an example of constructivism in that knowledge about communities or the state was built upon by experience (Doolittle & Camp, 1999; Robert s, 2006). A similar theme, value in understanding was the fourth theme to emerge within the group reflections. The theme included understanding others, continued learning, perceptions, changing perspectives, and acknowledging differences. This theme wa s also first discussed the second seminar which was evident with the Seminar Five reflection. The theme was the fourth to emerge as the first group reflection focused on personal growth, leadership characteristics and application of concepts. Though the code is similar to its match in the code of value in understanding within individual reflections, the subthemes are different. Within this theme participants talked about the changes within their viewpoints they experienced as a result of the program. On e participant noted; Prior to getting involved in the program, I was very myopic in my thinking. You know, I was very focused in what my core business was all about and how we need to become better in our own businesses. And this has really allowed me t o have more of a global mindset (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012). Participants reflected on several subthemes including the opportunity to understand others in terms of culture, economics and issues. A reoccurring theme after the two year experience came from a presentation in the seminar, which was to Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal communication, July 20, 2011). Participants al so acknowledge the importance of continued learning which included reflection and keeping an open mind about people and issues. Participants also had the opportunity to discuss and compare new practices with traditional forms or their own practices. In a ddition to learning about issues participants also acknowledged learning from other
192 individuals. Participants also discussed dispelling perceptions and changing perceptions as a result of experiences. This theme emerged through discussions of individuals and environments within the international seminar. Finally, participants reflected on different perspectives and the importance of understanding these perspectives. Relationships and networking were reflected on at both the individual and group level. I t was the second theme to emerge within individual reflections. In both the individual and group reflections, this was the largest theme drawn from the data. This confirms previous studies on agricultural leadership programs reporting that relationships a nd networking were major outcomes and benefits to the programs (Strickland, 2011). On the individual level participants reflected on the importance of relationships and networking within the class and industry. In identifying effective leadership, relati onships were described as key to the process. One participant with peers, legislators and staff. They are the deal makers that work with all interested parties and st Communication, March 24, 2011). Participants also reflected on the relationships within (Photo Jour nal, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011). Additionally, participants reflected on the value of relationships within the industry and their importance when working on an issue. Participants also addressed the value of the leadership program and i ndustry networks. Participants reflected on the program networking referring to the privilege it is
193 to be part of the program and associated with those individuals within the alumni organization. Finally, participants recognized the value of the industry network but also the necessity of working together in statements such as of life, we have to work together in unison. We have to stand up for our neighbors Personal Communication, September 28, 2011). The final theme to come out group reflections was relationships and networking. In contrast to individual reflection, participants at the group level reflected on the value of relationships within the class, p rogram and industry, and, in contrast to the individual reflections, discussed the importance of passing on what had been given to them to others. The relationship with the class was reflected on throughout the two years and was expressed in statements su ch as Several people have already mentioned the network and obviously that network is very important, but I think it takes this network of 30 individuals to hold it to that level. Because we have so many different experiences, we just have this experience; it takes this relationship to a whole new level (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012). In recognizing the uniqueness of these relationships, participants also acknowledge the importance of rem aining involved with the organization. In reflecting on the organization or program network, participants reported having an obligation to the program, especially the importance of passing on what had been bestowed upon them to others. In addressing the industry network, participants talked about the importance of the network and desire to build their own networks within the industry. The third theme to emerge within individual reflections was the application of what had been learned. Participants reflec ted on applying knowledge in the industry,
194 community and career, advocacy, the use of skills such as reflection, increased communication and problem solving, and preparation. Participants noted the importance of using the information to promote their own industry in statements such ng, Personal Communication, February 22, 2012 ). Participants also committed to becoming m ore involved in their communities and applying skills that were learned to their daily lives. Participants hopefully to improve, focus and get better results (Final Eval uation, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012). Improvement in communication, decision making, problem solving and preparation were apparent within the findings. These were direct skills taught in programming activities. However, preparation was drawn f rom the media training reflection in asking about the benefits of the exercise, which gives indication that though these skills may not have been addressed in group reflection, they were in individual reflections because of the type, specificity and timeli ness of the question. Problem solving and communication were drawn out of the final evaluation which asked about the process of reflection. This indicates that programming is reflected upon, whether the question is directly asked or not. Individuals are also pulling lessons from earlier programming to apply and build upon something such as reflection which helps them build more on past lessons. Agricultural advocacy was also a prevalent theme within both individual and group reflections. Within individ ual reflections, participants expressed concern of others
195 not knowing about agriculture, importance of advocacy, and how skills could aid them in becoming advocates. In one reflection, a participant addressed advocacy at the state level but indicated tha reflection which stated Personal Commu nication, September 29, 2011). Application was the third theme discovered within group reflection. Participants discussed the value of information, applying skills such as reflection, teaching others the lessons from the program, using information to beco me more involved, advocacy and embracing opportunity. Participants reported that they could apply what was learned in the program within their home and work environments. With that, an appreciation was established for the program. For example, on e parti cipant noted that his experience went beyond learning material but how he could apply the skills. Of the skills discussed, the more common skill reported as being applied was that of reflection. Unlike the in the individual reflections, the use of refle ction was not directly asked about in the group reflection. Within application, participant s noted the importance of passing on information to others. This was similar to a subtheme within individual reflection. Similar to individual reflection, advocac y also emerged within application. This theme fell throughout several themes in the research, however, within application; participants noted how they would use the skills, knowledge and network to advocate for the industry. This was indicated through st atements such as
196 that voice and be able to carry out the message about agriculture (Group Reflection, Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 27, 2011). In addition to advocacy participants also noted they would use the information learned to embrace opportunity. This subthem e emerged as several participants in the class had reported career changes as a result of what they had learned and networks established through the program. The final theme to emerge within individual reflection was the responsibility of leadership. With in this theme, participants discussed personal responsibility, the passion of leaders, the identification of leadership, being innovative as a leader, serving others and personal growth. Personal responsibility included acknowledging obligations and servi ce to others. This theme was drawn upon throughout the two years and appeared in different activities. This indicates that the theme resonated beyond one activity but was identified as a general leadership skill. Personal responsibility was apparent in statement such as I was reminded of my own responsibility to serve others, my family, my community, state and nation. Reminded of the duty and opportunity each of us has to serve our God and each other. It rem in ded me how thankful I am to live in this country and for the freedoms that we enjoy (Photo Journals, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011). One of the larger subthemes in both the individual and group reflections was that of passion. Participants tended to connect presentations under the t heme of passion, identify in the speakers and describe the term. In describing how passion was aire, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011). Participants also reflected on other characteristics of leadership and identified these characteristics within others and themselves.
197 Participants identified themselves as opinion leaders in statement such a 29, 2011), and provided descriptions of others having leadership characteristics in (Photo Journals, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011). The final subtheme to emerge within the responsibility of leadership was personal growth. It was placed in the major subtheme of responsibility of leadership because of how par ticipants reflected on how they saw themselves change and how they were obligated to improvement in the future. Personal growth was mainly was tough and somewhat unco The second theme within group reflection was leader characteristics which, very similar to the individual theme of responsibility of le adership, included passion, self identification of leadership, opinion leadership, decision making, responsibility and adaptability. In discussing passion, participants reflected on their own passion and the passion of others as displayed in statement suc our own industry is equal to if not surpassed by the passion that somebody else has August 9, 2012). Similar to individual reflection pa rticipants also noted the importance of self identification as a leader and opinion leadership. Participants noted that they learned
198 how to be an opinion leader and that as a result of this program, their opinion is important. This was evident in partici pants stating There are a lot of things I do or that I like that may be very visible. But there are a lot of times that I am not really sure in what I say. And when we were in [congressman] office, it made me realize we are valuable and I need to remin d myself of that and the things that I do or the contributions I made are valuable (Group Reflection, Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 27, 2011). Within this theme, participants also addressed the characteristics of decision making and the i mportance of involvement, responsibility within the contexts of the industry and program, and the ability to adapt to different situations. Adaptability was discussed mostly in the international seminar reflection. Finally, the remaining theme within grou p reflection was personal growth. This was the first theme to emerge within the group reflections as personal growth as a result reflection, the program administrator ask ed the group about their feelings upon getting accepted to the program and how those feelings had changed over the course of a few days. This category included subthemes of participants emerging from comfort zones, coping with challenges, continued growth through involvement, gaining knowledge and anticipation of future programming. Personal growth was often gauged in retrospect as learned along the way to grow personally a Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012). Personal growth was also acknowledged in activities outside of the program as indicated by participants acknowledging the importance of challenging themselves t o become involved. Interestingly, this theme was also discussed with the last seminar as participant gauged
199 their growth over the last two years. This confirms the literature findings on outcomes of these programs in that personal growth is a consistent outcome of these programs (Diem & Nikola, 2005; Howell et al., 1979). Objective Three Levels of Reflection For the third objective, data were reflection. Findings suggested that participants reflected at four o f the six levels; introspection, content reflection, process reflection and premise reflection. Within individual activities, participants reflected at the introspection, content and process levels. Within group reflection activities, participants also r eflected at the introspection, content and process levels but also reached the premise reflection level which was an indicator of critical reflection (Mezirow, 1991). Within the individual reflection using introspection, participants reflected using the pr ocesses of using others experiences to convey observations, using observations to disclose goals or wants, conveying an opinion, observation of self, and conveying the lessons learned through experiences. In reflecting on others experiences, participants reflected on communicating with others and stating what others individuals had done for them, but did not connect prior learning or past experiences to the experience being reflected upon. In disclosing goals and wants, participants described the experien ce and desire to share with others, but did connect or compare the present knowledge to past experiences. For example, in reflecting on his desire to show his family what he hat you (Reflection Letter, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011). Within the larger
200 conte xt of the letter how the individual felt was discussed but not how those feelings had developed. When conveying an opinion, one participant noted her opinions on other individuals, but did not describe or explain how those opinions evolved or what was inv olved in forming the opinion. When offering observations of themselves, or discussing lessons learned through experiences, participants used introspection most reflect mor Communication, August 9, 2012). Other short responses without detail came from the questionnaires during seminar three and seminar five which were distributed at the end of the day or as t he last activity of the seminar. Content reflection and Process reflection are considered Reflective Action by Mezirow (1991). Within individual reflection using content reflection, participants reflected using the processes of using others experiences t o convey observations, using observations to disclose goals or wants, conveying an opinion, conveying an opinion, conveying personal obligation and responsibility, observation of self, conveying the lessons learned through experiences, and reflecting on ch ange and transformation. In using others experiences to convey observations participants would use examples of others actions to reflect on what was perceived. This was most common within the reflection letters and photo journals and participants had opp ortunity to elaborate more experiences, one participant stated; That passion that [program speaker] talked about is what [business owner] has found with his winery, what [p rogram speaker] has, and is the comm on
