Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Supporting food and nutrition sciences teaching in secondary schools: A study of a statewide e-mail listserv
by Hsu, Ting-Fang, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2011, 249; 3491479
Abstract (Summary)

This mixed methods study discovered how secondary teachers effectively shaped food and nutrition curriculum and instruction by constructing their educational experiences through a statewide e-mail listserv. Data sources included (a) 42 listserv subscribers responding to an online survey, (b) seven survey participants taking follow-up interviews via e-mail, and (c) 978 e-mails identified with food- and nutrition-related content being collected from the Indiana Family and Consumer Sciences E-mail Discussion Listserv.

Near 80% of the survey participants taught at the high school level, and 71.4% of them spent more than twenty contact-hours teaching food and nutrition per school year. However, most of their schools had not participated in any nutrition education programs in the past three years, and the school administration did not fully support school nutrition education in the ways of school nutrition coordination and the requirements of food and nutrition education.

By analyzing teachers' reflective discourse in the e-mail listserv, the study revealed that these teachers had difficulties in (1) managing food laboratories, (2) receiving funds and grants, (3) planning lab activities due to variety of student food allergies, and time and budget constraints, (4) selecting proper materials to meet students' special needs (e.g., languages and disabilities), (5) planning lessons without conflicting with copyright law and school policies, (6) clarifying teachers vague understanding and knowledge of food and nutrition.

Through the lens of the Community of Inquiry (CoI), the study found that these teachers were able to (1) share opinions and exchange information, (2) express emotion, sympathy and encouragement, (3) strengthen beliefs and reconsider pedagogies, and (4) recognize teachers' endeavors in the field of food and nutrition education within the strong social context of the listserv. The social presence of the CoI could ease teachers' unpleasant experiences mentioned above. To a small degree, cognitive presence could still support teachers' critical inquiry and obtain practical solutions for the problems they met above. However, due to the absence of an instructor, both the cognitive and teaching presence could not effectively function in this listserv.

Accordingly, future research can take approaches on (a) discovering alternatives for the teaching presence to improve cognitive discussion process in listservs; and (b) examining how on-going health initiatives can support teacher education and training in teaching food and nutrition.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Akerson, Valarie
Commitee: Bonk, Curtis J., Lindeman, Alice K., Park Rogers, Meredith A.
School: Indiana University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 73/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Home economics education, Science education
Keywords: Community of inquiry, Family and consumer sciences, Food and nutrition sciences, Listserv, Reflective disourse, School nutrition education
Publication Number: 3491479
ISBN: 9781267138699
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