This chapter will further stress extension as an educational process because it is neglected in most extension activities. Education is for the masses so they will want to do what extension recommends. Also, extension is for those who deal in Supplies and Services so they can do what is necessary for the masses to adopt the recommendations. Thus, people change because they want to and because it is possible for them to do so.
Teaching-learning is one of the most delicate, significant, and complex of all social processes because it changes the way people think and act. Extension workers must skillfully provide learning experiences effectively.
Emphasis on the educational aspect of extension programs stems from the belief that education helps people learn how to do things for themselves, whereas Service consists of doing things for the people. Education makes people self-reliant; service makes them dependent on others. Education is more than imparting information or supplying answers; it also helps develop the ability to understand and reason, to think through problems, and arrive at wise solution.
Can teaching be learned? Yes. The ability of individuals engaged in teaching varies. There are no born teachers as there are no born lawyers, doctors, engineers, fishermen, or carpenters. Everyone is gifted by nature. Anyone with good intelligence and the will to study, practice, plan, and revise ways of doing the job can gain the skill to do effective teaching. Hence, there is no mystery about learning how to be a good extension teacher. It is simply a matter of hard work, practice, concentration and the will to achieve proficiency. This is the price one must pay for acquiring real skill in any profession.
Good extension teaching requires carefully planned programs, procedure, and technique. Designing good teaching plans is a highly professional job, and one that pays well as an achievement. A number of conditions must be met and actions must be taken to make extension teaching procedures and methods effective.
6 Leagans, J.P., Guides to Extension Teaching in Developing Countries, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1963, pp. 7–18.
Extension teaching requires specific and clearly defined objectives. All purposeful teaching has specific objectives derived from the broader program objectives. Before extension teaching can attain maximum effectiveness, changes desired in the behavior of people must be identified.
Teaching objectives properly stated, contain four different aspects: people to be taught, behavioral changes to be developed in people, content or subject matter to which the behavior is related, and life situation in which the action is to take place. For example: the teaching objective in a training program may be to develop the skill (behavior) of extension workers (persons) in conducting method demonstrations (content) before groups of fish farmers (life situation). Another objective may be to impart knowledge (behavior) among fishfarmers (people) the benefits gained from applying the right amount of fertilizer (content) through demonstrations (life situation). Still another objective may be to develop interest (behavior) among fishfarm families (people) in fishery cooperatives (content) through community meetings (life situation).
It can be seen from these examples that well stated teaching objectives are specific in the behavior changes desired, the people who are to make the change, the content to be dealt with, and the life situation in which teaching and learning are to take place. The examples also show that the elements are different in each objective. Teaching objectives stated in this manner give direction and guidance to both teachers and learners as well.
It is true that one can accomplish some favourable results without a clear definition of what he is trying to do, but if improvements will result from the total program, extension workers must have well-defined teaching objectives. Achievements, therefore, can be adequate only in terms of some standard, and that standard can only be derived from one's concept of the objectives he wishes to attain through teaching effort.
Extension teaching must accomplish certain kinds of educational changes in relation to the subject matter taught. Among these are:
Changes in knowledge, or things known, amount of knowledge, and kinds of knowledge. Examples: stocking rate (by farm size), kinds and amounts of fertilizer to use, kinds and amounts of pesticide to use.
Changes in skills, or ability to do things. How easily and effectively one can do a specified task, and the number of things one can do, are all reflections of skill.
Changes in attitude or feelings, for or against things and issues, points of view, beliefs, reactions and the like. Attitudes are important in determining what a person does and how he does it. They must become strongly positive (favorable) before desired changes in behavior will give him satisfaction if the interest is met.
Changes in interest: Interest is a specific form of attitude, but educational interest may be defined as a desire to learn, or to gain information, or to understand, or to gain skill, pertaining to some object in one's environment that he believes will give him satisfaction if the interest is met.
Changes in understanding: Understanding has to do with gaining insight into the relationship of facts and issues, usually involving cause and effect. It has to do with the development of a deeper and broader vision of how various elements, important facts and principles operate in a situation. To gain understanding requires knowledge and thinking skill.