201 thread so far. [Program speaker] of the Coast Guard, [business owner] of the [business corporation] [hospital CEO] from [hospital]to the ag teacher at [ High School ] all have optimistic outlooks and are a powerful en ergy (Reflection Letters, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011). In this statement the participant reflect ed on what they perceived, felt or act ed upon and evidence is shown that meaning wa s created on a personal level. In disclosing goal s and wants, self observations, reflecting on what was learned and in reflecting on change and transformation, participants examined what they wanted, why and how they would act upon the new knowledge. Within process reflection at the individual level, par ticipants reflected on others experiences, obligations and responsibilities, and change and transformation. Within process reflection, participants indicated the examination of how they thought, felt or act as opposed to thinking and acting upon something In these reflections participants showed the processes used to reflect and learn and implied their ability and confidence in conducting the acts of feeling, acting and perceiving. Participants used statement such as; Lastly, I guess I simply felt. I c ould write volumes of feelings associated I felt, something I rarely do in my day to day enterprises. And, quite frankly that is nice to connect and not be so analytical (Reflection Letters, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011) Within group reflection, participants utilized introspection, content, process and premise reflection to reflect. Using introspection, participants utilized the processes of learning through shared experiences, connecting multiple experiences, direct observations, and conveying future action. Statements within introspection did not indicated reflective action and lacked description on how feelings developed within the How will we
202 media , some reflective statements made, most were suggestions which did not draw back to prior experience or suggest evidence of learning or change (Mezirow, 1991). Using content reflection, participants used personal experiences, shared experiences and direct o bservations in addition to connecting multiple class experiences and conveying future action. Similar to individual reflection, participants reflected on what they perceived and examined the issue to create meaning which was indicated in statements such a s I was impressed by the 3500 growers and how they come together for product development and researching and bringing that into a private structure. Whereas in citrus we are very dependent on the university. The university does a good job but it certainl y presents its challenges trying to have that public private partnership (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 3, 2012). Within process reflection, participants used the processes of using personal experiences, learning through share d experiences, and direct observation to describe processes used to reflect and examine their performance of perceiving, thinking and acting. In using personal experiences to convey understanding, participants reflected on how they perceive and acted, whi ch was evident in statement such as hat I should have been leading them to do for themselves. And that if I truly wanted to be a leader, I needed to do less for them but enable them to do it instead ( Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011) Critical or premise reflection was only reached within group reflection. Participants used the processes of learning through shared experiences, using personal experiences and direct observation. Reflections included how individual or
203 organizations can change, indication of that change and why change took place. Some statements also offered assessments of consequences of change or reframing issues. This was evident in statements such as; And it got to the p oint where not only has Wedgworth has taught me patience for a leadership standpoint because in my prior industry, all decisions made and we've got to live with the consequences and figure out la ter and just keep going. This really allowed me to get a better understanding of sitting back and saying okay, now what is the issue, why do I need to think this got to open a b ox and make a better decision (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011) In both individual and group reflection processes that were used to achieve reflective action were numerous. Premise or critical reflection was indicated in three codes. The large array of processes used to in reflective action could indicate that reflective action and critical reflection can be achieved through multiple processes. Within individual reflection activities, higher level reflection can be at tained through reflective writing or questions can be specified to encourage participants to examine feelings and abilities and how those have developed. Within groups, facilitators can ask questions regarding the evolving of feelings and perceptions and probe to engage participants at higher levels of reflection. Constructivist Grounded Theory of the Use of Reflection within Agricultural Leadership Programs To construct a grounded theory, the researcher moved beyond detailed description of the categories and codes to synthesize the data in order to generate a theory (Charmaz, 2006) The theory presented comprises of the categories in relation to each other to help explain the processes of reflection within an agricultural le adership program. The processe s and themes were grounded in the data and through coding,
204 review and memo ing, the researcher increased abstraction to fit the focused codes from the three objectives into the theoretical codes of conceptualizing, strategy, becoming, and social interactio n. The researcher provide d examples from the data that illustrate the properties of each theoretical code. In determining the theoretical codes, the researcher used findings from each of the objectives and differentiated the findings between individual a nd group reflection. Though the second objective draws specifically on the experience of one leadership program and the themes of wh at the participants discussed, the researcher uses them to provide example of when the processes utilized (objective s one a nd three ) aid in achieving levels of critical reflection. Theoretical coding follows the focused coding process and bypasses the need for axial coding (Charmaz, 2006). These codes were introduced by Glaser and allowed he substantive codes may relate to each other as between the focused codes. Theoretical codes for this study were selected from the series of 26 coding families propose d by Glaser (1998). Codes were selected based on causes, strategy, cultural assumptions, theoretical assumptions, basic psychological processes, and representation. The four theoretical codes utilized were; conceptualizing, strategy, becoming, and social interaction. Each code was explained by providing the researchers definition of the code, its properties, and evidence within the data. Codes were interconnected as the researcher found that data could fit in multiple codes. The model proposed (Figures 5 1 and 5 2) displays concepts in a sequential order, but as data could be related to multiple codes, overlap occurred. The processes of reflection in action and reflection on action were
205 used interchangeably throughout program processes and themes, therefo re, are used throughout each of the four themes. By encouraging participants to reflect within situations, actions and courses can be altered to change outcomes. However, there is also benefit to learn lessons in retrospect. Therefore, both processes ar e seen as valuable and can be used in the reflection process throughout the four theoretical codes. Distinguishing traits or processes between individual and group processes were discussed and finally, the researcher provided recommendations to achieve r eflective action or critical reflection using these processes. Core Concept Conceptualizing The first pattern indicated in the transcript data was conceptualizing. understanding of concepts and issues gained with in the program. Participants recognized the need to learn about issues and themselves. Properties of the theoretical code included increased understanding of others and of self, changing perceptions and learning from locations in programming. As partici pants increased their understanding, they conveyed how they learned or understood new concepts and reported changes in their mindsets. When a participant visited the Rotunda of the National Capitol, he used others experiences to reflect on his own feeling s. As the participant reflected in action, he drew on the past, to understanding what was needed to face challenges today. In this, those needs and reality were an individual experience (Merriam & Caffarella, 1999) As I stood there, I thought about great individuals like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan. I thought even with the challenges we face today, our country is still one of the greatest and stands for good (Photo Journal, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011).
206 Reflections on increased understanding at the group level displayed both elements of constructivism and social constructionism. As a result of programming, learning new businesses and industry, one program participant disclosed how hi s thinking had changed because of the program. Understanding was further increased by his own actions to be more open. The reflection, though shared in a group shows elements of constructivism (Crotty, 2010). Social constructionism is displayed within c ontext as global mindset may have correlated with discussions in prior seminars about understanding others and their communities. Prior to getting involved in the program, I know I was very myopic in my thinking. You know, I was very focused in what my co re business was all about and how we need to become better in our own businesses. And this has really allowed me to have a more global mindset (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012). The following reflection also shows elements of social constructionism of meaning based on Seminar Two when a program speaker addressed the importance of understanding others. In his presentation, the presenter noted that most individuals are coming from what they believe to be right. The of the lesson. issue, because there is always one and the people on the other side are not there, they are not generally out to get you. They ar e fighting for what they believe is right (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011). Within the theoretical code of conceptualization, data showed participants changing or building upon previously held perceptions. This could be through strengthening perceptions by applying them to a given situation or by the ability to relate one issue to another. When using the process of conveying an opinion on the individual level, participants confirmed a belief by applying it to a given situation. The following
207 observation gives an example of how this participant came to understanding further what she observed in the moment and also how her beliefs could apply to the situation. In this, the participant reflected back on initial impress ions that were able to be applied to the present experience (Doolittle & Camp, 1999; Roberts, 2006). When I took this photo in the Capitol, it reminded me of all the history and conflict the United States has gone through since its inception. Many people t absolutely no understanding of the thoughts of those leaders that actually make the basis of our government so great (Photo Journals, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011). W ithin group reflections, participants also reported changing perceptions in that previous impressions were changed. In the following reflection, the participant offered his own perspective on the international experience and not only how impressions had c hanged but also how he could relate to something. I think for me, I was really surprised how close this economy and all of to be like all your typical French people walking arou nd. This was my person, but not very many. So it was really surprising to me how welcoming they are an d how very close they are to us and to everything they want to do (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 3, 2012). Participants were also able to gain understanding through lessons learned from different seminar locations. As indicat ed in the previous statement, participants gained understanding of a location an d culture through the international travel experience. However, earlier in the program, participants observed differences and lessons from another location very different from their own homes. Seminar Two provided participants the opportunity to travel to Miami and experience and gain an impression of the economic drivers of the county including education, healthcare, transportation, and
208 trade. In the seminar, participants we re also able to experience local culture. It was no t only that the culture was different from their communities, but also the culture of an urban community. There are so many stereotypes associated with Miami and the exposure WLIANR gave me really opened my eyes to the diversity and how they all mesh together to make for a very interesting city. We all tend to get wrapped up in our own little worlds of work, personal life and interests. This trip to Miami made me realize how important it is to continual ly expose myself to new people, interests and places near and far, never passing judgment, but rather to appreciate the differences and the impact they have in the bigger picture (Reflection Letter, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011). Toward the en d of the two year program, participants experienced different largest agriculture and food markets located outside of Paris, participants reflected on what they saw and how it compared to their previous knowledge. During the seminar reflection, participants reflected on the differences between the food systems of Europe and those in the United States. It appeared that the comparisons aided participants in gaining un derstanding of both systems. At this point in the reflection, as opposed to participants speaking one time, several participants engaged in a back and forth conversation. In that, knowledge was built through each participant contributing observations bas ed on their own background (constructivism). Participants reflected on the differences found in the marketing food products the way we package these goods and how we sell them. What we saw today was beautifully packaged restaurants, individua participants offered about shipping, regulation and food safety. Within the conversation, other class participants gaine d understanding in food concerns within both countries. The
