Educators and Researchers from the USA and Sweden Give Lectures in Home Economics Classes
A special lecture on the theme of Practical Problem Solving in Home Economics Lessons was held at the Kashiwara Campus on Tuesday 9th July attended by around 40 students enrolled in the Secondary School Home Economics Educational Methods I and III courses.
Home Economics Education Course Professor Mayuko Suzuki organized the special lecture by visiting lecturers from overseas with the cooperation of Associate Professor Kumiko Oomoto, who also teaches Home Economics Education.
One of the lecturers on the day was Marybeth Motasem, a domestic science teacher from Bellefontaine Senior High School, in Ohio, USA. From Sweden, Karin Hjalmeskog, Deputy Head of Department, Department of Education, Uppsala University, and Maria Feldt, school teacher at Hogsatra Junior High School, in Stockholm, also participated as lecturers giving an overview of home economics education in Sweden and commenting on the issues faced.
Marybeth Motasem used a practical problem solving case example, the ""Family Dinner Challenge"" to make meals right for each of six cooperating families in the USA according to their respective economic and family situations, as well as reporting on using portfolios and on class evaluation in which students use rubrics for self-assessment. Marybeth Motasem also demonstrated the similar ""Interior Design Challenge"" problem-solving program as well as a program called ""From the Earth to the Moon.""
She explained this practical case example, in which each student takes their own approach to problem solving the question of if the Earth was going to be annihilated in 24 hours and you had to migrate to the moon, ""What luggage would you take with you in one 23kg suitcase?"" Marybeth Motasem emphasized the importance of the role of educators teaching home economics saying,
""Problems arise everywhere in the real world, testing our abilities to choose, to put into action, as well as to reflect. Thus, in home economics education we are required to help students to apply problem-solving skills to daily life.""
In contrast, in Sweden, home economics is referred to as ""Family and Consumption."" It is a compulsory subject that all students must study in accordance with the curriculum set by the government. The government's overall educational goal is ""Sustainable Development"" and in home economics the curriculum is written based on the three focal points of: (1) Health, (2) Economics, and (3) Environment.
The exchange of opinions revealed a difference in the situations and the issues faced between senior high schools in Ohio, where establishment of the daily routine work of food, clothing, and shelter, is a compelling issue, and home economics education in Sweden where there is an advanced social welfare system in place. Thus, although the current situations and focal points of home economics differ, the necessity for ""Practical Problem Solving"" was confirmed.
Professor Suzuki states, ""Although problem-solving type lessons are becoming increasingly necessary in Japanese home economics education, the fact is that they have not been fully put into practice in classrooms as yet. Marybeth conducts problem-solving type classes that really encapsulate the practical inference process. I wanted our students, who have not experienced such lessons, to get a concrete idea of what they were like. Judging from the comments after participating in her lesson, the students have really understood the appeal of Marybeth's classes.