AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION METHODS

In this unit you are going to learn about the variousagricultural extension teaching methods. As we all know, teaching is theimparting of information and extension teaching guides the learning process sothat the farmer learns more and better.

Agricultural extension teachingmethods is going to be discussed under three subheadings namely:

  1. Individualmethods
  2. Group methodsand
  3. Mass methods.

The objectives below specify what you are expected tohave learnt after studying this post. After studying this post, you should beable to:

·write briefly on the individualmethods

·discuss clearly the group methods

·identify the mass methods.

Extension Teaching Methods

Extension teaching methods may be defined as devicesused to create situations in which new information can pass freely between theextension worker and the farming communities. It is the function of theextension worker to use the extension methods which provide opportunities forrural people to learn and which stimulate mental and physical activities amongthe people. For extension workers to be successful they must be proficient intechnical knowledge and educational process and must also have the rightattitude towards rural people.

Four conditions are necessary for effective use ofteaching methods.

These include the learning situation, the learningobjectives, the learning experiences and the use of a variety of teachingmethods. The learning situation comprises the extension worker who has clearobjectives, knows the subject matter to be taught and is able to communicatefreely with the farmers. The learning situation also includes the people whoare capable and interested in learning and the subject-matter which must bepertinent to farmers’ needs and which is taught at people’s intellectual level.In physical terms, the learning situation should be free from outsidedistraction and should be suitable to the subject matter presented and shouldbe available when required and ought to be skilfully used.

As a pre-condition, objectives for the use ofextension methods must be clearly established. An objective has already beendefined as an end towards which teaching is directed (see module 1 unit 2). Anypurposeful teaching has specific objectives which must contain four basicelements-people to be taught, behaviour changes to be made, subject matter tobe taught and life situation in which action is to take place.

Another condition is the employment of effectivelearning experiences.

A learning experience is defined as the mental orphysical reaction one makes in a learning situation through seeing, hearing orperforming activities during a learning process. The final condition is thatprovision should be made for the opportunity to use a variety of extensionmethods.

Extension methods may be classified in three groups onthe basis of the number of people they are designed to reach: these are: (1)individual methods (2) group methods and (3) mass methods.

Individual Methods

Individual methods are used in extension teaching inrecognition of the fact that learning is an individual process and that thepersonal influence of the extension worker is an important factor in securingpeople’s participation in extension activities. The various methods which comeunder the classification of individual methods include farm and home visits,office calls, telephone calls, personal letters, informal contacts and resultdemonstrations.

Farm and home visits are essential elements ofextension education.

They provide a means of personal communication betweenthe farm family and the extension worker in an environment where they candiscuss matters of common interest in privacy and without the distractions andinterruptions commonly experienced in group extension activities. Farm and home visits serve the following usefulpurposes:

  1. To acquaintextension worker with the farmer and farm family
  2. To answerspecific requests for help
  3. To gain firsthand knowledge of problems faced by the farmer or villager
  4. To explain arecommended practice
  5. To follow upand observe the results of recommended practices
  6. To plan anactivity such as demonstration, or a meeting
  7. To invite thefarmer or villager to participate in a planned activity
  8. To discusspolicies and programmes
  9. To recruit,train or encourage a local volunteer leader

Careful and adequate preparation is the key to asuccessful visit as with all extension methods. Visits are extensive in termsof time and transportation. Preparation for a visit will include a review ofall the known facts about the farm, the farmer and the family, specific informationconcerning the problem, purpose or activity involved and materials such asleaflets and samples that may be left with the farmer.

Office calls are made by the farmer for the purpose ofsatisfying a felt need. They are an expression of interest by the farmer in aneed which he hopes the extension worker can help him meet. Office callsprovide the extension worker with knowledge of the needs of the farming community.Like farm and home visits, they help to build farmers’ confidence in the workerand create good public relations. They are less expensive and time consumingthan farm and home visits. However, the farmer may feel less at home in the officeand may be sensitive to the attitude of the worker. He may also be too shy todisclose the real purpose of his visit.

Telephone calls are initiated by either the farmer orthe extension worker, they are useful in giving specific information relatingto treatment of known diseases, control of insect pests or to answer questionson interesting broadcasts or requests for bulletins and leaflets.

