How to evaluate integration

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The transmission of agroecological skills and the training process this involves requires respect for the development of each individual.

The development of awareness that reflexivity supposes is the first phase. Reflexivity may enable confirmation and consolidation of present skills but these are not necessarily legitimised by the holder.

It can also enable focus upon new skills which improve or negatively impact the professional activity. It may consequently enable a reorganisation of the learner’s conceptions and cognitive resources for confronting a known professional situation by mobilising new skills. But it may also promote mobilisation of skills in a new situation and render the skill trans-situational by encouraging the development of the ‘capable subject’.

The learner consequently has the opportunity of evaluating his/her learning. Education in agroecology therefore involves favouring self- and co-evaluation.

Psychology studies have highlighted that the process of construction of knowledge or skills induces a more or less comfortable destabilisation of the learner’s cognitive edifice. We consider this to be a non-negligible dimension in the teaching-learning process which invariably creates forms of unease, conflicts at varying levels and levels of difficulty for teachers / trainers and learners alike.

Similarly, didactics studies over the past 50 years have enabled the construction of the conviction that we ‘build knowledge from representations’ (1). With regards to this, in the section entitled ‘Formalising the perception of the concept of agroecology’ we propose a series of approaches aimed at accompanying the process of conceptual transition.

‘Building knowledge from representations’ involves questioning (in a didactic framework) the limits of our mental constructions and identifying the related obstacles in order to eventually reconstruct a new cognitive structure which integrates elements from such in order to make them robust, durable, operative, efficacious and efficient.

These become didactic ‘guidelines’ that the actors in the educational relationship master within the framework of formal education in general, and scholarly education in particular. In other words, this process is adapted in its structure to addressing scientific concepts such as Thales’ Theorum or digestive and respiratory functions...

However, with regards to agroecological skills there appears to be a double movement of questioning our representations.
One that we can qualify as epistemological, given that it involves directly questioning the origin, nature, form and dynamic of the said skills; the other that we can qualify as epistemic in that it questions, in an independent manner, the content of the position that each individual is in a position to adopt in relation to the skills in question.

Evaluating a level of appropriation in such a context implies taking this double movement into account.

Therefore, on one hand the activity of evaluation naturally poses the question of references. Without making a full comparison with the teaching of a stabilised concept (such as Thales’ Theorum…), evaluating the construction of an agroecological skill, given its epistemological character, would appear to exclude a standardised method of evaluation (i.e. analysis of a difference to a norm through the sole analysis of the productive element of a learning process) and invites us rather to consider a formative and qualitative approach through the analysis of the constructive element of the learning process.

Evaluation of the evolution of a level of reflexivity and/or evaluation of a level of skill development would seem to better take into account the contextualised and situated (individual, cultural, social, geographic, ecological…) nature of such skills and knowledge. It would therefore be pertinent to formalise evaluation tools based on multiple grids and criteria.

These would consequently break down the learning activity and distance the evaluator from considering its complexity.
On the other hand, the activity of evaluation also concerns evaluation of the position of the learners. We have insisted on the importance of preparing trainees to accept agroecological skills and the approaches to be deployed for such.

The capacity of allowing oneself to adapt a position and approach with regards to a skill is an essential element for evaluation. But it does not appear pertinent to develop multiple criteria grids to be able to analyse the level of evaluation of one person against another.

Here again a more qualitative approach would appear necessary. Individualised interviews, writing workshops, practical analysis workshops, explanation periods... enabling identification of the elements that have evolved for each individual.

The documents proposed in this section place the accent on these qualitative and formative evaluation procedures. These tools invite the teacher to ‘let go’ in a certain manner, to abandon the illusion of control, by giving more room to methods of self-, co- even eco-evaluation.


(1) A reference to the work of G. Bachelard (1938). This may allow the reader to consider that there exists, beyond the representation, an ultimate and standardised goal in terms of knowledge or skills to be developed. However, with regards to agroecological skills, we have developed the conviction that the breadth of possibilities in terms of knowledge and skills cannot enable teachers / trainers to image a specific goal. This specific characteristic makes it difficult to deploy an educational environment turned towards a unique and definitive objective…

Furthering your discovery of training itinerary :
@ Position of trainer as an expert or objectivist paradigm

@ Position of accompaniment or subjectivist paradigm

@ Position of trainer as a facilitator or socio-critical paradigm

@ Combining different positions

@ Exploring agroecological knowledge