G A S T R O N O M Y
PUBS HOME PAGE
.
Why we eat WWE
Model foundation
The family
Pigeon-holes
National gastronomy 1986
National Gastronomy 1986++
National gastronomy 2011
National Gastronomy ++
Final Model text
....Using the Final Model
.
. . .Final model alone
.
.
.
O T H E R . P U B L I C A T' N S
Pubs before 2007
Publications list
.
INTRODUCING IWFS ARTICLES
Molecular Gastronomy
Restaurant review
Garnishes on Stage
Martial Mentions on the Menu
Martial Milestones on the Menu
Monarchs on the Menu
The Royal Table
More Monarchs on the Menu
Mandarins on the Menu
Middlemen on the Menu
Ministers on the Menu
Moscovites on the Menu
Musicians on the Menu
.
Food fit for a Queen
.
Our founder’s voice - 1 - link
Our founder’s voice - 1
Our founder's voice - 2
Our founder's voice - 3
.
.
Wine - a matter of balance
Wine words 1: Let the wine do the talking
Wine words 2: Binning the words
Wine Words 3
.
MAKING SENSE OF CUISINE
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
Educational Catering Failure
Food Education v School Meals
Delegated Food Education
A Catering Career
A Caring Career
Curriculum - as was
Curriculum + text
Staff Development
Professionalism
Education Across the Board
Non-Pub - Nepal
Web prices
.
For the website provider
C O N T A C T
Home Economics - another name?

 

Home Economics - a Subject by any Other Name?



Originally typed in the days of typewriters, this is a paper based on participation by those involved.  It was given in workshop mode over three different theme sessions.  The paper has been annotated to emphasise topics of special interest within the sessions.

A letter published in the Times Educational Supplement 12 April 1985 appears after the bibliography.




                                                             A Paper for the
                               SEVENTH ANNUAL HOME ECONOMICS  CONFERENCE 
                               
                               Digby Stuart College, Roehampton, 12 September 1985
                              
                           
HOME ECONOMICS - A  SUBJECT BY ANY OTHER NAME?
                                                                 by
                                                        Alan F  Harrison
                                                        Head of Faculty of Communinty Studies
                                                        Canterbury College
 
IMPORTANT  NOTE
There will be no normal presentation in that the material is read or summarised by page or paragraph by paragraph. It will be assumed that those who are interested in this topic will have familiarised themselves with the contents of this paper and will be ready to put forward views and ideas which further the interests of Home Economics (HE). The author of the paper will supplement the paper with background or further information according to conference interest. He does not stand to defend the approach taken and is more interested in ways of improving the overall situation.

SYNOPSIS
This paper is to be taken as an investigation as opposed to research into the image of Home Economics (HE) and attempts to provide an overview of replies received from those within it. It also identifies some of the problems within HE and calls for further opinion on how those problems might be diminished.
Numerous responses stressed that "..HE still means cookery..", and is.."a low status occupation..; that HE teachers in schools are often required for "arranging the pressing of trousers" and "providing Governors' Teas"; and that "they have only themselves to blame". "Definitely a Cinderella subject.." as many proclaim. Several attempted a definition of HE but, in the end, we have to recognise that "it means something different in every school". Many think that it is Housecraft and not HE which is taught in schools and query the ability of HE teacher training graduates to teach at this level.
Further comment on HE courses in colleges included the need to widen awareness of career opportunities beyond "Home Economist required"; the need for HEs to sell products and themselves; and in the higher level courses, "to be able to cook"(!). Many HE teachers who responded, recommend their pupils to go into Hotel and Catering rather than follow an HE course in a college.
There is also a need to arrive at a generally accepted definition of what HE constitutes. This could lead to a renaming but if we head in the direction of "Human Ecology" or similar names, will the best of HE be lost? However, such a definition should still permit a variable local interpretation in order to accommodate the individual interests and expertise of the practitioner, and to be able to meet the needs of the individual consumer of HE.
It will be apparent that there has been little or no 'official' response and associations and individuals in positions of leadership within HE (and others, of course) may be concerned to identify solutions to many unanswered questions concerning its future.

