Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Food Culture, Gastronomy, Food Studies, Food Education, *Food Pedagogy

Publication Details

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for M.A. in Gastronomy and Food Studies; Technological University Dublin, School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology, May 2021.


In 2018 the new Junior Cycle specification for home economics was introduced. This year also saw the recommendation by the Irish State to make home economics compulsory for all Junior Cycle students. Home economics is a multifaceted, inter disciplinary subject that seeks to empower students with the skills to cultivate reflective, critical decision-making abilities they require to deal with practical perennial problems. Food literacy exists as a key contextual strand to home economics, and to this new Junior Cycle curriculum in particular. This study seeks to identify influences, both positive and negative, that impact on the effective delivery of food literacy curricula, as perceived by key stakeholders.

Employing an inductive approach and an interpretivist epistemology, a series of semi structured interviews were conducted with home economics teachers, working in both the post primary and tertiary sectors. The results of these interviews guided the format of subsequent focus groups, conducted online, with a diverse cohort of former students of home economics.

The fostering of a positive relationship with food, emerged as a key principle of all food literacy syllabi. This relationship benefits from strong leadership, both within the home economics classroom and in the wider school management structures. Effective pedagogy that embeds both theoretical and practical methodologies, while placing the student at the centre of learning, was found to be influential in nurturing this positive relationship. An authentic teaching and learning experience, devoid of rhetoric, was v found to be enhanced through continuous professional development and extensive collaboration between home economics teachers.

It is recommended that educational communities strive to create environments where school wide food literacy programmes, anchored in home economics, are established. A commitment by government to adequate resourcing is essential in such an environment. This approach recognises the multi-faceted reality of food literacy while calling on the extensive knowledge and pedagogical skills of the home economics teacher. In an era of ongoing educational change, it is hoped that these findings and recommendations will benefit home economics professionals, both in post primary and third level, and inform future evaluation of the Senior Cycle home economics curriculum