Telephone calls cannot be used where telecommunicationsystem is under-developed.

Personal letters are useful in answering request forinformation, as follow-up after visits and office calls and in contacting localvolunteer leaders. The use of letters as a teaching method is quite limited in countrieslacking an efficient postal service or where many rural residents areilliterate.

Be careful that the information you give in a letteris simple, understandable and complete without being wordy or including unnecessaryinformation. Remember, the words you put on paper are all he has to go by indetermining your meaning.

Informal contacts provide many opportunities foreffective extension work. Every experienced extension worker has had peoplestop him on the street or in the village to ask a question. Often, seeing theextension worker will remind the villager of a problem about which he wouldlike technical advice. Market days, picnics, holiday celebrations and religiousevents bring people together. Where people gather, they talk about currentproblems in farming and rural life. By attending such events, the extensionworker will become better acquainted with his people, learn of their wants,needs and problems and be able to impart information on an informal basis.

Result demonstration is a method by teaching designedto show, by example the practical application of an established fact or groupof facts.

‘The result demonstration”- “Is one which shows aftera period of time what happened after a practice is adopted. As an example,compost is put on a certain field. Good seed potatoes are planted and caredfor. In the next field, no compost is used and poor seed potatoes are used. At harvesttime the potatoes are dug in each field at the same time. The villagers havewatched all during the planting, growing and harvesting season. They see howmuch better results are from using better practices. This is a result ofdemonstration”. Comparison is the essential ingredient in result demonstration.

The advantages of resultdemonstration are as follows:

  1. Furnishes localproof of the desirability of adopting a recommended practice
  2. Is an efficientmethod for introducing a new subject
  3. Appeals to theeye and reaches the “show me” individual
  4. Provides a goodsource of information for meetings, news items, pictures, radio talks.
  5. Furnishes costdata and other basic information
  6. A highpercentage of people will understand
  7. Aids indeveloping local leadership
  8. Establishesconfidence in the extension worker and in extension work

Limitations

  1. Resultdemonstration requires a large amount of extension workers time
  2. The cost ishigh per practice changed
  3. Gooddemonstrations are hard to find
  4. Few people seethe demonstration at a not-convincing stage
  5. The teachingvalue is frequently destroyed by unfavourable weather.

Group Methods

Group methods take into account the inclination of theindividual to respond to the pressures and opinions of groups in which he participatesand to listen to the views of others before arriving at a decision about makingchanges in his farming operations.

Group method include general meetings, groupdiscussion, exhibits, tours and field trips, method demonstrations, extensionschools and farmer training centre.

General meetings include all kinds of meetings held bythe extension worker except demonstration meetings. The method of conductingthe meetings may be lectures, discussions, showing of slides and motion picturesor any combination of these. The method of the meeting must be well thought outand the agenda carefully prepared in order to achieve objectives envisaged.During the meeting, provision should be made for use of models, charts,specimens, pictures e.t.c to illustrate points. Towards the end of the meetingallowance should be made for questions and answers which would help clarifyspecific ideas. To make the meeting successful, the extension worker shouldenlist the help of local leaders to:

  1. agree on thepurpose of the meeting and to draw up tentative programme;
  2. decide on andsecure speakers;
  3. arrange forsocial and recreational aspects of the meeting;
  4. agree on theplace and time of the meeting;
  5. select thechairman and advertise the meeting.

Kelsey and Hearne (1966) identify five general typesof meeting involved in extension work:

  1. Organizationmeetings include board of directors meetings, youth clubs, home makers clubs,executive committees and many others.
  2. Planningmeetings requires preparation of a large amount of situation material. Much ofthis must be done by professional extension workers who should resist a naturaltendency to dominate the meeting.
  3. Trainingmeetings are essential element in developing and using rural leaders inextension
  4. Specialinterest meetings are engaged to serve the educational needs of groups withcommon interest such as gardening, fishing, dairying, home management orsewing. They may be held singly or in series over a period of time.
  5. Communitymeetings as the name suggest are for all the people in the community, men,women, young people, with all the varied interests of the community.