Extension teaching usually requires a combination of teaching methods. Because not all extension methods will reach the people or influence them, a combination of various teaching methods must be considered. By and large, the changes people make on their farms, in their homes, and in their communities are in proportion to the number of times they are exposed to information through personal visits, meetings, demonstrations, and the like. Obviously, if wide response is desired, rural people must be exposed to changes.
Extension teaching requires careful evaluation of results. Evaluation is useful in guiding teaching effort and educational programs. Extension teaching is complex because observation alone cannot be a basis for evaluation. Pretesting is more precise than casual observation in determining the outcome of an educational activity.
Learning experience is the core of the educational process. It is the mental and/or physical reaction of a learner to seeing, hearing, or doing the things to be learned.
An effective learning situation consists of five essential elements:
An effective instructor or leader
Learners who want and need to learn
Content or subject matter that is useful to learners
Appropriate instructional equipment and materials
An appropriate physical environment
There is a constant reaction by the learners with each of the other four major elements in the learning situation. For example, a learner may at one time be reacting to the dress of the instructor, to his mannerisms, or to his voice; at another time to his teaching equipment, or to the manner in which he handles the subject matter; later to some aspect of the physical facilities such as the hard chair, or poor light, or excessive heat. In addition to the mental focus on these elements, and many others not mentioned here, learners react to such items as outside obstructions, individual interpretation, members of the group, and personal problems. The great task of the extension worker is to minimize the almost infinite number of possible distractions to the mental process. The effectiveness of a learning experience is therefore, related directly to the manner and extent of mental concentration on the subject matter.
There are a number of things an instructor can do that would help assure a good learning situation. Some of the important ones are given below:
Have in mind that teaching objectives are clearly significant to# the learners, and are attainable through the educational process within the mental and physical limitations of the learners.
Have a thorough knowledge of significant subject matter related to the learner's needs.
Be personable, enthusiastic, and interested in the subject matter.
Use democratic instructional procedures and approaches.
Be prepared, prompt, and courteous in every teaching-learning session.
Arrange and manage the learning situation to prevent or minimize distractions within and outside the learning situation.
Be skillful in the use of teaching material and equipment such as blackboard, visual equipment and other reading materials.
Always prepare and use a carefully developed teaching plan.
To become a proficient extension teacher one must constantly work at analyzing his teaching procedures, motivating his audience, research of new technology to extend, gaining further understanding of the teaching-learning process, and developing greater skill in selecting, combining, and using the methods of extension education.
Communication is the process of imparting or exchanging information. As we have seen people learn in many ways. The transfer of modern technology to effect change from traditional to scientific aquaculture is the aim. To be able to teach these better skills they must know how to communicate effectively. The extension worker becomes the bridge between researchers and fishfarmers. This section is concerned with the skills of communicating knowledge to the fishfarmer. Unless extension workers communicate effectively, they fail as teachers. The communication process (SMCR) consists of four essential elements (Figure 1):
Sender/Communicator of ideas/information
Message to be sent/transmitted
Channels/means of communication
Receiver of information/audience
When an extension worker goes to the fishfarmer, the extension worker must start the conversation. Therefore, he is the sender; what he says is the message; the spoken word is the channel; and the fishfarmer is the receiver. When the fishfarmer replies, the roles are temporarily reversed. The fishfarmer is the sender and extension worker becomes the receiver. Fishfarmer's response is the feedback.
SMCR Modal of Communication
The Communicator (sender) is the originator of the communication. As an extension worker, he must take the initiative to establish communication with the fishfarmer and keep it functioning. As a communicator the extension worker must be credible. He should gain the confidence of his clientele. Credibility can be improved by learning to communicate effectively.
A good communicator must:
know his clientele, their wants and needs
know his message, its content and how to present it
know effective channels of communication for his message to get across and know his own abilities and limitations
be interested in his clientele and their welfare and how his message can help
be interested in improving his skills in communication
prepare his message carefully, using appropriate materials to elicit interest from the clientele
use simple words to be easily understood
realize the mutual understanding between extension workers and the fishfarmer is mostly the worker's responsibility
be time conscious.
The Message: Extension workers have important information and ideas which he hopes will be received and interpreted by the clientele as he intended. Oftentimes, this is not the case due to incomplete information, poor presentation, and other reasons. To avoid these difficulties, extension workers should be prepared to reiterate the information.
