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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Forces influencing home economics curriculum change in British Columbia secondary schools 1912-1985 Thomas, Christie Jane


The purposes of this study were to describe the changes that have occurred in home economics curricula in the province of British Columbia during the period 1912 - 1985, to identify the forces that have influenced these changes and to determine the role of home economics professionals in this process of curriculum change. Documents concerning the six major home economics curriculum revisions were analyzed using Cuban's (1979) four curricular determinants: social, political and economic movements; political-legal decisions; influential groups; and influential individuals. Four major changes in the home economics curriculum were noted. These included an expansion of the central focus on concerns of the home and family to include vocationalism in the workplace and community interaction; expansion and contraction in the educational relevance and status of home economics education; the evolution of home economics as a course of study for females to one which is coeducational; and changes in the format of the curriculum documents. The major determinants found to influence these changes were broad social, political and economic movements, especially trends in educational philosophy. There were other movements, such as social movements and changes in economic conditions, which also had an impact. The major secondary force influencing curriculum change was political-legal decisions. These decisions defined the nature of education and of intended curriculum change and determined the process of curriculum change. While both groups and individuals have had an influence on the home economics curriculum through advocacy and/or implementation of educational policies, these efforts have been subject to potential veto by the Department (Ministry) of Education. As bureaucratization in education in B.C. has increased, there was an apparent decline in the influence of individuals. In this study, B.C. home economics professionals assumed a role in the process of home economics curriculum change through making recommendations, implementing educational policy and in some cases, mediating educational policy. The influence of home economics professionals has been as individuals or as members of groups rather than as policy-makers. Some suggestions for further study have been made.

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