EATONTON – Educators faced crushing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Georgia 4-H has continued to deliver essential and effective programs to support teachers and students during the height of the crisis.
The 2020-21 school year called for a change in methodology in all education streams. As teachers in Georgia reimagined their classroom environments, 4-H professionals also pivoted to meet the needs of a new and changing dynamic that included virtual, in-person and hybrid instruction.
A recent study by Virginia Brown, an extension evaluation specialist at the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, highlighted the positive impact of 4-H on teachers and students in the fall semester of 2020.
To collect data, local 4-H officers distributed a survey of teachers developed by the Office of Learning and Organizational Development to assess student knowledge outcomes, program components, and overall program impacts. 4-H in Georgia classrooms. One hundred and ninety-three teachers in 30 counties responded to the survey, representing more than 5,000 students.
Survey results indicated that students’ knowledge increased from pre-instruction to post-instruction, regardless of how 4-H programming was offered. Teachers have reported that 4-H programs add value to learning and are an important adjunct to education. They also indicated that the inclusion of 4-H improves the classroom and that they plan to continue using its offerings.
Traditionally, 4-H programming has been delivered through in-person instruction in grades four, five and six by youth development professionals, including 4-H officers, educators and assistants. program. In addition to classrooms, 4-Hers have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities in the areas of agriculture and STEM, healthy lifestyles and civic engagement.
“4-H programming has been shown to be effective over and over again through numerous studies over many years,” Brown said. “This study shows that our shift to a variety of delivery methods has no impact on the proven constructive impact of 4-H.”
The teachers also said they personally benefited from their involvement with 4-H during the initial response to COVID-19. Survey participants reported that their general well-being and well-being had been positively impacted by their partnership with 4-H during a difficult adjustment period.
“Our goal is to instill the concepts of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity in young people with whom we have the privilege of interacting,” said Mandy Marable, 4-H extension specialist for the curriculum. . “We appreciate the relationships that have been built with teachers and students throughout the uncertain months of the 2020-21 school year.”
For more information on how to get involved with 4-H as a student, parent, or volunteer, visit georgia4h.org or contact a local extension office.