The purpose or objective should be clear in mind. What change in behavior do you want to bring about? It can be a change in knowledge, attitude, skills, or in what you expect the clientele to do.
The content of the message should be of interest to him. It must be related to something he understands, feels or thinks, something he can accept.
The treatment of the message is important to make it acceptable and understandable to the receiver (fishfarmer). It should be organized in terms he understands. It should conform to accepted social standards. Treatment can make a message interesting or boring.
The Channels of Communication: Extension methods are channels of communication. These methods may be classified as visual, spoken, or written or a combination of both.
Spoken methods include field and home visits, office calls, meeting of all kinds, radio, television and telephone calls. Except for radio and television, the rest are a two-way communication. Differences of opinion can be cleared up on the spot.
There are also disadvantages and obstacles to be overcome. Since an oral message is not always recorded, the receiver may remember it differently than the sender wants. Where premise statements are only spoken, the receiver has no way to refer back to what was said. In spite of its problems, spoken communication when supplemented with visual aids is the best method of extension work.
Written communication is indispensable in day-to-day activities of extension. Records and reports must be prepared, kept available for use, and submitted to superiors. The clientele must be kept informed of activities and accomplishments.
Written communications have greater status and carry more authority than oral communication. Letters, bulletins, circulars, announcements of events and magazines contribute to extension in literate societies. They provide a low-cost method to disseminate information to a large number of people, but this is only a one-way communication. Few people will change their methods of fishfarming only because they read about it. An effective extension worker will adapt his extension methods to the subject, to the communication skills of the clientele and to the facilities available.
The Receiver (audience): The receivers are the acceptors. If the receiver did not accept, there was no communication at all.
The significant thing to remember is this: while some may agree on some aspect, they may also differ in thousands of ways. Often, some of these differences block communication.
Differences in education mean different abilities to understand a difficult concept and other technicalities. For this reason, communication often fails because of a gap or language barrier.
In communication there are what we call filters. Filter in this sense is anything that prevents a message from getting through to the intended audience. Filters may be fear, prejudice, inability to grasp the idea, or any possible barriers.
The point is that a good communicator anticipates and tries to prevent filters if he can; he is ready with every means to overcome barriers in any case.
Communication failure may also occur when the idea being communicated is contrary to the accepted local customs and beliefs. This too is filter. Recognizing this danger, alternative approaches to the problem should be used.
The process by which a sender can convey his message to the audience often affects the transfer of an idea. If he is sincere and respectable, he is more likely to succeed in transmitting his idea to his audience.
Two interrelated processes help bring new ideas from their source of initial development to acceptance by fishfarmers. These processes are called diffusion and adoption.
The diffusion process refers to the spread of new ideas from the original source to the ultimate users. In the case of aquaculture, it is the process by which new farm practices or innovations are communicated from sources of origin, usually researchers and practices adopted from advanced countries. The adoption process is a mental process through which an individual passes from first hearing about a new idea to its final adoption. The five stages in the adoption process commonly accepted today are:
Awareness Stage. At the awareness stage the individual is exposed to the innovation but lacks complete information about it. The individual is aware of the innovation, but is not yet motivated to seek further information. The primary function of the awareness stage is to initiate the sequence of later stages that lead to eventual adoption of the innovation.
Interest Stage. At the interest stage the individual becomes interested in the new idea and seeks additional information about it. The individual favours the innovation in a general way, but he has not yet judged its utility in terms of his own situation. The function of the interest stage is mainly to increase the individual's information about the innovation. The cognitive of “knowing” component of behavior is involved at the interest stage. The individual is more psychologically involved with the innovation at the interest stage than at the awareness stage. Previously, the individual listened or read about the innovation; at the interest stage he actively seeks information about the idea. His personality and value, as well as the norms of his social system or groups may affect where he seeks information, as well as how he interprets this information about the innovation.
