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Browsing by Author "Suonpää, Kati"

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  • Suonpää, Kati (2019)
    Aims. This thesis discusses the possibilities of participative and action-based food education in home economics education and school mealtimes in comprehensive schools. The aim of this thesis is to discuss how the co-operation and combining of home economics teaching and school lunches can assist in reaching the goals of food education, such as the development of food sense. The study is based on previous research within food education, school lunches and student participation, as well as the national documents for steering education. School mealtimes as situations for formal learning are not vastly studied in Finland. The aim of the participative food education is to help students reach significant goals of well-being and lifelong learning, as well as increase the number of students who eat diversely. Methods. The data were gathered with half-structured thematic interviews. The individual interviews took place in three schools in Helsinki. In each school, either home economics teachers, school catering staff, or both, were interviewed. In total, there were six informants and the interviews were 17-35 minutes. These interviews produced 62 sheets of literal transcriptions. The data is analyzed thematically. The results were interpreted with the help of the definition participation and participativeness (Niemi et al. 2018) and the three-level model of food sense (Janhonen et al. 2018). Results and conclusions. Three main themes were found in the analysis: the educational potential of school lunches, student-led development and inclusion, and school’s adults as enablers of food educational cooperation. The interviewees’ degree of self-awareness of their role as food educators was found to be an important factor behind formal food education. Co-operational food education benefits from the recognition of participation as an aim of pedagogical activities. In addition, different co-operative projects, school celebrations, themes connected with sustainable development, and including students as responsible participants help the co-operation. On the other hand, lack of resources, fragmented nature of employment tasks and schools catering staff’s shortage of education in (food)education prevented the co-operation in this study. The study implies that educational aims midst school lunches are not systematic nor target-oriented, at least as co-operative effort since they lack both resources and action plans on the school level. Utilizing the three-level model of food sense in the evaluation of the realization of food education showed that in the context of formal schooling, the structural changes in methods are challenging to execute or achieved without the support and commitment of school’s adults. This study concludes that the development of formal food education to become more participative demands expertise and time, as well as school’s food educators’ personal passion and interest in the matter.