209 conversation was concluded with one participant observing that practices may look good on the surface, but through examination of the whole picture, impressions can change. Because you know, at t he 30,000 foot level of everything, we can all agree we learned of compromise and conflict resolut ion are important. The devil is all right here in trying to figure out and so dialog and exchange is a necessary part (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 4, 2012). The current study and the theoretical code connect to previous lit erature within agricultural leadership programs. Within these programs ; under standing and conceptualizing were identified as key outcomes. In their inception, programs aimed to give perspective of the world, and increase understanding of economic, politi cal, and social issues confronting society (Miller, 1976). Research indicates that these programs raise issue awareness and understanding ( Abington Cooper, 2005; Carter & Rudd, 2000) and can increase awareness of issues by participants (Cart er & Rudd, 200 0; Earnest, 1996). Core Concept Strategy Strategy consists of the processes used to reflect in addition to the skill development acquired from the program. Agricultural leadership programs offer information on issues to increase understanding, but progra ms also provide their participants skill development. Programs provide a strong connection between conceptualization (understanding) and strategy (skill). For example, within the media training participants were able to learn characteristics of media bu t also participate in mock interviews to develop skills. This was indicated in statements such as was a great experience and felt like it gave me a good idea of what to expect and how
210 to prepare for such an experience (Media Training, Semin ar Eight, Personal communication, February 23, 2012). Properties of the strategy code include leadership skill development, and the processes of reflecting. In their reflections participants reported on the benefits of gaining skill such as media trainin g. Participants found this training useful as it would aid in developing skills that could be applied to real life issues (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2005). In discussing skill developm ent on participant reported, correctly it can be a benefit to our industry. [It will] help us get our voices out in a February 22, 2012). A nother participant stated that, (Media Training Questionnaire, Seminar Eight, February 22, 2012). Other skills gained as a result of the program included conflict resolution, problem solving, preparation and reflection. Participants reported that they tend to reflect on daily interactions and issues more as a result of the program. One participant stated reflection. I evaluate decisions idual Reflection, Final Evaluation, Personal Communication, August 9, 2013). When learning about the legislative process, participants were able to learn from local lobbyists about issues and the policy making process. They also had the opportunity to lea rn how to effectively convey their message to policy makers through strategy. presence in Tallahassee and in DC so that we are more effective in getting the truth
211 across to our legislatur 2011). Strategy was also reflected on at the group level on the subject of decision making. When reflecting on changes personal changes that had occurred as a result of the program, one participant reported on his ability to examine issues more critically. In doing such, the participant reflected on the action of thinking things through in order to improve his situation (Hatton & Smith, 1995). taught me patience from a leadership standpoint. Because in my prior industry, all decision out later and just keep going. This really allowed me to get a better tter decision. I think Personal Communication, July 20, 2011). The essence of this theoretical code is the skills acquired in the program in addition to the processes program partici pants used as a strategy to reflect. Processes identified in the study as displayed in Table 5.1 can be used to reflect on program experiences. The study identified numerous processes utilized to reflect at the individual and group level. The large amou nt of processes could indicate that reflective action and critical reflection can be achieved through multiple processes. As a result of the study, the research contends that participants can reach reflective action and critical reflection though group an d individual processes by examining the issue as well as the processes in developing ones perception toward the issue. Process reflection may be a good method to utilize to achieve reflective action in that this type of reflective practice
212 allows for part icipant to focus on examining how one approaches, reflect, and perceives what is happening, as opposed to only reflecting on what happened. Table 5 1 Processes of Reflection Individual Reflection Group Reflection Using Persona l Experiences Disclosing Goals and Wants Learning through Shared Experiences Conveying an Opinion Connecting Multiple Class Experiences Personal Responsibility and Obligation Direct Observations Observation of Self Conveying Future Action Lessons Lear ned through Experience Reflection on Change and Transformation Strategies were also identified as key to leadership development within the literature. One of the original objectives of agricultural leadership programs was to competenc ies in speaking, logical inquiry, and critical thinking (Miller, 1976) Additionally, programs today are using a variety of learning processes and covering a range of topics. The theoretical code of strategy builds upon frameworks established by Hustedde and Woodward (1996) Program impacts on the individual level included increased skill development (Howell, et al ., 1979), increased communicati on skills (Diem & Nikola, 2005). Core Concept Becoming Becoming is the theoretical code used to describe the re flection by participants on self identifying and developing as a leader in order to assume future roles. Becoming was indicated in statements such as get outside my specific business or expertise. I am not a very good public speaker. I am going to get better at
213 Properties of this code include obligation and responsibility, pe rsonal growth, passion and opinion leadership. Personal responsibility was never addressed in programming but the large amount of data in this code indicates it was of strong value to participants. There was no indication of differences in the perception of responsibility within individual or group reflections so the value of responsibility was socially constructed as this knowledge was a product of the culture. R esponsibility was also viewed as a leadership trait, therefore, held importance to future in dustry leaders. However it is indicated through statements, that its personal meaning is evidence of social constructivism (Doolittle & Camp, 1999). For example, when reflecting on her experience at the Community Partnership for the Homeless in Miami, one participant was obligated to do something in her own community. The value of the experience at the homeless shelter was socially constructed, but as to what could be done at the local level or application of the lesson was an individualisti c activity (constructivism) (Crotty, 2010). This participant reflected, we can contribute to, something that will make our community a better place for our kids and others 29, 2011). Within group reflections, the social construction of the value of responsibility was also addressed. Within the final reflection, when asked why they would remain inv olved in the program, some participants noted the obligation to stay involved. The program had been seen as a gift and it was their responsibility to continue the program for others
214 to benefit. This idea was first introduced within Seminar Three by an al umni member. When participants discussed the program and involvement throughout the two years, though the speaker was not directly acknowledged, his message was evident in the reflection. Why I plan on being involved, I kind of do it as others have said. Its we have a child we have a responsibility to teach that child and bring them kind of where we are now. We are now given the responsibility now of pushing it forward to those that the way, both in Tallahassee and DC and even at the cemeteries, it really hit me hard that a lot of folks have done lots of things in their lives to let us, let me, be where I am today. And so it is my duty to do the same (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012). In reflecting on personal growth, participants reported how they saw themselves change as a result of experiences and how they could foresee improvement in the future. This was mainly addressed within the media training portion of Seminar Eight. This experience gave participants the opportunity to learn how to better prepare as a result of the experience Several participants reflected on how the practice got them out of their comfort zone. In reflecting how he felt about the experience, one participant drew back on previous shared experiences within the program. Lessons learned in this situation were individually constructed as participants had different experiences. I was still anxious after. It was as nerve racking as I thought it would be. But I guess I did realize, like jumping off a telephone pole that the first is the most challenging and then with practice I could improve and be less nervous (Media Training, Seminar Eight, Personal Communication, February 22, 2012).
215 Within the group setting personal growth was addressed in retrospect. Individuals tended to look back on program experiences to r eport change and acknowledge continued growth throughout the proce ss. At the conclusion of the t w o year program, as participants were asked why they would stay involved, participants acknowledged that the program had helped them grow personally and profes sionally. In the final reflection, participants acknowledged that the program was just the first step in the process of personal growth As one takes the second step, they would continue to grow in skill, development and within the network. P ersonal gro wth was also earlier in the two years as well. Not only would it be of benefit to them, but also a be nefit to others, program or if I am talking to someone about the program, someo to be in Class IX, I would say do the program for personal development (Group Reflection, Seminar Eight, Personal Communication, February 22, 2012). Participants also acknowledged that as individuals get stronger, the unit would g et stronger as well. This indicated a shared meaning and value of not only personal program] makes you stronger as a person and I guess the big benefit is it makes agricu lture stronger as a community. The more we go out and do, the stronger that Passion was observed in program speakers and identified as a key leadership quality. Passion w as first addressed by a speaker in the second seminar. For the reaming programming, it was addressed in both individual and group reflections. The value of passion as a part of becoming a leader was shared among the class and
216 socially constructed. In th e individual reflections, participants observed that a key to great leadership is being passionate about what you are doing (Reflection Letter, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011). In defining a leader a nd key leadership qualities in Seminar Three a participant stated ; passionate about their work. They are also well informed about not only there area of expertise, but also things relevant or contrary to their area. Similar to passion, they are commit ted to their cause. There is no 80%, only 100% committed (Seminar Three Questionnaire, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011). Within the group reflections, passion was more applied and not just seen as an abstract quality. Participants noted sion we have for our own industry is equal (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012). Passion was also reported as something that drove people t others and her own passion for her industry, another person noted the shared value within the group. I actually presented this weekend at t he small farms conference which is not always friends of the [State Agricultural Organization] and I had a small really taken away (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, P ersonal Communication, July 20 2011). Opinion Leadership was a concept that was introduced to the participants in the first seminar. This code indicates that programming is useful, applied and aids participants in identifying as a leader for future service. The meaning and value of opinion leadership was socially constructed within the program as it was a new concept
217 to the p articipants at the beginning of the program. Once opinion leadership was recognized, participants we surprised that they were identified as opinion leaders which was indicated by the knowledge and current involvement in the industry (Windham, 2009) Refl ections indicated that participants saw themselves as opinion leaders outside the program and the concept was no longer abstract but applied. In reflecting on sessions one and two, there are a few things that have really hit home with me. In session one is was learning or should I say realizing that I too am an opinion leader. I always knew you were, but I Communication, January 29, 2011). Within the group reflections, it was not onl y the identification of opinion leadership but how contributions could be made. This was indicated in statements such I never thought that I had influenced enough people, especially on things that I am not 100% comfortable on. I am not a farmer, I am not a grower, and I am not necessarily on that side of what I would consider agriculture (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal communication, July 20, 2011). Another individual stated; I need to realize the things that I do or the contributions that I make are valuable (Group Reflection, Seminar Six, Personal Communication, September 27, 2011). The act of becoming is internal and individual to the participant, as adopting the characteristics of responsibility, passion, c ontinued personal growth and opinion leadership are personal decisions. However, the expectation to become better leaders and adopt the characteristics is socially constructed. For example, in the statement, the value of responsibility was socially constructed as the knowledge about the homeless shelter and serving communities was
218 a product of culture, but as stated in participants reflections, the application was an individualistic activity (Crotty, 2010). Pa ssion was learned by example and participants strived to adopt the behavior However, in later seminars, participants began to identify the characteristics within themselves importance of passion was socially constructed among the group but how to show display that passion outside of the culture of the group was a product of constructivism. As with passio n, opinion leadership placed an obligation for participants to become leaders because of the associated identity, but to become that leader was still something internal and personal. Once that identity is established, participants recognize what they can do in the role of leadership, and can apply the conspectus and strategies they have learned to become a leader in various environments. The conceptual understanding behind the theme of Becoming was also a core concept identified within agricultural leaders hip literature. In agricultural leadership programs, adult leaders study issues facing their industries [conceptualizing] and prepare themselves for leadership roles (Diem &Nikola, 2005). One of the main objectives of these programs is to establish effect ive leadership for the agricultural industries and local commun ities (Mathews & Carter, 2008) by developing leaders through issue awareness, the development of skills and increased confidence to become involved in leadership roles (Diem & Nikola, 2005; How ell, et al 1979) Core Concept Social Interaction Social Interaction was the fourth theoretical code to emerge from the data.
