Transforming 4-H pedagogy: equity, access, and opportunity for students of color

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Travella R. Free (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Silvia Bettez

Abstract: The changing racial and ethnic demographics have had a profound effect on 4-H programs. Minoritized populations have dramatically increased, and this has presented a challenge to the 4-H program. Culturally relevant pedagogy and multicultural education practices can contribute to a more inclusive program that uses cultural knowledge and perspectives from students of color. The future success of 4-H youth development programs will depend on the relevance and value of its educational programs for students of color. The purpose of this qualitative study was to critically examine the thoughts, assumptions, and ideas of 4-H staff regarding recruitment and retention of students of color. I examined 4-H staff perceptions on the reasons students of color chose not to participate in 4-H programs. The focus group participants and I also examined the curriculum from a multicultural perspective. Basic qualitative research provided a framework for this study because it allowed 4-H staff to share their thoughts and ideas concerning the cultural relevance of the program. The findings from the data emphasize the fact that educational approaches of the 4-H program were not considered as effective as they could be in meeting the needs of students of color. Even though the traditional 4-H club program was a proven method for educating youth, many students of color made the choice not to participate in the program and therefore not to benefit from all it has to offer. The focus group participant highlighted the many barriers to participation as well as uncovered the misconceptions of students of color. 4-H curriculum showed fewer instances of multicultural content integration than expected. The curriculum should be revised to include the contributions of a wide variety of ethnic and cultural groups. This requires new knowledge and an understanding of cultural differences and the history of different ethnic groups.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Culturally Relevant, Experiential Learning, Multicultural Education, Pedagogy
4-H clubs $z United States
Multicultural education $z United States

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