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Delivering skills

As a principal teacher of home economics, with many years experience, I was disappointed to read the negative and ill-informed comment of Marj Adams (TESS, October 28) regarding the training of future home economics teachers.

I was, however, pleased to see that Iain Smith, dean of the education faculty at Strathclyde University, redressed the balance with his letter in last week's issue and I would like to add the teachers' viewpoint to that.

In a school where student teachers are welcomed in many subject areas, I have been fortunate enough to work with several in the home economics department and feel that we offer them a well-rounded insight into a large, very busy, forward-thinking department, where the use of modern technology at all levels has been endorsed and is constantly moving forward for the benefit of the pupils.

The learning experience is so important that basic skills are essential to be able to embrace the Aladdin's cave of new and exciting opportunities offered by ICT.

Marj Adams's comment about teaching students the basics of threading a sewing machine shows that she has no conception of what happens within a modern home economics department and the chaos that can ensue if ill-informed teachers are given 20 S1 pupils working at different machines with no knowledge of the first important step needed.

Knowledge of computers is all very well, but everyone requires to be able to walk before they run. Perhaps it is simpler to assume that student teachers can cope with the concept of pupils being able to read.

Can I suggest that Marj Adams pays a visit to a home economics department to grasp the complexities of teaching a class, rather than providing negative comments about vital training of future teachers who are so desperately needed.

Joy McLeod Principal teacher of home economics, Renfrewshire

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