Summer 1985 // Volume 23 // Number 2 // Tools of the Trade // 2TOT3

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Extension Handbook


Curtis Trent
Associate Director
University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
Little Rock, Arkansas

Extension Handbook. Donald J. Blackburn, ed. Guelph, Ontario, Canada: University of Guelph, 1984. 167 pp. $18.00 softcover, $28.00 hardcover. Available from: Office for Educational Practice, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G2W7.

Almost two decades have elapsed since the last major textbook on Cooperative Extension was placed on the market. Considering the dramatic changes that have occurred within and outside the Extension movement during this period, the book reviewed here is long overdue.

Extension workers in the United States shouldn't be misled by the fact that the book was edited by a Canadian and published in Canada. With the exception of Chapter One, which deals with the philosophy and roots of Extension in Canada, the content is totally relevant for Extension professionals in the United States. The chapter on philosophy and roots should broaden the perspective of the United States Extension worker.

The handbook covers a wide range of issues in the field from the theories of how adults learn to the latest in new technology. And, it draws on the expertise of some of Canada's leading adult and Extension educators. It reinforces my biases concerning the concepts, skills, and values that an Extension worker should possess. For example, learning theory is seen as the starting point for teaching in Extension. Motivation to learn appropriately follows learning theory. The key to success in Extension work is an understanding of the diffusion-adoption process, which is explained exceptionally well.

In addition to the traditional processes and procedures used in Extension work, such as program development, teaching techniques, and evaluation, there are excellent chapters on marketing Extension programs, community power structure, public involvement, management of Extension programs, and new and emerging technologies.

Blackburn's Extension Handbook is up to date, practical, and will be a welcomed addition to Extension literature. This book, along with another new publication, Adult and Continuing Education Through the Cooperative Extension Service by Prawl, Medlin, and Gross (see next review), should meet many of Extension's in-service and graduate training needs now and in the future.