219 within this theoretical code. The cod e is used to describe reflection by participants on interacting with others and relationships. Relationships were the largest code in both individual and group reflection and many processes dealt with interacting with others or learning from others. The importance of social interaction was indicated in statements Communication, Sept ember 29, 2011). Another statement that represented the importance of social interaction was; It takes several working parts, minds and people to make a masterpiece. No one person can do it on their own. We are outnumbered in voices and votes; however, we must reach out to our friends, neighbors and the general public to gain continued support for our food and fiber (Photo Journals, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011). Properties of the code included; the importance of relationships at class, pro gram and industry levels; advocacy; and recognizing and understanding differences and similarities among groups. The class was an important network to all 30 individuals enrolled in the program as indicated by both individual and group reflections througho ut the two years. The team came together at the beginning through team building exercises, and through working together through workshops, scenarios and new material. During Seminar a result of working together to serve dinner at the homeless shelter. During Seminar Six evidence of deep connects were apparent in their reflections as the team came together to fill the absence of one program administrator and through multiple medical c oncerns of [working together] was evident through the ability of our class to really come together on
220 this trip. I am blessed to be part of a group that comes together and will always look to Participants also alluded to the strength of the class network because of the network of We are leaders with strong personalities that presum ably would clash and yet we respect our differences, and I would even say, embrace them (Photo Journals, Personal Communication, September 29, 2011). In the following statement, a participant noted how relationships were more important and enduring than t he issues the class was facing. Though the importance of class, this participant recognized that working together in the group was important and transcended other pri orities. To forecast, I will not likely remember the view of the hotel in DC, or a speakers name from a tour. But I promise you that each and every one of my classmates, our coordinators and the collective shared feelings in this experience will forever b e engrained in my mind and heart. In other words, water is important, but we will likely resolve our issues. Immigration is equally important, but again, we will likely come to a sensible solution if we do our j o b well. But the relationships we foster a long the way addressing these issues and all the new issues not yet on the radar screen are not interim. My feelings about my classmates and the privilege to share this experience will forever live with me. The issues may change, but the relationships, h opefully, will not (Photo J ournals, Seminar Six, Personal C ommunication, September 29, 2011). Within group reflection, participants also reflected upon the class network as both friendship and an advocacy network. The class brought value to the experience for many individuals. However, in the final reflection, one participant stated the uniqueness of the class network, recognizing the value of shared knowledge and the opportunities for future knowledge building (conceptualization) and leadership developme nt (becoming) as a result of social interaction among the group.
221 Several people have already mentioned the network and obviously that network is very important, but I think it takes this network of 30 individuals to hold to that level, because we have so m any different experiences, we grown up together, you are buddies. You just have this experience; it takes this relationship to a whole new level. With that being said, I think so man y these relationships and how thick they are, you are already allowed to look beyond just your own backyard to become a better opinion leader for you state, community, nation, etcet era. So definitely, we realize we need to build these relationships (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ). This shared knowledge and the shared value that was developed over the two years is evidence of social constru ctionism. This contrast with the individual reflection in that there is more focus on the social aspect than individual cognitive processes (Crotty, 2010). Socio cultural dynamics are also drawn into the statement (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000) by the mention of opinion leadership and the importance of their future The self imposed obligation and motivation to stay involved in the program was a soci ally constructed priority, first by the class but also by the program culture itself. Participants viewed being part of the program as a privilege as membership was based on nomination and selection. Alumni members conveyed the honor, obligation and exc itement about being part of the program network during va rious program activities. T he challenge regarding identifying and being a viable member came in Seminar Three upon w ithin reflection. challenge to us; honor the family name. And so what will we do? What will I do? What will we do to honor the family name? (Group Reflection, Seminar Eight, Perso nal Communication, February 22, 2012).
222 Obligation to serve the program was also brought up during the final reflection as a response to involvement. The meaning and value of the program had again been shared as a class, but then became part of a larger gr oup, the alumni network. The two definitions of the importance of the program merged as the program value merged with emotions of the experience (Crotty, 2010). In order for my grove to give me the things I need, to be successful and that type of thing, I need to take care of it. And so in order for Wedgworth to continue to keep benefiting our industry, I need to try to take care of it. And so it is that when you have such a wonderful asset, in order for that asset to continue to be that wonderful, you h ave to take care of it and nurture it and program (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012). The importance of the network also expanded to the i ndustry. Industry became defined on a much larger scale as encompassing all agriculture and natural resource production, business, advocacy groups and others. Though not all members within the class came from a common background, they all identified with being part of the industry. In doing so, they felt need to serve the industry at large and remove the tendency to focus on their own industry. Use my new connections to help promote the industry this will be though aligning with other groups for a commo n goal (i. e. forage, seed, dairy association, all use the seed business) and provide information back to our company that may affect how we do business in Florida (Seminar Three Questionnaire, Seminar Three, Personal Communication, March 24, 2011). The pr ogram also encouraged participants to learn about other industries. This was done through seminar briefings as well as though interaction among class members and the alumni network. Through this interaction, participants were able to learn more about the industry and how decisions or priorities in one area affected another segment of the industry.
223 th an I need to be educated in all of agriculture now and how those decisions effect all of ag instead of just citrus (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012). mprove your chances of success on an issue, you need to broaden your base of support to include Through the context of industry networks, social interaction can be tied to the theoretical code of becoming in that by building themselves as individuals, the network becomes stronger. Additionally, participants challenged each other in being involved (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012). Advocacy emerged as a role participants could play within the context of the industry. Like responsibility, agriculture advocacy was not directly addressed within the program curriculum. Speakers addressed the importance of advocacy, but it was not a formalized topic within the program. However, a shared knowledge and pas sion formed as a result of common membership in the industry and the ability to identify with one (2011) on p rogram impacts including participants educating others about agriculture and natural res ou rce issues. Experiences and the value of advocacy were also built upon within programming as participants visited urban communities. Advocacy first surfaced in the reflection when program speakers in Seminar Two admitted to know ing little about the indus try in statements such as, This became shared knowledge and the necessity to
224 advocate for the industry became shared as well. As mentioned earlier, participants of advocacy for the industry. This shared value was indicated in both individual and group reflections. We need to increase our presence in Tallahassee and in DC s o that we are more effective in getting the truth a cross to our legislature. Think of the impact an ag leader from Florida could have on an ag committee member who is from across the country. By being visible and valuable for the industry, we could tell our story and have a changing impact on those members who are not affected by decisions but are crucial to the vote. We can be a voice and we can make an impact by telling our story, sharing the truth about the ag industry and reminding everyone about the lives we feed and save every day we go to work (Photo Journals, Seminar S ix, September 29, 2011). In the individual reflection, the speaker referred to the importance of everyone speaking up in the industry. This importance was socially constructed among the class on their own interpretation in isolation, but against the backdrop of shared 197). but expressed it as an obligation or each member in the room. Each of their actions would play a role in the industries future. The big take away I take is from everyth ing that we have seen, our industry needs us. They need more people like us fighting within our industry but also really educating people outside of our industry. And it think that has explored here but also what we see in our day to day life. And if we are not giving back to that, we are going to be hurt as a whole (Group Reflection, Seminar Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012 ).
225 In addition to advocacy for the industry, oth er participants talked about getting involved within their communities or volunteer with youth programs as a result of programming. This was evidence in statements such as; From this experience, I have decided to get more involved in my community. I have applied for volunteer boards, plan to join a service club in my community and have become more aware of issues and how I can help around my community (Reflection Letters, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011). Participants saw themselves as part of a larger group and part of the bigger experience, I felt like a small spoke of a much larger operating where all parts are working on their own individual goals, yet together m oving forward creating economic Social Interaction also encompassed participants recognizing similarities and differences among the group and others they met with through programming. This was most evident in the reflections for Seminar Two (Miami) and Seminar Ten (International As for the initial programming in Miami, I learned not to succumb to media stereo for a large metropolitan area, there are pockets of really great people doing wonderful things Personal Communication, January 29, 2011). Through experiencing Miami and listening to speakers, prior knowledge s tructures were changed and built upon. I also learned, or got a stronger appreciation for the inter of a city or region. All too often, I and I think society on the whole get caught up in our own little day to day minutia and activities and our segment of society and community. It was interesting to see the matrix, connections and correlations between governmental agencies, industry and seemingly is something th at no doubt will stick with me. What I do professionally and
226 personally, certainly affects others and I am equally effected by the actions of others. Reminding me to take a macro look at any given issue will certainly prove beneficial (Reflection Letters Personal Communication, January 29, 2011) Community Partnership for the Homeless. Perspectives were changed through seeing hey would have seen life from a different perspective and realized how much they have when they see families like the ones with nothing at al l but the clothes on their backs (Reflection Letters, P ersonal Communication, January 28, 2011). Within this statement, the particip ant reflects on the differences between two different groups. The differences between the two groups did not drive the interaction he reflects on as during the dinner service, this participant held conversations with the people that ate dinner that night. Through reflecting in perspectives were changed. This was also indicated in another participants observations of the same activity. Through the experience, perspectives on not only another population, but how their own lifesty les were viewed could be changed. It was very rewarding and humbling for someone like myself who comes from a great family and helps us run a well established business to be put negative connotations in my head that I have always had toward the level of people enrolled in the facility (Reflection Letter, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 28, 2011). In reflecting on that seminar later in the program, one participant reflected on what he had learned about working with and understanding others. By understanding others and then understanding ourselves, we can contribute to the end goal of good for all of society. Understanding that most are well intentioned expands the ability to work together.