CONTENTS
Introduction
1            The Present Image of Home Economics
1.1        Comments Received on 'Image'
1.2        'Definition'
1.2.1      Comments Received
1.2.2      Quotations
 
2            The Teaching of Home Economics
2.1        Teaching in Schools
2.2        College Teaching


3            Professional Considerations
3.1        Preliminary Remarks
3.2        Comments Received


4            Towards an Improved Image of Home Economics
4.1        Home Economics - A Subject by a Better Name?
4.2        Redefining the Definition
4.3        Where do we go from here?
 
page 1
 


INTRODUCTION
Letters were sent to schools, colleges, journals, The Times Educational Supplement, industrial employers and to freelance home economists. These pointed out some of the problems faced by HE and requested views on its image. Although a small proportion of the letters sent, many replies were received. Those included here are but a sample but this is not fully representative for reasons to be explained.
It is necessary to state at the initial stages that the investigator was fully aware that the topic is controversial and that there would be many whose reaction would not be complimentary. While the number of adverse written comments (about the investigation) received while the investigation was being carried out was extremely small it must be said that when a 'progress report' was given before a seminar at Canterbury in June, the reaction was that it is wrong to draw attention to the negative aspects of the image which HE portrays. However, it was clearly stated then that the material presented  was entirely representative of the replies received and that the investigator has no particular axe to grind. The unconstructively critical energy would be better harnessed to  HE's improvement. This type of reaction is the main reason for keeping personal opinion to an absolute minimum.
In view of the June reaction a subsequent stage of the investigation included writing to all those who replied previously and to those who attended the June seminar. The emphasis was on supplying positive aspects of the HE image, what is done within HE today and ways in which the negative aspects of the image can be reduced. Although the general lack of response was highlighted, there was not an improved response rate but the request was made near the end of the school term and probably after those in colleges had started their vacation. The following paper is different from the June one and a swing to the positive is discernable.

Response to the 'Investigation'
Many of those who replied prefaced their contribution with remarks like "This isn't very good/going to help much but .. ". There was immense variability in the standard of college leaflets sent, both in content and reproduction and the poor ones do nothing for the image of HE. Many replies were full, informative and an enthusiasm to do good was evident.
It is appropriate, however, to give instances of the general lack of response. On  12 April 1985, the Times Educational Supplement kindly published my letter inviting comments including "good news" about what is going on in HE today and its image. No more than five replies were received. A similar letter was distributed to over 200 HE teachers at a Digby Stuart conference on 27 April 1985. Only one reply was received from that initiative and the same number from a letter published by the Institute of HE in July. (Time of writing is August 14.) Some thirty letters were sent to freelance Home Economists and a perhaps encouraging response of fourteen replies was received. There were other batches with equally disappointing results. However, many of the seventy colleges contacted replied at some length to questions relating to courses as well as image.
Clearly, the answers must come from within Home Economics rather than looking to the outside world for salvation. Various industrial concerns were contacted but none replied.

Abbreviations used:
     HEC - HE Colleges - COL
     HEI -  Freelance HEs - ie HEs in Industry
     HES-HE - HE Teachers in Schools
     TES - In response to letter published in April.
     IHE - In response to letter pub July (one)
     HEA - HE Adviser (one) '
     STU - Student on HE degree course
 
Each respondent is referenced with a number (except if one only) preceded by one of the above abbreviations and each respondent was informed of this in July.
"T Ed S" will abbreviate Times Educational Supplement "Extra" feature on HE, 19 April 1985.
 
