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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Understanding the meaning of students’ practical experiences McCaffery, Jill A.


This study explored the meaning of practical experiences in home economics for year seven students. The research sought to gain insight into, and a deeper, richer understanding of the meaning of practical by investigating students' perspectives and the meanings that they attribute to the practical through their actions and experiences in home economics. The research involved the students and the teacher of two classes of year seven home economics students in a small town in. British Columbia. The study was conducted over a twelve week period in the Spring of 1992. Students from both classes participated in the study by way of response journals. In addition, nine students selected from one class participated in semi-structured interviews and conversations on four occasions. The study used a phenomenological approach in order to elaborate on practical experiences as gleaned from conversations, stories told in conversation and response journal writings provided by year seven home economics students. Data was collected through guided response journal entries, audiotapes of conversations, and entries in the teacher's journal. The collected data was analysed and loosely collated into two categories; shared or similar themes, and variations or unique themes. It was through both the common and the unique themes that a sense of students’ meanings of practical experiences developed. The students' conversations, journals and stories presented a colourful collage of varied experiences and meanings of the practical which could not be reduced into a simple statement of definition. The themes did, however, speak of practical experiences as valuable and relevant assisting students in a process of "becoming." The practical from the perspective of the student is that which mediates between themselves and the adult world in their process of "becoming adult".

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