227 I remember back to what [Program Speaker] said in Miami is that to remember that all people are coming from the place that they feel is right and I genuinely believe that about people. They are coming from their point of view is what they t hink is best that will get us to, you know, where we all want to be. So I think that is important (Group reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 20, 2011). During the international seminar, participants also recognized differences between t hemselves and the cultures they were immersed in. Participants pointed out differences in policy and agriculture, language barriers and business practices. But the class also discussed how some perceptions were changed as a result of the experience. In doing so, participants became more open to other cultures and recognized where their own practices could change or be improved. the previous seminars, that they are making themselves ready for the world by knowing English and all these other languages where I feel like we are gatherings that if English, they are just calling someone over [snaps fingers] and they are on it (Group Reflection, Seminar T en, Personal Communication, June 3, 2012). With that, participants reached critical or pre mise reflection in that they more importantly how members of the agricultural industr y could learn from one another. This indicated a change in knowledge structures and a reframing of the topic. The other thing is that I keep thinking about yesterday and the seed have co me to the conclusion that they have lost that battle. And so what can we learn from that in our own country related to whatever issues that about that, what they did differentl y, to c (Group Reflection, Seminar Ten, Personal Communication, June 4, 2012).
228 Social I nteraction is confirmed as a viable theoretical code by past research on agricultural leadership programs. One of the main objectives of the program is to develop leaders for service to their communities and industri es (Kaufman & Carter, 2005). Additionally, studies found outcomes of these programs include increased networking and team building skills (Carter & Rudd, 2000; Diem & Nikola, 2 005; Earnest, 1996; Whent & Leising, 1992), advocacy through participants educating others involvement in community affairs (Howell, et al 1979),and by participants interacting with their environment by encouraging others to become more involved in community issues (Earnest, 1996) Additionally, programs have given participants direct experience and interaction with environments different than their own in both dome stic and international settings (Carter & Culbertson, 2012) This results in broadened perspectives on current issues (Abington Cooper, 2005), and greater knowledge of others (Diem & Nikola, 2005) Finally, Social Interaction can be tied to the theoretica l code of Conceptualization as the interaction with speakers, fellow colleagues in the networks and members of different environments can contribute to learning and understanding. This is displayed through a reflection offered by a participant discussing how he had transformed as a result of meeting on individual. During Seminar Four, this particular program speaker addressed the hardships on his business and personal life as a result of a large disaster. The participant reflected how it had changed his view of business (Conceptualization), the importance of reflecting on an issue (Strategy) and the
229 The a ha moment came to me in the last trip in Apalachicola. It was when we were going to [Oyster Processing Oper ation].And the owner was there talking about what happened with [Company] and he started breaking down and got really, really personal and how it really affected his family and how get it and saying okay, now what is the issue? Why do I need to think this way or open a box and make a with Wedgworth (Group Reflection, Seminar Five, Personal Communication, July 2011). Relationships between Theoretical Codes The theoretical codes are interesting as isolated concepts. However, as part of a larger picture and arranged in relationship, each concept gains power. Additionally, it was evident in the data that reflections often encompassed two or more theoretical codes. For example, participants gained understanding (conceptualizing) from strategies they utilized in the program. In answer to a question, participants reflected on the value of the practice of reflection, placing the property in both conceptualizing and ice to hear what others gleaned from an experience and that what they got out of it was totally different Eleven, Personal Communication, August 9, 2012). Another tie between strategy and conceptualization was provided by another participant processing his experiences. Lastly, I guess I simply felt. I would write volumes of feelings associated with each program. The young coast guard specialists made me nearly tear w ith pride as they described plainly and matter of factly how they felt, something I rarely do in my day to day enterprises. And quite frankly, that is nice to connect and not be so analytical (Reflection Letters, Seminar Two, Personal Communication, January 29, 2011).
230 Becoming could also be tied to social interaction in networks playing a role in identity development. Through increased involvement, participants were forming a networ k at the same time coming into the roles of leadership. into filling out an application to be a b oard member. So I am not meeting on how networking works (Group Reflection, Seminar Nine, Personal Communication, April 18, 2012). As p articipants move through the four theoretical co des, they begin by conceptualizing material learning in the program. This can be similar to the initial experience within the experiential learning process (Roberts, 2006). Participants reflect through the series of processes found in strategy. In this, concepts learned can be built upon by using strategies of reflection, skills taught in programs or processes used to reflect. Additionally, though becoming, participants gain leadership skills within the program setting that can later be applied in futur e leadership roles. As understanding is increased, skills are developed, and the leadership program progresses through the two year experience, participants begin to identify as a leader within their industry and community which is evident in the code of becoming. Finally, leadership becomes contextualized and practiced by applying skills and knowledge to problems and environments. Contexts can include personal, work, industry or those environments in which one interacts. As the last stage of experiential learning is to apply information, identity or abilities into context. Effective leadership within an environment requires a leader to understand the environment and the people of interest. Critical reflection can be achieved by examining issues in context, reframing problems and acknowledging
231 change. In acknowledging change, the participant can question assumptions, approach problems differently, and assess their ow n change and growth in understanding. This cycle is displayed in Figure 5 1. Figure 5 1 Theoretical Codes for t he Use of Reflection within an A gricultural Leadership Program Theory Conceptual modeling was used to display the processes of reflection wit hin an agricultural leadership program, which displays the process utilizing the four theoretical codes of conceptualizing, strategy, becoming, and social interaction. There is mutual support among the terms grounded in the data and confirmed in previous literature. The properties and literature allow the four theoretical codes to fit together within the contexts of individual and group reflection, agricultural leadership programs using the experiential learning framework and within a given context such a s industry. The theory of reflection within an agricultural leadership program is displayed in Figure 5 2. The model starts out by assuming that participants are enrolled in the program, therefore understand the objectives of the program. Participants ar e open to learning Conceptualizing Strategy Becoming Social Interaction
232 and levels of disclosures. The model also assumes that participants hold knowledge as a result of prior experience and program experiences. Individuals participate in both individual and group reflections. The first step of reflection within the process within an agricultural leadership program focuses on understanding adult learners focus on problem solving Within the step of conceptualization, participants try to gain understanding of concepts taught in the program. Participants re flect on the content of the program to gain this understanding. Strategy provides allowance for reflections focused on skills and processes but also how to utilize those processes of reflection. The Becoming stage recognizes as leaders gain knowledge an d skill, it becomes a matter of answering the As participants identify as leaders, they will perform the roles of leadership in a given situation. From there, the proble m (or what is b eing reflected upon ) can be placed into a context, which is described by s ocial interaction. Social interaction includes acknowledgment of social values and an awareness settings and context Participants reflect on how what they understa nd, how to perform the skills and their identity interacts with a given context; be it relationships, organizations, or industry. This is displayed in the relationships between codes in Figure 5 1. This relationship makes up the core of the theory as dis played in Figure 5 2. Each concept can overlap and relate to one another. However in moving through the four steps, one can reach critical reflection by identifying a problem (content reflection), finding a way to think about it and the skills to solve it (process reflection), identify their place within the problem and understand the given context (premise
233 reflection) (Mezirow, 199 1 ) Reflection in Action and Reflection On Acti on can play a role in encouraging participants to reflect during the action or experience and also be able continue to learn from past experiences Reflection within an agricultural leadership program can be most effective by administrators laying out the groundwork and preparing participants before they f ormally reflect. Opportunit ies should be available for participants to reflect within group and individual settings as some concept observations emerge within each setting. This makes up the primary environment for reflection and application of the four theoretical codes. Additio nally, understanding can be increased through social constructionism and which can then be translated into individual knowledge or social constructivism (Doolittle & Camp, 1999) This also provides more understanding to the facilitator as to where individ uals are within the leadership progress. In addition to this negotiation of learning between individual and group, individual activities can play a role in gaining understanding to specific questions and providing participants to reflect on their own. Th is provides the allowance of personal feelings to incorporate into the concept of cognition which brings about transformative learning where the individual can act upon his or her feelings (Mezirow, 199 1 ). The experiential learning process (Roberts, 2006), provides structure for the processes of reflection and the learning processes within an agricultural leadership program (Strickland, 2011). Reflection should not only be encompassed by group and individual reflection activities but as part of an entire l earning experience within a specific structure.
