Curriculum 11-16: Home Economics

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1979, Vol. 11, No. 2,

Abstract


Home Economics was introduced into the curriculum of the secondary school in the nineteenth century and its aim at that time was to improve the living standards of the poor. Pupils were given instruction in cooking nutritious economic meals, making and caring for clothes and household articles, and observing the rules of hygiene. Cookery, sewing, housewifery and laundry work were seen as essential elements of the curriculum for girls.

Teachers of the various aspects of home-making soon began to realise that the value of the subject amounted to more than its component parts, and a series of names intended to indicate this has been used over the years. The subject is now known internationally as Home Economics. It includes studies of the needs of the individual in the community, and of the best uses of human and physical resources in the context of home and family life. This title points to the present day emphasis within the subject on an increasing awareness of the importance both of the family and of the smooth running of the home in an ordered society. The subject now assists in the general development of girls and boys as individuals who will contribute positively to society.

Home Economics has elements in common with many subjects found in the secondary curriculum. Its particular contribution is that it combines knowledge drawn from the sciences and arts and applies it to experiences which pupils can relate directly to their own lives. Such experiences, which may be practical, give meaning and reality to theoretical work and help many girls and boys to understand and accept otherwise difficult concepts.


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