Understanding and developing food pedagogies in Ontario pre-service education
Keywords:Food literacy, Ontario Education, Food pedagogy
Policy documents implore Ontario teachers to integrate environmental education (EE) in the curriculum. Evidence of significant barriers such as lack of time, resources and knowledge, and lack of preparation at the Bachelor of Education level to teaching EE is well documented (Barrett, 2007, 2013; Stevenson, 2007; Thompson, 2004). Food literacy (FL) is often considered a framework from which to understand environmental issues, thus the authors sought to consider its’ usefulness in aiding integration of EE curricula. Using a ‘theory into practice’ approach we asked: Can food literacy be used to make environmental issues more relevant and accessible, thus diminishing the barriers to teaching EE? How do pre-service teachers define FL and do they know enough to use this framework? Qualitative interviews were conducted with thirteen Ontario pre-service teachers to determine their understanding of FL. Findings included a lack of exposure to FL concepts, however, there was an interest to using FL to help teach EE. Some suggestions to improve food pedagogy in the pre-service program and placements included: curriculum changes that made explicit connection to food; clear linkages between environmental issues and food; empowering students to do projects, debates and assignments on food, and experiential learning. Ultimately, there was interest and promise of utilizing FL to integrate EE, but a change of culture at the pre-service level is needed for it to be supported.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Rachelle Campigotto, Sarah Barrett, Rod MacRae
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