Like other methods used in extension work, meetings ofall kinds have advantages and limitations. Meetings are useful in reaching alarge number of people; they serve as a preparatory stage for the use of other methods.By means of meetings, use can be made of group psychology to promoteprogrammes. One of the drawback of meetings is that they offer limited scopefor discussion. Where the audience is large, handling a topic may become verydifficult especially where there are disparities in age and educationalattainments.

Group discussion is a method commonly used inextension work.

Generally, discussion is the process by which two ormore persons pool their knowledge and feelings, and through mutual agreementclarify the issues under consideration. There are several distinct types ofgroup discussion meetings. The newest idea is called “brain trust” in which questionsare posed and the participating “brains” provide their opinions and views.Actually this is quite similar to panel and symposium discussions. The panel isusually a rather informal discussion by several “experts” to consider a majortopic, while a symposium is characterized by having several speakers, each ofwhom gives a rather detailed and usually prepared presentation of his views.

Sometimes the symposium speakers are given a chance toanswer one or more of the others in a form of rebuttal.

Exhibits are systematic displays of specimens, models,charts, posters, etc. Their main purpose is to develop the interest of thosewho see them, influence their attitude, increase their knowledge and stimulatethem to action. Exhibits are considered as some of the best methods of teachingilliterates. A well planned educational exhibit can present information quicklyand convincingly. Exhibit have imaginative appeal, and can stimulatecompetitive spirit among participants, this will be particularly so when prizesare awarded to those who produce the best shows.

An exhibit can be of any size. It can be a display ofa few potted maize plants with different levels of fertilizer treatments or itcan be as big as world agricultural fair. However, for extension purposes, theyshould be made simple, and should convey only one idea at a time.

Tours and field trips are methods of extensionteaching which appeal to man’s desire to “go places and see things”. Itrepresents a teaching method whereby a group of people are taken on a studytour to observe the result of improved practices in actual situations. Thismeans that the group will travel together for a day or more. Tours are amongthe best methods of teaching farm people to gain practical knowledge because peoplelearn through seeing things in actual operation. Tours are most suited forteaching groups such as members of Young Farmers Clubs. A tour can be made to aresearch station, demonstration farms and similar places of educationalinterest.

The following suggestion will help you plan and hold asuccessful tour or field trip.

  1. Decide exactlywhat you wish to accomplish
  2. Work out adetailed plan for the tour well in advance
  3. Go through arehearsal or “dry run” of the entire programme well in advance
  4. On the day ofthe tour, keep the party together and keep them moving briskly from point topoint.

In general smaller groups are preferred to largergroups.

Method demonstration

A method demonstration is to teach a skill. It teacheshow to do certain work. It is always interesting to the farmers and especiallywhen the demonstration is concluded by the extension worker, it increases theirrespect for the worker. Examples of method demonstration subjects include (i)seed treatment (ii) pruning, and (iii) spraying.

Things to note in method demonstration are asfollows:

  1. Outlineoperations in logical steps
  2. Identify keypoints
  3. Carefullyselect materials and tools
  4. Arrange fordiagrams or other teaching aids
  5. Rehearsedemonstration until perfect
  6. Make sure allthe audience can see and hear him
  7. Explain purposeand show application to local problem
  8. Show eachoperation slowly, step by step
  9. Emphasize keypoints
  10. Invite membersof audience to repeat demonstration

Advantages of Method Demonstration

  1. It teachesneeded skill to many people at one time
  2. Seeing,hearing, discussing and participating stimulate action.
  3. It buildsconfidence in extension worker if demonstration is skilfully performed
  4. Local leaderseasily learn simple demonstrations and can repeat them with other groups.
  5. It promotespersonal acquaintance between the demonstrators and the farmers
  6. It influenceschanges in practice with many people at a single
  7. meeting.

Limitations

  1. It isfrequently difficult to ensure that all members of the group can see clearly
  2. With certaindemonstrations considerable equipment must be transported to the meeting places
  3. Requires acertain amount of showmanship not possessed by all extension workers.

Extension schools are designed to give theparticipants knowledge and skill in some specific line of subject matter suchas irrigation methods, dress making or gardening. Schools involve intensivetraining over a specific period of time, such as one to four days. They mayrequire pre-enrolment and an obligation to attend all sections.