1        THE PRESENT IMAGE OF HOME ECONOMICS

1.1     COMMENTS RECEIVED ON 'IMAGE'

"The one thing that has always struck me in whatever sphere I am working is that HE still means 'cookery' to anyone but those actively engaged in HE who therefore appreciate its true meaning." (HEI 1)
"The public at large still have the attitude to HE generated by their own school - the less able do 'cooking'." (HEI 6)
"In schools - most parents regard Home Economics to be cookery - pupils would say it's learning about cooking, the home, needlework etc." (HEC 18).
"From my experience in secondary schools, I should tend to agree that HE is not regarded very highly by many headmasters. There is a problem regarding equipment, shortage of time for classes, resources etc. Many HE teachers have great difficulty in establishing their courses because careers guidance often 'pushes' them (presumably the pupils) towards more academic subjects... it also appears that the less academic pupils are guided towards HE often leaving teachers with a large proportion of non-exam classes." (HEC 39)
"I'd quite fancy teaching a bit of cooking next year - it's not difficult is it?' The latter might be taken from any school - but I do feel that staff and children alike regard our subject as 'anyone can have a go'." (TES 2c)
 
page 2
 

 
"Since I began teaching my attitude towards my subject has changed considerably. I chose this subject because I was good at it, but soon realized the pitfalls, here are some examples:
a) On teaching practice I was asked to iron somebody's cricket trousers!
b) At my first teaching post several of the staff asked if there were children free to wash their laundry!
c) Many times have I been asked if I have a child who is not 'cooking' - can they run an errand?, and the piece de resistance - Governors' Teas!
-------------------
In other words, in the eyes of colleagues and many Heads, Home Economics is a very domestic subject and the mere idea of actually teaching anything other than cooking would surprise many teachers, so what image do we convey to the parents and what, if any, to the general public?" (TES 3a)
"We are at present spending all available free time restructuring the HE syllabii throughout the school, to keep pace with the demands of pupil needs, modern technology and a constantly changing environment within school and the wider community. We have worked very hard to kill the the image of a 'catering and laundry' department..." (HES 17)
"HE is not the only subject area which suffers with a poor image with parents, industry and the public. This may be in part due to uninformed opinion and prejudices from the past, but must also be due to poor publicity..." (HES 37)
"The status of HE in this (Grammar) school is high and earns the respect of parents, staff and governors.. Its wide approach, which is line with the national criteria, is one of the major reasons for the department's success and for our optimum for the future." (HES 3)
"The grammar school where I took 'A' Level HE ... excellent staff, department and reputation." (STU)
"...many schools have no idea of the content or complexity of the subject generally referred to as HE." (HEC47)
"Whereas HE may not enjoy the status of Language, Mathematics and Science, one could argue that there is an element of truth in the statement that I believe is attributed to Bertrand Russell - people who consider themselves to be inferior often are!" (HEA)
It is important to note that the main criticisms come from home economists themselves and relatively few comments were made pointing out the good things in HE although views were requested.
 
1.2.1   COMMENTS RECEIVED ON 'DEFINITION'

"I am afraid you are tackling an impossible task in the sense that I doubt if is really susceptible to analysis.”
The problems are: a) HE is not a subject/discipline as commonly understood - it is a multidisciplinary subject with multidisciplinary objectives. b) The subject taught in schools is substantially different from that taught in colleges in content ie degree courses are not simply an academic deepening of the subject,
c) There is no simple definition of the subject which conveys concisely what it is about... Definitions will vary from county to county, d) The subject in most colleges, apart from B Ed, is not taught with teaching careers in mind, but from a vocational point of view...
The label 'HE' is only retained by most colleges because of the lack of a good alternative." (COL 6)
"My own experience is that schools vary in their approach to the issues you raise about resourcing and defining the subject." (HBC49)
"There has always been a problem over the definition of the role of the Home Economist both in Education and in Industry. The subject is not 'pure' and the application of science, art, management etc. to it must result in overlap with other specialist areas. It is possible that the Home Economics teacher has become a 'Jack of all trades and master of none' so diverse are the subjects she now undertakes." (HEC 2)
"Home Economics is the ability to make the best use of resources to run an efficient household and look after a family." (HEC 18)
"As I see it...there should be two quite distinct aims...when teaching HE in schools:-
To ensure that children leave school with the knowledge and practical skills to look after themselves, their home and individuals in their family competently... .
To ensure that those young people who enjoy HE, and particularly the craft skills, realise that there are a number of courses and outlets for people with these aptitudes and abilities." (HEC 36)
 
