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Students´ Encounters during Formalized Cooking Practices in Home‐  and Consumer Studies
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1955-4591
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduction

Cooking a meal is a complex event that involves coordinating muscle movements and cognitions while at the same time responding to sensorial perceptions and navigating and shaping societal structures (Wolfson et al., 2017). The art of cooking has traditionally been transferred through apprenticeship, involving continuous engagement with the physical and sensory qualities of food (Jaffe & Gertler, 2006). In Sweden, cooking is by tradition a prominent part of the Home- and consumer studies (HCS) education and a common arrangement of a HCS lesson is that students, by following a recipe, prepare a complete meal together and then eat it (Hjälmeskog, 2006; Lindblom, Erixon Arreman, Bohm, & Hörnell, 2016). These formalized cooking practices entail a great potential to enrich students’ food- and cooking-related experiences and meaning making. However, little is documented about situations that occur during formalized cooking practices in HCS, and what consequences for the students´ meaning making these situations bring about. The present study will target this research gap, and the research questions are: Which encounters can be seen to disrupt the students’ activity during formalized cooking practices in HCS class? How do the students act to proceed with the activity in these situations? What consequences can be seen for the students’ meaning making?

As a theoretical point of departure, a pragmatist, transactional understanding of meaning making is held. ‘Meaning making’ is used to describe learning processes that include individual- as well as social and institutional aspects (Rogoff, 1995). This way of making meaning by acting in the world is what Dewey, in his later works, calls transaction (Dewey & Bentley, 1960). To use the words of Wickman (2004), ‘the meaning people make is always imbedded in a practice with its aims and the socially shared meanings needed for participating’ (Wickman, 2004, p. 327). In accordance with John Dewey´s transactional perspective, meaning making is consequently seen as continuous and visible in, and through, students´ actions (Dewey, 1938/1997).

Method

As a part of a more extensive case study where the data collection takes place during the full school year of 2017/2018, the author conducted classroom observations of HCS lessons in one school class at an elementary school in Stockholm, Sweden during fall 2017. Study participants were two HCS-teachers and a total of ten students in Swedish eighth grade (13-14 years of age), some of them being observed at more than one occasion. The material consists of digital video documentation from the observations, where the students cook in pairs. The observed occasions were selected in agreement with the participating teachers and met the criteria of including practical elements of cooking. Videos from fourteen observations recorded during seven different occasions are included, each comprising on average 44 minutes of video recording and resulting in a total of 616 minutes of video data. Ethical guidelines by the Swedish Research Council (2002) are followed throughout the research process and an approval by the Regional Ethical Review Board in Uppsala have been obtained (ref. no. 2017/230).

The teachers´ and students´ actions during the cooking sessions were studied through practical epistemology analysis (PEA) (Wickman & Östman, 2002). The emphasis was on describing what the students encounter, how they act to proceed with the activity, and the relationship in-between. Actions are not only considered in terms of physical movements of the body; the students also act (and make meaning) through participation in language-games. Thus, rather than considering the students´ talk in a representative, mentalist way as outer statements of an unknown inner mind, focus was on the use of words and utterances in situated action (cf. Wickman, 2006, p. 32). The initial analysis was primarily conducted by the author. However, the preliminary results presented below have been agreed upon in discussion with two associated researchers.

Preliminary results

Preliminary results show that the students struggle when facing cooking steps that require subjective assessments based on sensory experiences, e.g. when they need to look at, or feel, the food to make decisions. The students carry out repetitive actions and/or look for support from their surrounding (e.g. peers, teachers) to be able to move on with the activity in a fruitful way. These strategies can have a negative impact on the sensory qualities of the food, and lead to socially shared meanings that are not in accordance with the teacher´s intentions. Awareness of the students’ meaning making in the classroom practice encourages a discussion about teachers’ roles, choices and potential consequences of these.

References

Dewey, J. (1938/1997) Experience and education. New York: Touchstone.               

Dewey, J., & Bentley, A. F. (1960) Knowing and the known. Boston: Beacon Press.                               

Hjälmeskog, K. (Red.). (2006) Lärarprofession i förändring: från ”skolkök” till hem- och konsumentkunskap. Uppsala: Föreningen för svensk undervisningshistoria.   

Jaffe, J., & Gertler, M. (2006). Victual vicissitudes: Consumer deskilling and the (gendered) transformation of food systems. Agriculture and Human Values, 23(2), 143-162.    

Lindblom, C., Erixon Arreman, I., Bohm, I., & Hörnell, A. (2016). The importance of time frames in Swedish Home and Consumer Studies. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 40(3), 299-308. 

Rogoff, B. (1995) Observing sociocultural activity on three planes: Participatory appropriation, guided participation, and apprenticeship. In James Wertsch, Pablo del Rio and Amelia Alvarez (eds.) Sociocultural Studies of Mind. (pp. 139-164). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.                     

The Swedish Research Council (2002), Forskningsetiska principer inom humanistisk och samhällsvetenskaplig forskning (Research Ethics in Social Sciences), Swedish Research Council, available at: www.codex.vr.se/texts/HSFR.pdf.   

Wickman, P-O. (2006) Aesthetic experience in science education: Learning and meaning-making as situated talk and action. New York: Routledge.

Wickman, P-O. (2004) The practical epistemologies of the classroom: A study of laboratory work. Science education, 88(3), 325-44. 

Wickman, P-O. & Östman, L. (2002) Learning as discourse change: a sociocultural mechanism. Science Education, 86(5), 601-3.                                                                                         

Wolfson, J. A., Bostic, S., Lahne, J., Morgan, C., Henley, S. C., Harvey, J., & Trubek, A. (2017). A comprehensive approach to understanding cooking behavior: Implications for research and practice. British Food Journal, 119(5), 1147-1158.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Food, Nutrition and Dietetics; Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-351330OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-351330DiVA, id: diva2:1209566
Conference
1st Uppsala Research School in Subject Education (UpRiSE) Research Conference, Uppsala May 16, 2018.
Available from: 2018-05-23 Created: 2018-05-23 Last updated: 2018-05-23

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