Evaluation Stage. At the evaluation stage the individual mentally applies the innovation to his present and anticipated future situation and then decides whether or not to try it. A sort of “mental trial” occurs at the evaluation stage. If the individual feels the advantages of the innovation outweight the disadvantages, he will decide to try the innovation. The trial itself, however, is conceptually distinct from the decision to try the new idea. The evaluation is probably least distinct of the five adoption stages, and one of the most difficult from which to question respondents. The innovation carries a subjective risk to the individual. He is unsure of the results, and for this reason, a reinforcement effect is needed at the evaluation stage to convince the individual that his thinking is on the right path. Information and advice from peers is likely to be sought at this point.
Trial Stage. At the trial stage the individual uses the information on a small scale in order to determine its utility in his own situation. The main function of the trial stage is to demonstrate the new idea in the individual's own situation and determine its usefulness for possible complete adoption. It is thus a validity test or “dry run”; the decision to use the ideas on a trial basis was made at the evaluation stage. The individual may seek specific information about the method of using the innovation at the trial stage.
Adoption Stage. At the adoption stage the individual decides to continue the full use of the innovation. The main function of the adoption stage are considerations of the trial results and the decision to ratify sustained use of the innovation. Adoption implies continued use of the innovation in the future.
These then are the stages in the mental process of accepting new ideas and practices. Individuals may go through these stages at the different rates depending upon the practice itself. The complexity of the practice seems to be a major factor in determining the rate and manner with which people go through these mental stages.
An innovation may be rejected at any stage in the adoption process. The individual may decide at the evaluation stage that the innovation will not apply to his situation and mentally reject it. Or, the innovation may be rejected at the trial stage, where the individual decides that the rewards expected from adoption will not outweigh the cost and effort of doing so. Rejection may occur for less rational reasons.
Factors affecting adoption
The relative speed with which a new idea is adopted depends partially upon the characteristics of the new idea. Some factors affecting the rate of adoption are:
Cost and economic return. New practices that are high in cost generally tend to be adopted more slowly than do the less costly ones. However, regardless of cost, practices which produce high returns for money invested tend to be adopted more rapidly than those which yield lower returns. Also, practices producing quick returns on investment tend to be more rapidly adopted than those which produce deferred returns or returns over a long period of time
Complexity. New ideas that are relatively simple to understand and use will generally be accepted more quickly than more complex ideas. For example, increased fertilizer application is likely to be more readily accepted than an innovation in fertilizer application methods.
Visibility. Practices also vary in the extent to which their operation and results are easily seen or demonstrated. The more visible the practice and its results, the more rapid is its adoption.
Divisibility. Practices such as fertilizer application, different fertilizer analysis, feed additives, weed sprays, or seed varieties may be tried by sample basis and the results compared with those from previous practice. A practice that can be tried on a limited basis will generally be adopted more rapidly than one that cannot.
Compatibility. A new idea or practice that is consistent with existing beliefs will be accepted more rapidly than one that is not.
Other factors such as prestige may affect the speed of adoption. In some areas, it may be considered a mark of social prestige to have a farm plan. The demand for farm planning may be considerable although the degree to which the farmers put their plans into effect may vary considerably.
In any community, the readiness to accept new ideas and to put them into practice vary from farmer to farmer. We can classify them according to their readiness to accept new ideas.
Innovators. These are farmers who are eager to accept new ideas. Usually there are only a few people in this class in the normal farming community. In village societies, innovators are often looked on with suspicion and jealousy. Yet, they are important to the success of an extension program for they can be persuaded to try new methods and thereby create awareness in the communities where they live. However, the extension worker should exercise tact and caution and avoid individual preferences publicly which could result in rejection of the idea as a whole.
Early adopters. These are farmers who are more cautious, and want to see the idea tried and proven first under local conditions. They express early interest but must be convinced by result of demonstrations of the direct benefit to them. Usually this group of people includes local leaders and others who are respected in the community. Their support is vital to the process of acceptance by the community.
The majority. The rest of the farming community adopts a new idea slowly and often less completely. They differ in the speed of adoption. Some may never adopt the idea at all and may continue to oppose it. The majority are more likely to be influenced by the opinions of local leaders and neighbors than by the extension workers.
The main purpose of studying this classification is to understand how people can accept the new ideas that are being taught to them and be able to select leaders who can help program their objective and follow-up actions. If farmers in an area are not aware of the new idea, the innovators and early adopters must help demonstrate the accepted results for the benefit of the community.