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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An evaluation of the impact of a nutrition innovation on the teaching practices of British Columbia secondary home economic educators Clampett, Dorothy Mae


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of 'Foodstyles: Perspectives on Food for People' (Foodstyles), on the teaching practices of secondary Home Economics educators in British Columbia. Foodstyles is a nutrition innovation intended for use in conjunction with the Foods and Nutrition section of the provincial Home Economics Curriculum. The design of the study was developed from curriculum evaluation literature. Research questions were derived from the concerns of program developers, workshop leaders and teachers. The questions investigated how teachers use Foodstyles, if teachers who use the program accept its rationale, what factors influence use of the program and in what ways Foodstyles is of value in nutrition education practice. Patterns of teacher use of Foodstyles were selected as the criteria for judging the impact of the innovation. Data were obtained by questionnaires and interviews. Questionnaires were mailed to teachers who had attended a Foodstyles workshop and who were teaching Home Economics in school districts that agreed to participate in the study. Of the 113 teachers who responded (51.8 percent), 75 taught Foods and Nutrition during 1980-81 and were included in the analyses. A sample of ten respondents were interviewed to obtain descriptions of their use of Foodstyles. Results of the analyses of questionnaire data together with descriptions from the interviews were used to construct "Profiles of Teacher Use of Foodstyles" for high, moderate and low-users. A panel of nutrition education experts used these three profiles to judge the value of the innovation. Results of the study indicated that teachers used individual activities from Foodstyles that were congruent with their own objectives. They most frequently used junior-level activities that were presented at workshops, were related to factors influencing food choice and were ready for immediate classroom use. Correlational analysis indicated a significant positive relationship between use of Foodstyles activities and selection of teaching strategies which reflect acceptance of the Foodstyles rationale. During interviews, high-users (18.7 percent) reported that they selected activities from Foodstyles to encourage students to choose food patterns consistent with their needs and lifestyles. High-users included Foodstyles in lessons as intended by program developers and as the panel believed it should be used. Low-users, (33.3 percent), reported using the innovation only to teach nutrition information. Program developers and members of the panel considered that this was not consistent with the intents of the innovation. Moderate users (48.0 percent) showed no distinguishing characteristics in their use of Foodstyles. Teachers were found to be more likely to use Foodstyles if they taught senior classes, taught only Foods and Nutrition courses, attended a workshop as a teacher rather than as a student-teacher, received the newsletter "In Touch" and had positive attitudes toward the program as measured by the questionnaire. The panel judged Foodstyles to represent a valuable approach to the teaching of nutrition. The results of the study, however, indicated that Foodstyles has had only a moderate impact on the teaching practices of secondary Home Economics teachers in British Columbia. Several implications related to nutrition education practice and to nutrition education research were inferred from the study. Specific recommendations for the review and modification of the Foodstyles program and workshop also emerged. Overall, the approach to evaluation used in this study permitted judgements to be made about the impact of the innovation in nutrition education practice. This approach is recommended for the evaluation of those innovations which are designed to complement existing provincial curricula.

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