234 Reflection provides the opportunity to enable one to make inferences, evaluate and potentially change beliefs and establish new conceptualizations ( K ember, 1999 ) within a structured environment and a context in which conceptualizations, skills, and identity can be applied within context. Context within agricultural leadership programs is encompassed as industry. The model of reflection within an agricultural leadership program is displayed within Figure 5 2. Critical refection occurs through all steps, but program facilitators can encourage reflective action and more critical reflection through asking questions and guiding discussion from increasing understanding, to discussing becoming (goals, identity devel opment) to strategies of leadership. Strategies of leadership can be achieved or laid out in the context of social interaction and social values Figure 5 2. The use of reflection within an agricultural leadership program
235 Quality Measures of Theory Cons truction Charmaz (2006) provided guidelines for evaluating grounded theory research and developed criteria of credibility, originality, resonance, and usefulness when reflecting on the research. By using these standards, the researcher can make a claim fo r the study and the theoretical codes of conceptualizing, strategies, becoming and social interaction to build the theory. Credibility. encompasses the trustworthiness of data collectio n and analysis ensuring the final presentation is understandable, logical and ties back to the data. Elements to take into number and depth of observations, compar isons between the observations and the categories of processes and themes, and the links between the data, analysis and final argument. In this study, the researcher collected data from one agricultural leadership class of 30 participants which extended o ver a two year program. Within those two years, the researcher spent time with the participants during all eleven seminars. Data from each seminar and each participant was used in the analysis. In sum, over 140 pages of data from individual and group re flections was recorded, transcribed and analyzed. Results were reported in Chapter Four within each objective, but in constructing the grounded theory, the researcher based the work on the four theoretical codes of conceptualizing, strategy, becoming and s ocial interaction. The codes came directly from the data, but could then be confirmed by prior research. In reporting the theory, the researcher reported data and analysis within results pertaining to each objective. However, data from each objective wa s then incorporated into theoretical codes and
236 was no longer cataloged as how participants reflect themes of reflection and levels or reflection. However, all objectives were addressed in each theoretical code. This was conducted through the processes of memo writing and sorting memos into the coding structure. In this process, the researcher was able to integrate the data and make inferences to where the parts began to serve the whole of one functioning core category. Inferences made were documented wit hin memos. As with beginning grounded theory studies, a weakness may lie in that additionally collected data could influence the applicability and thoroughness of the theory. Programs may differ on how reflection is utilized and as indicated in this study reflection is influenced by programming and topics discussed. With that, as research continues on reflection within agricultural leadership programs, themes and codes may change as a result of other participants reflections. Additionally, for the purpo ses of this research, only one class in one agricultural leadership program was utilized. Examining how other programs conduct reflection activities can have a role on future research within the area of study. As stated in the limitations of the study, th eoretical sampling of the purposive sample was not conducted as the study was designed after data was collected. A modified theoretical sampling was conducted in the study by the researcher sifting through the data and revisiting each reflection activity after theoretical codes began to develop. As data was collected, the researcher was concerned with collecting data to inform the study of the use of reflection within an agricultural leadership program. Participants provided rich information and in depth descriptions as they were taught early in the program how to reflect and throughout the two years were given multiple
237 opportunities to reflect at both individual and group levels. Participants in the program, and therefore the study, were selected based on common criteria, however, their experience, personal interpretations of experiences (constructivism), and demographics basis of how widely and diversely the analyst ch ose [her] groups from saturating 1967, p. 63). The development of the theoretical categories carried the weight of the analysis (Charmaz, 2006). As the theoretical cate gories emerged from the data, neither data nor 10). As with beginning grounded theory stu dies, a weakness may lie in that additionally collected data could influence the applicability and thoroughness of the theory (Charmaz, 2006). Future theoretical sampling to check and distill the theoretical categories developed in this study can continue as data from multiple populations and contexts are collected for future studies. Originality includes both the creation of new insights while providing an extension of current resea rch on reflection. It is a strength of the study that the focused and theoretical codes offer both confirmation of other research and new conceptualization of reflection within adult leadership programs. To increase abstraction necessary for theoretical c onstruction, the researcher made links between the data and theoretical codes. In addition to time in the field and
238 data collection, credibility also has to be built on through thoroughness of analysis and integration in the final product. In addition to the two years spent collecting data, the researcher also transcribed data and took time analyzing the final product. The researcher immersed herself in the data for nearly six months before constructing the theory. Resonance. The third criterion is resona nce. Resonance indicates if the theory portrays the experiences of participants, reveals implicit knowledge, links individuals to larger collectives, and makes sense to the research participants. This was achieved through revisiting data and field notes from both collection and analysis after the analysis, revisiting the purpose of the study and working closely with the program director for the agricultural leadership program studied. The program director provided insight to both the specific program and agricultural leadership programs at an international level. In that, this constructivist grounded theory study was concerned with This study is immediately relevant to both progr am administrators and participants of adult agriculture leadership programs. Additionally, the information can be applied to other adult leadership training outside of the agricultural leadership program sphere. Future program participants and emerging l eaders within the industry will also find this research relevant. Program administrators can also use it in terms of program planning, seminar structure, planning and carrying out reflection activities, identification of processes used to achieve reflectiv e action and critical reflection. Likewise it matters to program administrators that participants not only are exposed to and learn program material, but
239 also retain, understand, reinterpret, and apply the information provided. This skill, in addition to the knowledge can aid in future le adership endeavors at it was indicated by participants that reflected became a practice. Additionally, in terms of group reflection, awareness can take place in how to drive the conversation to build socially constructed meanings and allow participants the opportunity to reflect using multiple processes. Program directors can also ensure more in depth discussion by allowing ample time within the seminars to reflect. It is also recommended to hold seminar reflections thr oughout programming as opposed to a reflection activity at the end of the seminar. This will increase responses, and time and commitment devoted by both the program administrator and the participant. On the individual level, program administrators can al so ensure a level of reflective action and critical reflection is reached by asking in depth questions and allowing time for journaling and questionnaires. This study portrays the main processes of reflecting and themes of the emphasizing their conceptualization and understanding of program material and current issues, self identification as a leader, strategies in reflection and interpretation and understanding of communities or contextual values to improve interaction. Howev time and room. In developing concepts and categories, the researcher attempted to include the breadth of each and process. However, issues such as individual preferences or behavior and the influences of gender, age, and career were not explored. This provides and advantage of clarity and focus in the study, but it acknowledges that there are many future resear ch opportunities that still exist.
240 Usefulness The fourth category presented by Charmaz (2006) is usefulness which is indicated by generalizing implications for future research and practice. Creswell (2003) also proposes that theories should describe, ex plain and predict phenomena in an organized and understandable process. The theory developed served the descriptive and heuristic functions. However, the theory does not presently serve to predict outcomes. This may be a function after future use, exper imentation and refinement of the theory. The theory provides instruction and direction for program administrators to conduct reflection within their adult agricultural leadership programs and further understand the processes that are used by participants. The theory also provides a way to determine what outcomes can be expected through individual and group reflections. Additionally, it may provide definitions, indictors and practice in achieving critical reflection and ensure reflective action. This wil l allow planning on part of the administrator to reach particular outcomes within a given context. Implications Participants reflected on the same topics within individual and group reflections which were directly tied to the program curriculum. In partic ipants achieving reflective action (content, process and premise) in most of their reflections, this indicates the program experiences are to be reflected on and applied by participants. Even if participants were reflecting on personal experiences, progra m knowledge was still applied to the reflection. As a result of this study, more time was devoted to reflection for Class VIII than for past classes. Past classes reflected at the group level during each seminar, but individual reflections were exclusive to this class and this study. As such, participants were able to further understand reflection and utilize different methods of reflection
241 beyond the introduction of the concept in the first seminar and the group reflections. Group reflections were also led by program administrators and participants throughout the two years. This had not changed from years past. Differences were not found so much in quality of reflection as a result of who led the reflection, participant or program administrator Howev er, differences were found in depth and quality depending upon the questions posed to probe participants. In depth reflections emerged in the international trip (Seminar Ten) and the pre national seminar (Seminar Five). Content and process levels of refl ection were found throughout all group reflections, including those that were timed or at the end of the seminar. However, through timed reflections participants did not go into great depth and answers were planned and succinct. Within the individual refl ections it was important to note that participants were still communicating with someone outside of their own selves. Participants knew that each reflection would be used for the purposes of research and that as participants in the program, they communica ted through these mediums with program administration, the researcher, or to those whom the reflection letters addressed. Though learning was identified as constructivist in nature, it was import ant to point out that learning and meaning making took place among the backdrops of the le adership program, the expectations for participants to grow as leaders and the self identification of participants as leaders. Als o the sender and receiver shared that knowledge that they were a leader. Reality was defined as they having to address their leadership growth and potential to the researcher and that even though they were reflecting on an individual level, they were communicating with the researcher. This provides evidence of transformational dialogu e. Within social constructionism, through transformative
242 dialogue, conversations or reflections s ubmitted between two parties constitute d meaningful forms of interaction (Puig, Koro Ljungberg, & Echevarria Doan, 2008). Through the dialogue within individ engaging in continual dialogue that, layer by layer, fashions a cloth we wrap around our These exchanges could transform individuals and the negotiation of meaning led to stronger relation ships and richer communication between participants and the program. Within the research, the researcher did not aim to discuss the transformation overtime, but it is acknowledge d that as participants gained knowledge and constructed meaning on importance of becoming involved or skill development (social constructionism), transformation in the dialogue between participants among the group or participant and researcher changed over time. Additionally, the transformative dialogue that took place over time le d to stronger relationships and therefore richer communications between the two parties (Puig, Koro Ljungberg, & Echevarria Doan, 2008). On the individual level, more detail was offered within reflection journals (Reflection Letters and Photo Journals) as opposed to short answer questionnaires. This could be influenced by the time allowed for the activity as well as when the instructions for the activity were distributed and reflections were collected. For example, for both the photo journals and reflecti on letters, which were assigned early on in the program, participants had more time to complete the assignment as these reflections could also completed outside of programming. More detail was offered as some participants also used reflection in action wi thin these activities. Questionnaires were distributed at the end of the day or at the end of programming.
243 Reflection in Action aids in leadership develop in that growth is apparent because they are reporting what happened within their actions (Schon, 198 3). Participants reflected in action less than they reflected on action. In doing so, they learned more from past experiences as opposed to learning within the moment. By encouraging more reflection in action, participants can potentially change behavio rs in the midst of an experience to guide an outcome or learning opportunity (Schon, 1983) This can be achieved through preparing participants to reflect before experiences take place. When participants reflected in action at the individual level, they t ended to use others experiences to convey an observation rather than their own experiences. This did not happen at the group level or reflection in action nor did it occur when participants reflected on action, at the individual or group level. This impl ies that when participants framed their situations using the experiences of others, they were able to understand better their own obligations and responsibilities. The social construction created by others actions, which were well known by the culture, ai ded the participant in constructing his own knowledge. Additionally, the process of using others experiences to reflect occurred in the photo journaling reflection activity. Using this activity can provide participant the opportunity to understand an exp erience by examining its context Premise reflection, or critical reflection, was achieved at the group level. At this level, participants reframed problems and questioned presuppositions. This occurred mainl y within the international seminar reflection when participants compared two cultures and took the further step of applying lessons the experiences of others to their
244 own situations. Premise reflection also occurred when were also able to remove themselve s from an issue, so the problem could be redefined. Recommendations for Practice In this section, the researcher focused on practice recommendations for program administrators as they are the ones planning, facilitating, and teaching reflection to particip ants within an agricultural leadership program. To begin the practice of reflection within an agricultural leadership program, program administration should have an individual with knowledge of experiential learning, reflection and the program to introduc e the topic of reflection and guide participa nts through a reflection activity As this was done in the program studied, participants referred back to both presenters throughout the two years and indicated understanding of reflection because of this intro ducti on. Within programming, administrators should also evaluate wh ere to place reflection activities within a seminar. Common practice dictates that these activities should be held at the conclusion of a seminar in order to reflect on all seminar topics. However, to achieve more in depth reflection and encourage more interaction with ample time, administrat ors should place reflection activities throughout programming. This will allow for more time and attention given by the participants and will allow f or them to reflect on issues throughout the seminar as it encourages reflection in action. In doing so, participants can reflect during the seminar address any unresolved issues through reflection in order to understand or change course if necessary (Scho n, 1983) Additionally, social constructionism has the opportunity to occur when participants can interact in a longer reflection as opposed to just taking turns reflecting.
