On Teaching Food and Farming…

If you join one of my Junior Agriculture or Home Economics classes, you can’t escape the conversation about agriculture!! I won’t ever “bash” you over the head with facts or attempt to bore you. I just encourage you as a student to begin to reflect a little more and to hopefully engage your curiosity further …

In Home Economics we focus on the needs of the individual and family and the community. Food is something that nourishes and sustains us. Many of us spend a great deal of time buying it, preparing it  and we all have to eat. It would be possible, but reckless of me to let you think it all just came from a store or supermarket!  And yet I still commonly encounter students who are not sure what butter really is or that beef is from cattle. No one is made to feel silly; I consider it an honor to help you to find out more.

Upon commencing Agriculture, I ask my students for the “truth” as to why they joined the class. The reasons are varied and interesting. Last year they included such reasons as –

* It’s fun to work with your hands.

* This is a slacko subject!

* You don’t have to do much writing.

* You learn about fun stuff.

* You get to play with animals.

* You learn about farming.

I tell students at the start, that even if they are not interested in considering a career in Agriculture, that at the very least, they will come out with a new perspective on the importance of Agriculture to our everyday existence. We simply can’t survive without it.

Some are disappointed to learn that there is writing involved, as well as practical activities and soon most realise it can be great fun without being “slacko”. It is wonderful to watch the deeper conversations evolve from students who may not have thought of themselves as “smart”, and the questions that come tumbling out when exploring different aspects of the subject.

I don’t always have the answers, and I’m not afraid to admit that, which is why we love farming mentors, but I’ll lead all you potential farmers into that next time…..

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6 thoughts on “On Teaching Food and Farming…

  1. Looking forward to reading your posts. It’s great to know there are teachers so passionate about education. I know when I was at high school home ec wasn’t seen as a serious subject, and I don’t know how to change that perception. Your certainly doing your part though!

  2. Thank you so much krystle for your kind remarks. I am also inspired on a daily basis by the quality and passion of the teachers I work with. I believe that Agriculture and Home Economics have sometime suffered from image problems! Both can lead to a great varieties of careers, and ensuring they both remain as important subjects within the scope of the National Curriculum will be the next challenge.

  3. Congratulations Lisa, I loved Home Economics at school mainly because of an extraordinary teacher and her love of everything she taught. It certainly was not a bludge subject for us, nutrition and food science kept us all busy. Lovely to see another wonderful teacher sharing what she loves!
    Christina csnorthstar

    • Hi Christina, am so glad to hear of your experiences in Home Economics at school. Senior Home Economics is certainly no bludge, and relies upon an extensive investigation of nutrition, food science and research techniques.
      I was inspired to teach by my fabulous Home Economics teacher, Geni Pappas, whom I was delighted to learn, entered into one of the first series of Masterchef. What a suprise it was to see her on the television!

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