Almost two thirds of home economics teachers in Sweden are formally unqualified. Historically, home economics has focused more on fostering and prescribing the “right” choices whereas the modern (2011-) curriculum focuses on teaching consequences of choices and giving students tools for assessing alternatives. Restraining from prescribing norms requires a high degree of professionalism. The objective of this study was to empirically investigate the prevalence of intentions of formally unqualified teachers to prescribe consumption norms not supported by the curriculum. Furthermore, to investigate to what extent these intentions are correlated with years of experience as a teacher, personal preferences, or personal consumption. The intention to transfer norms were measured using the concept of intentional misalignment applied to a survey distributed to a sample of formally unqualified teachers attending complementary teacher education. A two part survey was used. The first part consisted of multiple choice questions asking the teachers how important they saw it to transfer different consumption norms to their students (e.g. to consume local or organic food). These responses were evaluated quantitatively (Spearman rank correlation, Wilcoxon rank sum test and Kruskal-Wallis analysis of variance). The second part consisted of an open-ended question asking teachers to describe what they saw as the most important take-home message for students in home economics. The answers were compared to the national curriculum to identify intentions to transfer unsupported norms. The study indicates that more than a third of the formally unqualified home economics teachers in Sweden express the intention to prescribe specific types of consumption or to transfer consumption norms that are not supported by the curriculum. The prevalence is correlated to personal preferences and thus indicates difficulties with keeping a professional perspective. These teachers must be given collegial support and opportunities for continued education – to ensure high-quality home economics education for future generations.
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