245 Program administrators can also offer both individual and group reflection activi ties within the programs. Administrators should plan questions out in advance to address the theoretical codes of conceptualizing, becoming, strategies, and social values and interaction. Also, ask questions that both ask them to reflect back (Reflection on Action), but also take them back to the interaction (reflection in action) to assess changes in future behavior or further understanding of t he issue being reflected upon. Reflection in Action can also be increased by administrators preparing particip ants for their experiences so they can reflect while i n the experience and report after the experience. Strategies to encourage reflection in action can include individual photo journaling, questionnaires or journaling activities asking participants to re flect on specific experiences The instructions for reflection need to include specific questions ers to gauge reflection in action. Reflection in action can also be encourage and set up through program administrators preparing participants for each experience within the program. This goes beyond providing an agenda, but also includes a discussion (v erbal or written) regarding initial impressions of what they will be doing and what they should anticipate. This can be facilitated during preflection activities where program administration can ask participant to think about what they will experience while also asking them to think about how they will interpret and later apply the information during the experience. In doing so, program administrators can encourage
246 participants to reflect in action as well as change their course of thinking during the experience (Schon, 1983) if necessary Preflection creates an opportunity for participants to reflect in action. Prefelction can also aid participants in achieving more in depth reflection during timed reflections. By preparing participants wi th the reflection question through a preflection session, participants are given more time to reflect on their own before presenting information, written or spoken. Program administrators can set up multiple opportunities to reflect throughout program semi nars. These opportunities can also take place at the individual or group level. Opportunities for reflection can take place to discuss general seminar topics or after particularly challenging or heavy programming. Opportunities can be taken in between sessions or can be prescheduled. With this, it is important to allow participants to process information on their own as well as within a group. Specific reflection questions allowed for specific codes to emerge as indicated in the questionnaires for medi a training and state legislative processes. Practitioners and researchers can further study specific codes related to leadership or the context in which participants are serving to gauge what participants perceive, think, feel and will possibly apply. As responsibility of leadership and advocacy were large codes, practitioners can have participants reflect more on these concepts by gearing reflections toward these two topics. In doing so, participants can learn more about their own perceptions of the two topics and assess how to apply the two concepts in their own lives and leadership journeys.
247 Reflection activities were moderated by either a program administrator or a participant. It was beneficial to have participants lead reflections as they gained fu rther understanding of reflection and led discussions. However, the researcher recommends that participants be taught how to facilitate reflection. This would include thinking and asking questions that may increase depth in responses, encouraging partici pants to evaluate content and processes (Mezirow, 1991), and be able to incorporate previous knowledge to new experiences thereby expanding learning structures (Roberts, 2006). Critical reflection can be achieved through planning question or by the facili tator (program administrator or participant) cont in uing to probe participants to increase depth in their responses. Recommendations for Future Research This research can provide multiple opportunities for future research. The first recommendation would b e to continue to develop the theory through further theoretical sampling of other populations. As the study has only been done with one class, outcomes and processes can be different depending on the structure of the program, topics addressed and current use of the practice of reflection. It would be of interest to the researcher to examine other leadership programs, their reflection practices and their outcomes. It would also be of interest to examine if themes of reflection have an influence on the proc esses of reflection and hence levels of reflection. Additionally, there are research opportunities in both this data set and future data collections to examining changes over a period of time in how a participant reflects at both individual and group sett ings and how their reflect practices may evolve over the course of the program.
248 Two of the larger subthemes were personal responsibility and advocacy. As neither personal responsibility nor advocacy were never directly addressed in programming, the large amount of data in codes group and individual, indicates they were of strong value to participants. Practitioners and researchers can gain much from understanding the origins of the responsibility and advocacy codes, how they developed and how they are ap lives outside of programming. Upon further examination, the theory does not have to be limited to agricultural leadership programs. This theory can be applied to adult leadership and adult learning programs using the processes of experiential learning and reflection. It can be used in programs already implementing reflection and also serve as a framework for those wanting to implement the practice. In terms of research, assessing the theo ry within different contexts can provide more data and further theoretical saturation in the use of reflection in adult learning and leadership programming to provide further connections between the practices and outcomes of adult learning (Merriam, Caffer ella & Baumgartner, 2007). As the study addressed learning strategies within a leadership program, it did not address a specific leadership framework within the construction of the study. However in examining the theoretical codes of conceptualizing, stra tegy, becoming and social interaction, the proposed theory can relat e to Authentic Leadership (Northouse, 2013). The four components of Authentic Leadership of self awareness, internalized moral perspective, balanced processing and relational transparency can related to the four proposed theory codes. Self awareness and internalized mo ral perspective can align
249 with b ecoming in that authentic leaders understand themselves and others including their impact on others strengths and weaknesses and the moral s tandards that guide their behavior. Balanced processing can align both with strategy and conceptualizing in that authentic leaders can objectively explore others view points and use strategies to objectively examine new information. Finally, authentic le aders are concerned with being transparent to others in order to facilitate genuine and open communication. This can align with the importance of reflecting on social interactions (Northouse, 2013). Additionally, research has found that an authentic lead er operates within the context that is socially constructed and in doing so authentic leaders concern themselves with their feelings and reactions displayed to others (Avol io & Gardner 2005). Future research on reflection practices within the context of authentic leadership can provide insight into how the proposed theory can connect to a specific leadership framework and its behaviors. Additionally, future research can examine how leaders that self identify with a particular framework reflect on concept s and their development as a leader within a socially constructed reality. The research presented examined one class in one leadership program. As mentioned previously, it did not examine the reflection of specific individuals or examine the traits of the individuals that participated in the study. Participants in the leadership program studied examined their own personality through assessments such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Future research on this set of data can provide information on how cer tain personality types reflected. The research can go beyond preferences for group and individual reflection methods by extraverts and introverts to examine how participants with specific personality traits reflect and the depth of reflect
250 of each persona lity type. For example, differences in structure (judgment versus perceiving) may yield different results on the processes used to reflect. Decision making may include different processes utilized between feeling and thinking tendencies. Finally, how pa rticipants process information (sensing versus intuition) may be indicated in the types of reflection and the themes that participants identify in their reflective statements. As part of the current study, parti ci pa n ts submitted journals in reaction to pho tos that were chosen from an experience. The researcher only analyzed the journal and did not analyze the photos that were selected for the activity. Several of the photos submitted for the journaling activity are provided in Appendix C. Future research can provide opportunity to expand the study of photo journaling as a method of reflection in agricultural leadership programs by examining both the journal and analyzing the photo selected. Visual images can describe what is important to individuals and can evoke emotions, abstract ideas, perceptions, self identification, and experiences (Harrison, 2002; Hodges, Keeley & Grier, 2000; White, Sasser, Borgren & Morgan, 2009). ts of human consciousness than d o word s leadership programs, c onnectin g pictures and words can provide facilitators with insight can interpretation. As mentioned in the practice recommendations, preflection can provide opportunity for participants to reflect in action and also give time for partici pants to
251 reflect before meeting as a group. In doing so, participants can self reflect and articulate what they have reflected on within the program seminar. Researchers can examine the differences in programs that use preflection activities verses those that do not also for preflection. Outcomes can be assessed in how participants reflect (reflection in action and reflection on action), themes of reflection, and the levels of critical reflection that are achieved in both settings. The current study focu sed on how participants reflected on an individual level and how they reflected amongst a group of their fellow participants. However, the study outside of the program. Many of these participants have family and community support and/ or are sponsored by companies to actively participate in these programs. Now that the research has examined how participants reflect within the program, it would be interesting to examine how leadership program participants reflect with others that do not take part in the program experience. Finally, one of the most significant findings in the present study was that of participants using others experiences when reflecting in action at the individual level. In doing so they did not refer to their own experiences as was done when reflecting in action amongst the group or reflecting on action at the group or individual level. As there were very few statements of participants reflecting in ac tion at the individual level, this finding should be reexamined in future studies. Researchers can also gain much from studying the contexts and influences in which participants use others experiences In this study, the participant reflected using other s experiences while exam ining a photo of monuments of other leaders. The influence of others reminded the individual of his
252 own responsibility. It would be interesting to research other characteristics that can be drawn from examining others experiences. Additionally, it would be beneficial to study if this phenomenon is also found within reflecting in action or if participants use others experiences while reflecting on action. Researcher Reflection In a constructionist study, a researcher is part of the dialogue (Crotty, 2010). However, as it is important that though the researcher played a role in the transformative dialogue (Puig, Koro Ljungberg, & Echevarria Doan, 2008) it is also important to give voice to the participants of the study. In this fi nal section, I articulate both my biases and observations in order to incorporate them into the reflexivity of the study (Charmaz, 2006). The research objective of examining reflection within an agricultural leadership program has been of interest to me fo r the last ten years. I was introduced to the concept of reflection while directing a leadership program in New Mexico. While I did not understand the theoretical framework behind reflection, I was always interested in how leadership program participants made information meaningful. Information became PhD work, I delved into the theoretical frameworks of adult learning, agricultural leadership programs, experienti al learning and reflection. From this, I was able to more under stand the theory behind the phen om en on of reflection. While working on this grounded theory study, I learned to examine what I observed in the data collection as not something I enjoyed as mu ch as something to
253 seriously and began making connections to theory as opposed to just observing what participants were learning. In collecting the data for the study, the questions were not guided with the intent of using theoretical sampling. The questions I did put forth were based on program experiences agricultural leadership program outcomes and the theoretical frameworks of experiential learning and reflection. I did not facilitate but two group reflections so the reflections that came out of the group context were not so much guided by theory, but they also did not incorporate any bias on my part. The strong outcomes that were observed within group reflections we re of the data and participants themselves and not by my bias or planning. In observing group reflections, I noticed several different phenomenon As mentioned in the data, several group reflections were timed and took place at the end of a program semina r. Other reflections took place at the midpoint of the seminar and allowed more time for participants to reflect and exchange dialogue. In the timed reflections, each individual was presented a question and given a specific amount of time to reflect. In longer reflections, participants were given a question but the conversation moved and transformed through discussion. Though this allowed for deeper reflection, it was also interesting to observe those individual that tended to participate more than othe rs. Program facilitators had to be conscious to allow and encourage everyone to participate. Those participants who were more introverted tended to be quieter and had to be asked to participate as opposed to those that were more extraverted tended to par ticipate in the discussion at a greater level. However, it is important to note that when the quieter participants were asked to participate, they
254 offered profound insight and appeared to participate freely. Additionally through transformative dialogue reflections that were untimed appeared to transcend into multiple topics and raise more questions as opposed to those reflections that were timed and asked one specific question. Additionally, participants in this class and past classes have noted that ref lections do not only take place during specific reflection activities. Participants stated that reflection took place while the class got together after formal activities ended and on the bus rides in between field visits. While it would have been intere sting to collect data have conversations amongst themselves and not as a formal activity. As mentioned earlier negotiation of meaning took place within group and in dividual reflections because as they were viewed as formal activities each participant was addressing the group or addressing program administration. In that, participants assumed the role of the leader addressing the construction of the reality of leader ship development in the program ( Puig, Koro Ljungberg, & Echevarria Doan, 2008) In analyzing the data for th is study, I had to separate myself as much as I could from the data To do so, I spent time apart from the data between collection and analysis to avoid letting individuals voices play a role in the analysis. By doing so, I began to see the data as one large picture and not the contributions of specific individuals. To stay true to the data and the objective of studying constructivism and social c onstructionism, I separated individual and group reflections. To avoid crossover and any bias, I chose to analyze each type of reflection separately. I began with analyzing individual reflections first and sought out how participants reflected, what they
255 reflected on and the levels of reflection within individual reflection activities. After I finished with this set of data, I took time off before analyzing the group reflections in order to not bias my findings. It was only after analyzing both did I fi nd similarities in both themes and processes of reflection. As mentioned in the findings and discussion, both advocacy and passion were two topics that were not addressed in programming but were prominent themes and processes reflected on by participants. However, upon further reflection, it can be noted that these themes are very prominent in the recruitment and selection processes for this program. Participants are identified as passionate leaders for the industry that have shown prior leadership respon sibilities and qualities. C hapter Summary Chapter Five discussed the key findings of the study, provided a constructivist theory on the use of reflection within an adult agricultural leadership program, discussed stantive theory and provided implications and recommendations for both future research and practice within agricultural leadership reflection and guidelines for program administration to implement reflection within other programs agricultural leadership program. The study provides recommendations for future research and future practice of reflection. This study proposed a constructivist grounded theory for reflection wit hin an agricultural leadership program. Though the examination of the processes of how participants reflected and the depth of reflection in addition to the themes of participants reflected upon, the resulting theory bases reflection on four theoretical c odes; conceptualizing, strategy, becoming, and social interaction.