1.2.2   QUOTATIONS ON 'DEFINITION' (and related issues)

"In many schools the relevance of HE to the education of all pupils is neither acknowledged nor accepted. The department will no doubt recognise that the skills for personal independence which are taught through HE are an important aspect of the education of all children and the perception of HE as an alternative area of study to CDT is misguided." (Equal Opportunities in HE: EOC, 1982) (Supplied by HEC 61)
 
page 3

 
"A study of the inter-relationships between the provision of food, clothing, shelter and related services, and man's physical, economic, social and aesthetic needs in the context of the home." (Inst of HE -sent by HES 37)
"The value of HE is that it is a study of both social and commercial issues." (Gillian Campbell, T Ed S p59.)
"HE is the study of the household group, its values and relationship, and its interaction with the community of which it is part." (EOC, 1982:p3)
 
2            THE TEACHING OF HOME ECONOMICS

2.1        TEACHING IN SCHOOLS
2.1.1      Housecraft?

"Personally I think that the situation you suggest is developing in schools is because what is being taught there is NOT home economics but housecraft. Home economics is, a very wide discipline coming from basic roots and I think should not be attempted in the schools as such, however much people may point to the O and A level needs. I would rather have the schools ground people in the basic crafts, and leave specialist training until college. Many of the things taught in school have to be unlearnt at college, whereas things like good English, writing, application to work, etc. don't seem to get a look in - home economists may have to have English as a condition of starting a home economics training, but through bitter experience I can say that it is abysmally bad English, especially when they are required to write reports, etc." (HEI 12)  (A fair number of similar comments received, and dare it be repeated, quite a few with 'bad English' - some of the more illuminating spelling mistakes have been corrected.)
 
2.1.2   Food and Cookery
"There is still a place for practical cookery in schools but with the current trend towards junk foods and fast foods an adequate knowledge of basic nutritional guidelines is essential. There are some good private girls schools which still look down on 'cookery' and seem to be unaware that basic Home Economics skills are required whatever your career and social position. Home Economists bridge the academic gap between cooks and nutritionists and can often put over information in simpler terms and in a more practical manner." (HEI 14)
"The aim of the Home Economics teacher in schools is to ensure that the child leaves school with the practical knowledge and skills of how to look after himself.
Nowadays, the error is made all too often of assuming the child learns these things in the home. Sadly, many do not and only perpetuate the conditions in which they have been brought up. Following the publication of the 'James Report' and government support there is enormous scope for Home Economists in schools to emphasise the teaching of nutrition." (HEC 36)
"Contrary to your comment re the HE teacher having nothing left to do but teach cooking, I feel that she should off load as much as she can without feeling her importance or use being threatened. This leaves her time to concentrate on the food and nutrition theory which is special to her expertise and which has changed so much in recent years." (HEI 5d)
"Our pupils seem very broadminded over the food they prepare and enjoy experimenting. If I think they are really going to dislike something I do a demonstration and make them taste - usually things like offal and fish - often convert them." (HES 20a)
"It is very true that we are very dependent on the will of parents to provide ingredients, and they do think they should dictate what I teach _ which of course is only that which is already familiar to the children - therefore no ground to progress. As the status quo is to send children to school with no breakfast and a bag full of additives for lunch, with chip sandwiches planned for tea - it doesn't give us much scope!" (TES 4)
"The resourcing problem will vary around the country... unfortunately there are strong 'moral' attitudes towards providing food as an experimental material, even in colleges, and a usable end product is expected -there are no easy answers." (COL 6)
"In ILEA... all costs are borne by the school and pupils are not expected to pay.”
 