Schools offer an opportunity for presentation of muchinformation in a short time to a selected group of people with special interestin the subject. They must be well organized with specific teaching objectives andemploy teaching methods which will hold the interest of participants. Demonstrations,discussions and the use of visuals add much to their effectiveness. Periodicand terminal evaluations help to keep the programme realistic and provideguidance in conducting future schools.

Farmer training centre have been used effectively in anumber of developing countries to train farmers and their wives in concepts andpractices of modern agriculture and home making.

Leadership training appears to be the most effectiverole of farmer training centres. To fulfil this role, training centre programmesmust be integrated with extension programmes to the extent that:

  1. Subjects oftraining contribute to the educational objectives included in the extensionprogramme.
  2. Participantsare selected on the basis of their leadership potential and through recommendedleader recruitment processes, and
  3. Returnedparticipants are utilized in planning and executing extension programmes.

Mass Methods

Individual and group methods cannot reach everyone whowants and needs information. So mass methods-radio, television, cinema vans andpublic address systems, newspapers, posters and other printed materials areused to reach large numbers of people quickly.

Radio is one of the fastest, most powerful and in manycountries the only way of communicating with the masses of rural people. Itreaches people of all cultural levels who understand the language of transmission.

An advantage of radio programmes is that they can bedone almost anywhere through the use of tape recorder. Radio is useful inreporting spot news, such as announcement of meetings, for warning about insectoutbreaks, and especially as a part of campaigns.

Listening habits may vary according to the societyinvolved. Studies of listening habits will tell the extension worker when hislisteners are likely to be men and women and at what hours they listen most.Take these factors into account when planning your programme.

Television adds a second dimension to radiobroadcasting thus increasing the scope of methods available to the extensionworker. He can demonstrate as well as talk. Television programmes require meticulouspreparation. Every piece of equipments must be in place and the dialogue mustbe well thought out. In spite of the relatively high cost of receiving sets,television occupies an increasingly important role in developing countries.

Advantage of Radio and Television

  1. Radioprogrammes are especially fitted to handle emergency information
  2. Reach peoplewho cannot read
  3. Reach peoplewho cannot attend extension meeting
  4. Build interestin other extension activities

Limitations

  1. Broadcastingfacilities are not everywhere available
  2. Activeinvolvement of the audience in the teaching process is impossible
  3. Frequentlyextension programmes are given poor time for farm listeners
  4. Direct andimmediate feedback from the audience to the teacher is not possible
  5. Frequentlyextension programmes loose out in competition with entertainment
  6. Specific localneeds cannot be given adequate attention and there is often cultural gap (e.g.language, dialect) between the speaker and the audience.

Cinema vans and public address systems: In mostAfrican countries the

Ministry of Agriculture and Information providescinema vans which have substituted almost perfectly for television in bringingvisual entertainment and agricultural information to rural people. A cinema vancan show an agricultural film to a large audience in two or more villages eachnight. The films demonstrate new techniques that the people can apply on theirown farms.

The public-address system can be used to makeannouncements and bring agricultural information to a number of villages in oneday.

Newspapers provide a valuable channel for transmissionof educational information where they exist and where rural people receive andread them. Newspapers print news and news consists of items of broad interestto their readers. Newspaper space is valuable and limited. Your news item mustcompete for attention with other items as well as advertising and the editor isthe sole judge of its news value. All materials for the press should befactual, well written, and intelligently planned. Otherwise it will probably bediscarded by the editor.

Write simply, using short sentences and paragraphsthat are easy to read.

Remember that you must catch the readers’ attention inthe first sentence or he is unlikely to read further. The succeeding factsshould be put down in the order of their importance. The ABC’s of good writing areaccuracy, brevity and clarity.

Poster: A poster is a sheet of paper orcardboard with an illustration and usually a few simple words. It is designedto catch the attention of the passer by, impress on him a fact or an idea andstimulate him to support an idea, get more information or take some kind ofaction.

Since a single glance may be all your poster will get,the message must be simple and clear. Details and wordy sentences have noplace. Here are a few suggestions that will help you design more effectiveposters.

  1. Decide exactlywho your audience is. Decide exactly what you want to tell them. Decide whatyou want them to do.
  2. Put down on asheet of paper words and rough pictures that express your message simply andclearly.
  3. Try to put yourmessage into a few words- a coincise striking slogan. Visualise or put intopicture for the most important central idea in the message.
  4. Cut out yourposter in small scale – 81 or 41 actual size.

