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Understanding extension and practice change over time


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by Prof Frank Vanclay
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Understanding extension and practice change over time

  1. 1. Understanding extension and practice change over time Prof Frank Vanclay Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research University of Tasmania
  2. 2. SELN is a gathering of government extension leaders and influencers from each state of Australia. SELN strives to provide leadership and strategic direction in the development of State and National extension service delivery.
  3. 3. Drivers <ul><li>The word ‘extension’ is misunderstood </li></ul><ul><li>The value of extension is not recognised </li></ul><ul><li>The role extension has played is too easily discounted </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of consensus about definition and process </li></ul><ul><li>Extension needs to be pitched in modern ‘policy-speak’ </li></ul>
  4. 4. ‘ Extension’ by other names <ul><li>Practice change </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge brokering </li></ul><ul><li>Change management </li></ul><ul><li>Outreach </li></ul><ul><li>Interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>Community engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity building </li></ul><ul><li>Social marketing </li></ul><ul><li>(Targeted) communication </li></ul><ul><li>Health promotion </li></ul><ul><li>Road safety education </li></ul><ul><li>Adult education </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental education </li></ul><ul><li>Education for Sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing and Public Relations </li></ul><ul><li>Community development </li></ul><ul><li>Public participation </li></ul>
  5. 5. Different levels of meaning <ul><li>As a science/discipline/discourse/ community of practice </li></ul><ul><li>As a policy instrument </li></ul><ul><li>As a process/activity </li></ul><ul><li>As an agency </li></ul>
  6. 6. Getting the message across <ul><li>Roman times (ca 2,000 yrs ago), Virgil Georgics. Poetry </li></ul><ul><li>King George III in 18 th century </li></ul><ul><li>Contemporary ‘extension’ originated at Cambridge Uni in 1867 with community lectures – the university extending its work beyond the campus. </li></ul><ul><li>USA Landgrant system 1890s. State Universities required to assist the development of agriculture in each US State. </li></ul><ul><li>Australia, dust bowl, Soldier Resettlement schemes </li></ul><ul><li>UK, radio programs </li></ul><ul><li>Landcare, and NRM </li></ul>
  7. 7. Traditional extension = Transfer of Technology <ul><li>the application of scientific research and new knowledge to agricultural practices through farmer education. </li></ul><ul><li>How to get the message across? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Critique of traditional extension <ul><li>Extension uncritically promoted agribusiness products </li></ul><ul><li>Social and environmental impacts </li></ul><ul><li>Little reflection on theoretical models </li></ul><ul><li>Farmers’ local knowledge ignored </li></ul><ul><li>Farmers were treated as homogeneous </li></ul><ul><li>Farmers’ needs were ignored </li></ul><ul><li>Social and political context ignored </li></ul><ul><li>Farmers treated as passive recipients </li></ul>
  9. 9. New extension <ul><li>Extension is a capacity building process that involves the use of communication and adult education processes to help diverse rural people and communities identify potential improvements to their practices, and then provide them with the skills and resources to effect these improvements. (Vanclay after Coutts, Macadam and others) </li></ul>
  10. 10. SELN’s definition <ul><li>Extension is the process of enabling change in individuals, communities and industries involved in the primary industry sector and with natural resource management. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Extension is a discipline </li></ul><ul><li>Extension has developed over time in theory, method & scope </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity building, community engagement, social marketing </li></ul>
  12. 12. Extension is a policy instrument to be used in conjunction with other PIs
  13. 13. Shift from old to new <ul><li>Production to NRM </li></ul><ul><li>Technical to social </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching/instructing to learning/facilitating </li></ul><ul><li>Public to private & third sector (Greening Aust) </li></ul><ul><li>One-on-one to group </li></ul><ul><li>Top-down to bottom-up </li></ul><ul><li>From human capital to social capital </li></ul><ul><li>Information transfer to capacity building </li></ul><ul><li>Extension as activity to extension as policy instrument </li></ul><ul><li>Producer to consumer </li></ul>
  14. 14. [email_address] <ul><li>Vanclay, F. 2004 “Social principles for agricultural extension to assist in the promotion of natural resource management”, Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 44(3): 213-222. </li></ul><ul><li>State Extension Leaders Network 2006 Enabling change in rural and regional Australia: The role of extension in achieving sustainable and productive futures (a discussion document produced by the State Extension Leaders Network August 2006). Online resource http:// </li></ul>