2.1.3   Acceptance..Science etc.
"I agree that the core content of HE could be developed in other subject areas especially caring, sociology, some modules of science. We tend never to be drawn into other subjects. In courses with a Life-Skills core, an experienced HE teacher could be the central figure/adviser. Such a person would need science, sociology and at least one of the practical areas (child care, food preparation, fashion, home management) at their fingertips." (HEC 21)
"It is very striking how the subject is approached so differently in different schools and this is basically due I think for two reasons – a  The enlightenment or not of the head teacher to realise that home economics is a science subject along with physics and chemistry and not just baking scones, b The way in which the teacher herself promotes the subject and her self esteem as being well trained and her subject important - some think they are lesser mortals because they do not have something like a degree in modern languages." (HEI 5b)
"At present I am teaching Home Economics to 11-16 year olds in a comprehensive school in Berkshire. The school, up until 4 years ago, was a boys' secondary modern - as a result the acceptance of the subject by an all-male staff has taken time. However, we are proving our worth slowly - if only by the sheer numbers of children opting for the subject.
 
page 4



 
In this particular school where the emphasis is on 'academic' attainment I do not suffer from other subjects 'trespassing' as such on my ground - indeed I encourage an integral approach. Strangely enough our science department prefers not to be associated with such a 'domestic subject'." (TES 2a)
"In the Grammar School - particularly single sex schools, the problem is two fold. First and foremost Home Economics teachers in 1969 did not need a degree - how can one equate a subject with no degree? Definitely a Cinderella subject and many condescending remarks have been made to me by my 'colleagues' in my present school. Most are totally ignorant of what and how we teach Home Economics, unless they enter my room and see the many posters on Dietary Goals and the importance of sound Nutrition." (TES 3c)
 
2.1.4   Teachers
"I have had comments made to me that young teachers are leaving college really up to date and keen but are thwarted in their attempts to teach new ideas because an outdated HE teacher is head of department... dare I mention it - teacher assessment!" (HEI 5) ...
..."Yet some teachers I know arc very up to date and realise that this is essential if they are ever going to cope with the new syllabus for the 16+ exam." (HEI 5)
"Without wishing to slate our fellow HEs, we do feel that many teachers in schools and some in colleges are very behind the times in their teaching. It appears that either updating courses are not available or the teachers cannot be bothered to find out about new developments themselves... they need to .. shake off the 'weak and willowy' cooks image." (HEC18)
"What you say of the subject provision has been highlighted time and again. ... Much of the 'takeover' problem is due to the fact that HE teachers, ... , do not make their voices heard within an academic framework." (HEC 28)
"Because HE is such a wide subject... it may be subject to a take over of certain areas by socialist teachers... much will depend on the HE teacher's ability to convince her colleagues of the true nature of her subject and her skill to teach it." (HEC 37) (see also HEI 5b in para 2 of 2.1.3)
"...teachers must be prepared to articulate individually and in groups what their subject is about and be prepared to enter into the sometimes extensive curriculum planning exercises now taking place in schools." (HEC 49)
"HE at all levels must respond to the challenge and take an active rather than a passive role in school curriculum planning." (J Hadley and B Paulson , T Ed S p58)
"...the new teachers are reaping the harvest sown by earlier generations - typically the HE teacher disclaimed any ability to teach in areas other than food and textile out of a lack of confidence or whatever - they therefore created a condition where areas of work were taken over by other staff. My experience is also that the HE teachers are more likely to moan than to take action...You should advise them to take the matter up with the HMI or to prepare a positive document which makes their case for teaching the material. They need encouraging to be more aggressive and positive in making their case." (COL 6)
"Any HE teacher who designs or accepts a 'cooking' curriculum and marks solely for the appearance of an end result is a cooking instructor not an educator concerned with the development of HE related learning skills." (HEA)
 