Other suggestions: use plain, bold lettering andlines. Use colour to attract attention and for contrast. Remember however thattoo many colours add confusion. Allow plenty of space. Do not crowd letters, wordsor illustrations.

Folders, leaflets and Pamphlets: Simple folders,leaflets and pamphlets can be used in many ways in extension programmes. Theymay be used singly for example to explain the advantage of testing soil. Theymay be used as reminders of when to plant crops or what chemicals to use to controldifferent insects.

Folders, leaflets and pamphlets may be used incoordination with other visuals in long-range campaigns. Because of theirlowcost, they can be given away at meetings and fairs and offered on radioprogrammes.

They are useful to supplement large publications whennew information is available and when reprinting the whole publication is notpractical.

EXERCISE 1

  1. What is extensionteaching method?
  2. List fourconditions necessary for effective use of teaching methods
  3. Extensionmethods may be classified into three groups these are (a) ——————–(b)————————and (c)——————
  4. Individualmethods include (a)—————— (b)——————– (c)———————- (d) ———————–(e)——————— (f)—————————(g) —————————–
  5. Group methodsinclude (a)——————– (b)———————- (c)——————– (d) ———————(e)———————– (g)——————————–
  6. List thecomponents of mass methods.

CONCLUSION

This unit has introduced you to the various extensionteaching methods and their various classification according to use. In manyteaching situations an extension worker will find that the use of two or more methodswill be much more effective than the employment of any single method.

SUMMARY

The main points in this unit include the following

  • Extensionteaching methods may be defined as devices used to create situations in whichnew information can pass freely between the extension worker and the farmingcommunities.
  • Extensionmethods may be classified in three groups on the basis of the number of peoplethey are designed to reach. These are:
    • Individualmethods
    • Group methods,and
    • Mass methods
  • Individualmethods are used in extension teaching in recognition of the fact that learningis an individual process.
  • Group methodstake into account the inclination of the individual to respond to the pressuresand opinions of groups in which he participates and to listen to the views ofothers before arriving at a decision about making changes in his farmingoperations.
  • Individual andgroup methods cannot reach everyone who wants and needs information. So massmethods are used to reach large numbers of people quickly.

EXERCISE 2

  1. Extensionteaching methods are devices used to create situations in which new informationcan pass freely between the extension worker and the farming communities.
  2. (a) Learningsituation (b) Learning objectives (c) Learning experiences (d) Use of a varietyof teaching methods.
  3. (a) Individualmethods (b) Group methods (c) Mass methods
  4. (a) Farm andhome visit (b) Office calls (c) Telephone calls (d) Personal letters (e)Informal contacts (f) Result demonstration
  5. (a) Generalmeetings (b) group discussion (c) Exhibits (d) Tours and field trips Methoddemonstrations (f) Extension schools (g) Farmer training Centre
  6. (a) Radio (b)Television (c) Cinema vans and public address systems(d) Newspapers (e) posters(f) folders, leaflets and pamphlets.

QUESTIONS

  1. Writeexplanatory notes on the individual methods
  2. Write brieflyon the components of group methods
  3. Discuss themass methods of extension

REFERENCES/FURTHER READINGS

Laogun E.A (2005). Extension Teaching/Learning Process and

Extension Methods. In S.F. Adedoyin (ed).Agricultural

Extension in Nigeria. Publication ofAgricultural. Extension

Society of Nigeria, pp 201-207.

Kelsey, L.D. and Hearne, C.C. (1966). Cooperative Extension Work.

Constock Publishing Associates,Ithaca, New York.

Obibuaku, L.O. (1983). Agricultural Extension as astrategy for

Agricultural Transformation. University of Nigeria Press,

Nsukka Nigeria, 19pp.

Van den Ban, A.W. and Hawkins, H.S. (1985). Agricultural Extension,

Longman Scientific and Technical,USA, New York, 328 pp.

Youdeowei, A., Ezidinma, F.O.C., and Onazi, O.C. (1986). Introduction

to Tropical Agriculture. Longman, 344pp.

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