256 APPENDIX A INDIVIDUAL REFLECTION QUESTIONNAIRES AND JOURNALING ACTIVITIES Seminar Two As part of the reflection process, please compose a letter detailing your experiences in the Wedgwort h Leadership Institute up to this point. This letter can be addressed to a friend, family member, or to someone with an interest or stake in your participation in the program. The purpose of this letter is to reflect within writing. Thank back to what y ou have experienced or seen so far. What did you learn from this experience? How did you feel about what you saw? How will you apply the information presented?
257 Seminar Three Class VIII Seminar Three March 21 24, 2011 Reflection Questionnaire 1. What ab out the legislative process has changed your impressions of Tallahassee? 2. What happened during Seminar III that contradicted or confirmed prior beliefs about the legislative process? 3. Describe how you can be involved in the policy making process. Which sources of information have helped your understanding of policy making? 4. How can you use what you have learned during Seminar III to support your industry? 5. How do issues such as immigration and water effect Florida specifically? 6. Think about the shadowing process and the different leaders you met. How were they effective in representing their industry? What can be learned about being effective in this arena from observing others in the policy making process?
258 7. What are the conseque nces of the proposed merger of the Departments of Consumer Affairs, Environmental Protection and Transportation? What do you believe some of the effects will be on the department structure and the people that work for each department? With the conclusion s you draw, how can these concepts be applied to your personal lives and business? 8. How will you utilize the contacts you have made during Seminar III? 9. After observing people in Tallahassee, and after learning about different leadership styles, what types of leadership styles do you feel are most effective in the legislative process? 10. After meeting with leaders in Gainesville, Miami, and Tallahassee, do you recognize any patterns in the types of leadership you have seen? *Question Seven was not utilized in the data analysis
259 Seminar Six Photo Journaling Exercise Photos can stimulate emotions, memory, imagination, and communication, not to mention reflection for the photographer or viewer. Photos and their accompanied discussion, known as photo language, facilitate concrete expressions of feelings, embedded assumptions, realities, memories, aspirations and ideas. During your experience on the WLI national trip, please take or select a photo that helps describe a moment or lesson learned during the experience. Once your photo is chosen, provide a short reflection (one half to one page typed or hand written) describing the experience and reflection or reaction the photo evokes. Why did you choose this photo? How does this photo describe what you learned during the experience? What does the photo suggest about your thoughts, values or assumptions? Please submit the photo and write up during or within one week following the national trip. You can provide this in hard copy or digital copy.
260 Seminar Eight Media Training Reflection Questionnaire 1. What has been your experience with working with media in the past? 2. Knowing this would be part of Seminar VIII, how did you prepare for media training? 3. Once finished with the exercise, did any thoughts, feelings or perceptions change? If so, how? Why? 4. What did you like or dislike about the experience? Why? 5. What are the take aways from this exercise? What will you remember and how will you explain what you learned to others? 6. How do you plan to use what you learned in the media training to address the needs of your community?
261 Seminar Eleven Final Evaluation Describe three ways your use of reflection has changed because of your WLIANR experience.
262 APPENDIX B GROUP REFLECTION PROMPT S Seminar One How did you feel when you got to the seminar? Did anything change when you got to the seminar? What are some major things you have learned in the program? Seminar Four For this area, Apalachicola, the oil spill was a game changer. What wo uld you do if there was a game changer in your industry or business? Seminar Five What have you learned in the program to make you a better opinion leader? What are some of the points of views you might not have agreed with or seen from a different point of view? Seminar Six Pick one of the following quotes and elaborate on it. Seminar Eight You have come through eight seminars. We have had a lot of experiences. And this you could share with us your message about your personal leadership experience. Seminar Nine What are you going to do to m ake sure that we do not have 10% of the class go away. How do you plan to stay involved in the program? Seminar Ten What do you think so far? Seminar Eleven Why will you stay involved in the program?
263 APPENDIX C PHOTO JOURNAL EXAMPLE S Photo Courtes y of Class Participant Photo Courtesy of Class Particpant
264 Photo Courtesy of Class Participant Photo Courtesy of Class Participant
26 5 APPENDIX D SAMPLE OF CODED TEXT Group Reflection Seminar Ten Reflection Question: So what do you all think so far ? Text Initial Codes Focused Codes Participant 1 Well a couple of things, first of all, little scary even though we found out that people are willing to help and do whatever they can to understand you, and you can get around The other thing is that I keep thinking about yesterday and the seed company when they wer well have come to the conclusion that they have lost that battle. And so what can we learn from that in our own country related to whatever that, what they did differently, to change that Participant 2 I think that people helping us our like the tour guides and our bus drivers what they are doing for us and their own personal lives. Hearing [B motorcyclist tour guide in Thailand. I mean just so many different chapters in that life and every time he said something it wa s just like wow. He started out as a bus driver and ended up as somebody that is just amazing. Participant 3 been able to disconnect from our life as easy as we could. I m ean in our local seminars, I mean Bei ng outside of a comfort zone Dealing with Challenges Learning from others Advocacy Communication Understanding backgrounds, others Adapting to situations Increasing understanding Value in Understanding Value in Understanding Application of what has been learned Shared Experi ences Value in Understanding Leader Characteristics Value in Understanding
266 really surprised, you know, I called work got it taken care of, quit calling You know, I the other aspect, just, you know the same problems we deal with here or in the US are the Participant 4 I think yesterday, the a ha moment or the feeling that we are all connected and that this is connected to our other trips was the world. And that took me right back to New Mexico when [Legislator] said of the a has because it shows that its connected and connected all this together. This is why we are in this program; this is why we are here. Participant 5 Mine was Monday, talking with [ speaker] and [speaker] and with the assistance regional perspective. Everything they do is with Asia, Europe and the United States. Their region is 10s of thousands of miles. And we yet. So it was pretty impressive. Participant 6 Speaking of [Seed Company]. I guess it was Monday we went to [Seed Plant] and the US are probably a lot more alike than we think. When GMOs came up, [classmate] s a contentious issue here. Because of the food safety programs and the fresh fruit and I was surprised that they were interested in potentially using that as a tool in orange production. Participant 7 I think for me I was really surprised how close thi s economy is and all of amazing, I thought it was going to be like all your typical French people walking around/ this Humility Finding Commonalities Reflection In Actio n Connecting Multiple Class Experiences The bigger picture WLI Network Differences between two Finding Commonalities Surprises Different practices Dispelling myths Perceptions Leader Characteristics Value in Understanding Connecting Multiple Class Experiences Value in Understanding Value in Understanding Value in Understanding Value in Understanding
267 was my mentality, and I was totally shocked sitor typical French person, but not very many. So it was really surprising to me how welcoming they are and how very close they are to us and to everything they want to do. Participant 8 I really apprecia ted the tip we received from the French alumnus that you should greet people when you go in [people saying yes to confirm] and that came to me today when I was walking in these shops. It goes a long way to acknowledge that person, and I think with most of us are from the south and we sort of pride ourselves on appreciate that. Participant 9 of things for me. The first thing the realization of how simple it is to not have ice. How much I miss ice. I know that sounds really small but me ice this morning and [classmate] got me ice things m ore comfortable for me, and I feel a little bit out of my comfort zone, but that, if you merge that into what [classmate] just said, its all of us taking care of each other on this trip. That we may be in and out of our comfort zones but we all try to put each other back into our comfort zones. And then you take the alumni who give a little tidbit of information here. Everybody in this organization is taking care of each other. So, like I said, it started out small, but it says about us as a whole. Finding commonalities Building a relationship Unders tanding a culture Appreciating a culture Getting out of a comfort zone Relationships within the class Personal Growth Program network Relationships and Networking Value in Understanding Leader Characteristics Relationships and Networking Personal Growth Relationships and Networking
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281 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Avery Culbertson received her B.S. and M. A. from New Mexico State University. She was the Director for th e New Mexico Agricultural Leadership Program until 2010, when she began her Ph. D. in Agricultural Leadership at the U niversity of F lorida While working on her Ph. D. she worked for the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources. Her research focuses on experiential learning and reflection within adult leadership programming.