2.2     COLLEGE TEACHING
The reader is left to distinguish between comment from/relevant to colleges offering HE courses and those concerned with teacher training.
"...HE is so widely taught in the (ROSLA) schools' 5th year that there is barely any mileage left for the FE College." (HEC 10)
"Saddest of all things in training is ... the lack of basic craft skills at all levels of qualification. This is so important to a home economist, even if she does not consciously use it in her working life - knowing the how and why behind things is never a waste of time. There is a vicious circle here - it is not taught in schools because the teachers have not been taught it in the colleges. ... this worries me, because I wonder whether it reflects the attitude that an HE teacher need never look at another up-dating course in her life ... could it be that the colleges unwittingly give them this impression?" (HEI 12)
"The standard of students' cookery is poor. Far less time seems to be spent on practical cookery now than 15 years ago. It is a skill that forms the basis for many jobs." (HEI 18)
"... a new member of an HE Dept in a Technical College ...had done a 3 year HE degree to go into industrial HE - and not once had she spent any time in industry: She now wants to learn to cook (to a higher standard) to enable her to teach her BTEC students!! I feel that advanced HE training has gone 'over the top'." (HEC 18)
"As a student at HE college I feel I have been very well instructed in basic craft skills. Whether we choose to specialise in Food Studies, textiles or science we are all required to learn and maintain skills in all aspects of our subject." (STU)
"As an industry we often find that the majority of students leaving college have a lack of craft skills. Therefore, we have to now spend time training and developing their demonstration and recipe development skills ... In some respects it seems that HE has diversified so much as a subject that the standard of the 'essential' topics has fallen." (HEI 18)
  
page 5



 
"On the teacher training side all our graduates find posts in schools because there is such a shortage... It is partly because of this shortage that non-HEs are being used to teach some aspects of this subject in schools." (HEC 32)
"Our students are highly successful in acquiring jobs - good ones. All our teacher trainees find posts very easily and are highly commended. The other graduates (75%) go into a wide range of jobs..." (HEC 28)
 
 
3      PROFESSIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

3.1     PRELIMINARY REMARKS
We can concern ourselves with the central issues to securing professional status for HE teachers in schools and colleges as well as for those who pass through the courses which are offered by them. They seek professional status in their chosen careers. There may well be other considerations to be discussed at the conference.
 
3.2     COMMENTS RECEIVED

3.2.1   'Home Economist' mentioned in Advertisements

"I am becoming increasingly aware that often the future holds more than we often realise for a qualified Home Economics student. Many opportunities for Home Economists do not refer to Home Economics. For example we have local Domiciliary Care Officers, members of Social Worker and Occupational Therapy teams who are qualified Home Economists." (HEC 20)
"In relation to Home Economics the point to stress is that students qualifying are not teachers but find employment in a diversity of positions, many of which do not include the job title Home Economist." (HEC 23)
There were many such comments but the issue has been identified at least as early as 1982 in the AHE Occasional Paper No l, p 10.
"Employers in industry first want to sell their product and this is the basis of all HE. employment be it food, appliances, magazines, etc. This is often forgotten by course tutors and students cannot 'sell themselves' to the employers .... they expect a home economist to present their package in an acceptable way to the public." (HEI 6)
"As far as Home Economics courses and careers prospects are concerned it is difficult to identify posts which require only HE skills." (HEC 2)
 
3.2.2   The Careers Service
"The Careers Service seems to be unclear about Home Economics and I feel their apathy reflects the apparent lack of job advertisements asking for a Home Economist. The skills of an academic Home Economist are not understood or perhaps accepted, neither are the organisational disciplines necessary in the practically tested areas of Home Economics. I feel Home Economics should be subsidised to help overcome any problems." (HEC 21)
"The Careers Service was able to give no help or advice when I was making decisions about my career... they were totally unaware of the kinds of opportunities available to HEs in industry today." (STU).

3.2.3   The Age Barrier
"... the main problem I experienced after training ... is that you may be trained at 19 or 20 years of age and jobs available insist on 'experience' and often a minimum age of 21 or 25 years." (HEI 1) (Worse for those completing a two year diploma course straight from school.)

