A recipe for citizenship

20th April 2001 at 01:00
Thank heaven for all those erudite curriculum papers which have enriched the educational scene since the sixties and which have explored, among other debates, the place of home economics in the curriculum.

This "field of knowledge", with its multi-disciplinary approach to learning and teaching, can be an empowering vehicle for delivering many diverse skills. Developing informed attitudes about the nature of its potential is, one would hope, a prerequisite to any useful discourse.

Research conducted by Moray House College of Education (Assessment in Home Economics, 1985) stated that "the complexity of home economics as a subject for pupils lies in the processes of making choices (through which a pupil must go) and in the actual carrying out of decisons following choice. The skills which a pupil uses in making a choice - seeking relevant information, weighing up pros and cons - are more important than the actual decisions reached because they are skills which will be used repeatedly throughout life."

Whether addressing the criteria for designing and making an item, arguing the semantics of good citizenship, or navigating the minefield of prevailing attitudes to human sexual behaviour (TESS, March 30) young people will test the validity of the conclusions reached by the reseachers in their home economics classrooms. Transferring learning, from school to home and beyond, is the challenge home economists relish.

Eileen Mullen Adviser in technology North Lanarkshire Council, Coatbridge

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