3.2.4   “Try Catering” (numerous comments in this style - see also 3.2.5)
"The advice I used to give pupils at school who were keen on pursuing Home Economics as a subject was: a) Do a Home Economics Certificate or Diploma course to work as a Home Economist in Industry - good jobs, Interesting, country-wide, etc., or b) Do Industrial Management or Hotel Management - fairly good but shift hours, or c) Do a 2-year Catering Course - hotel and entering industry, or d) Try for the Forces Catering Corps." (HEC 18)
"When advising pupils re careers in HE, I find that unless they want to go into catering they are just not interested - boys or girls. We spend many hours trying to show them the various pathways to success and openings possible in HE but our words seem to fall on stony ground. Much more attractively produced publicity material please." (HES 21)
"Prospective students interested in food may be directed towards catering as jobs seem available in this "industry." (HEC 21)

3.2.5   “Try Teaching Other Subjects”
"I should have mentioned that I trained in Home Economics and shortly after qualifying entered Further Education and found that advancement came
with taking over work on the Further Education Teacher's Certificate course and in undertaking greater amounts of administration to Head of Department level. In the early days I saw greater opportunities more readily available in catering and all other vocational subjects and so eventually left my own specialist subject area for promotion elsewhere." (HEC 2)
  
page 6


 
4        TOWARDS AN IMPROVED IMAGE OF HOME ECONOMICS

4.1     HOME ECONOMICS - A SUBJECT BY A BETTER NAME?

"Regarding careers in HE. I think many of the problems arise because one title covers HE teachers and those in industry and those who work with magazines and so on." (HEI 5)
"It is perhaps because it is rather an umbrella sort of term covering so many job outlets that it cannot be defined by the public, so they tend to ignore it away from the class room where it still has the cooking label..."
"Name changes in the field of HE are not new. ... As a profession we must be prepared to change to meet the changing needs of society..." (Gillian Campbell, T Ed S p59)
If there is a movement towards names such as "Human Ecology" and "Consumer Arts (and Technology?)" is it not true that the HE ideal could soon be lost?
 
4.2     REDEFINING THE DEFINITION

"The introduction of Child Care and Caring has tended to blur the edges and widen an already wide subject to its detriment, I think. Once you bring in caring, child development, etc., one is into nursing, first aid, health, human biology, etc., that begins to lose the original concept of HE ie the ability to make the best use of resources to run an efficient household and look after a family." (HEC 18)
The question of definition is crucial in respect of deciding whether a definition is really required and what use it might serve - as some nave said - HE may be beyond definition. More to the point is getting over to the public mind what it entails.
 
 4. 3     WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

4.3.1    Academic Acceptance

"The fight for recognition of HE in 0 and A level has been long and until the subject is accepted by colleges and universities as an entrance subject, the fight will take longer. Thus in school the subject is not offered to the more academically able and so parents shy away train it as a choice. Degree courses in HE helped to give a standing to the subject but these graduates provided theorists not practical people to industry." (HEI 6)
"We think it is absolutely disgraceful that HE is not acceptable as an entry qualification (to teacher training). In the past, one of my pupils was told that Art or RE would be accepted but not F&N (Food & Nutrition)." (HES 36) (The same letter proposed that this paper be sent to universities. Others suggest that this would be entirely inappropriate and that is probably correct. HE has the job of improving its acceptability rather than saying that others should accept it.)
 
4.3.2 Status Quo?
"The strength of the subject is the interrelationship of the parts. Separation into other subjects will once again lead to the old problem that pupils find when 'gobbets of knowledge are taught..." (HEC 28)
"HE is a very wide and varied subject and it needs to be stressed that even if other 'specialists' are taking special topics, it is still HE and only when all these areas are bound together is the subject of value." (NEC 45)
 
4.3.3 Improving the Image
"a) That FE colleges and universities accept 0 & A level HE subjects...b) Recruitment of a higher percentage of male HE teachers is to be encouraged. c) In the present climate, staffing with highly qualified persons must be a problem when education is at a disadvantage in providing financial incentive and status. d) Emphasis should be made that students qualifying in any of the HE areas will be moving into personal services that will always be required in an ever-changing technological society." (HES 37)
Regarding male entrants to the profession, Campbell (T Ed S p59) indicates that the name HE" 'is a turn off' to potential applicants especially males..."
"I believe that many HEs are inflating the subject out of all proportion and forgetting that it is the one subject in school which should educate for day to day life." (HES 21)
"Changing the attitudes of teachers, parents, employers and society as a whole will take time. It will require positive encouragement for boys to take HE. This will come through the acceptance of its intrinsic worth, a recognition of its contribution to the development of life skills, an acknowledgement of its social importance and of its value in vocational terms." (Schep, 1982:4)
"It is now high time HEs' thinking caught up with the relevance of HE to problems of contemporary life." (Waring, The Home Economist, vol 4, 1984:27)
"If HE continues to be taught traditionally, the subject will become obsolete in schools. If it's taught to reflect modern lifestyle by placing emphasis on areas such as consumer education and nutrition, it will survive." (Anne Rees - quoted by Smith, T Ed S p53)
"You're an HE, will you wash my shirt?" was a common plea during my undergraduate days from fellow students newly released from their mothers' apron strings. 'I'm a HE. I prepare the labels so that idiots like you can wash your own shirts' ...but I really can't cook!" (French, T Ed S p55)
 
page 7


 
4.3.4   Time to Appraise?
"After twenty years as a practising HE in teaching and in industry, regrettably I have to report that the requirement for a HE education in my work has very nearly diminished altogether... The role of the HE has been reduced to little more than that of appliance sales person...The HE commands little or no professional respect since her skills are undervalued and no longer relevant. ...(However) ...I have not totally given up hope that in the future the expertise and skills of a trained HE may, once again, be of value to my industry." (IHE 1)
On the matter of the trained HE as mere sales person many respondents had plenty to say. The AHE document (pl7) previously cited virtually accepts this situation.
 
4.3.5 General
While the comments received are generally full and clear as to what a person responding feels is wrong with HE, very few came up with solutions. If the image needs to be changed then how will this be achieved? If it is thought that more males should enter the field of HE how will this be brought about? If there have been so many responses which establish HE's present status and posing problems concerning its future, is it enough to damn the person who publicises them? There would have been no need for a conference paper if all it did was to blow the HE trumpet. Home economists of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your image!
 


-------------------------------------------------


A letter published in the Times Educational Supplement 12 April 1985 appears after the bibliography.
  
 
Books etc consulted include:
 
 
 
 
 
BRITISH MARKET RESEARCH BUREAU
 
Food Facts & Fallacies
 
BMRB London 1969
 
BROWN, A.M. McKENZIE, E.J.C. YUDKIN,J
 
Knowledge in Nutrition Among Housewives in a London Suburb
 
Nutrition Vol 17 pl6-20 1963
 
BURMAN,G
 
FEAST Progress: Theory into Practice: Part One
 
Home Economics Vol 27 No 3 March 1981
 
CENTRE FOR AGRICULTURAL STRATEGY
 
National Food Policy in the U.K.
 
College of Estate Manage­ment, Reading Berks 1979
 
COLLINS, S.C.
 
School Catering: The Place for Change?
 
Postgraduate Medical Journal Vol 56, August 1980 p6lO-6l2
 
DANIELS, C
 
Integrated Subjects
 
Home Economics, Vol 27 No 2 February 1981
 
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & SCIENCE
 
Nutrition in Schools: Report of the Working Party on Nutritional Aspects of School Meals
 
HMSO 1975
 
HARRISON, A.F.
 
Food Education & School Meals. Are they on separate tables?
 
Nutrition & Food Science Vol p2-5 Jan/Feb 1983
 
JAMES, W. P. T.
 
Problems in Implementing a Good Food & Nutrition Policy in Britain
 
Postgraduate Medical Journal Vol 56, p597-60 August 1980
 
 
 
 
 
 
ROBBINS, C.J.
 
Health & Agricultural Policies: A Conflict (in) Soil Food & Health (Barlow, K and Bunyard, P (eds))
 
AB Academic Publishers 1981
 
 
SCHOOLS COUNCIL HEALTH EDUCATION COUNCIL
 
Co-ordinator's Guide: Health Education
13-18 . Project 

 
 
 
'Schep' 1982
 
                      

WelcomeAllGreenSociety/1Society/2..IWFSDrinkPubsCuisineHaggis HealthStudentsLecturersPubsAuthorSpeakerContact Common Page