INTRODUCTION TO THE SYLLABUS
There were formerly two home economics syllabuses: home economics (general) and home economics (scientific and social). The new syllabus replaces these two syllabuses, incorporating the best aspects of both. The use of the core and electives structure adopted helps to facilitate this by offering the option of studying certain aspects of the syllabus, for example textiles, fashion, and design, without making them compulsory.
The syllabus has been designed to provide articulation with and progression from the Junior Certificate home economics syllabus that was introduced into schools in September 1991. All areas of the syllabus are extensions of areas covered in the Junior Certificate course. However, in the interest of providing a sufficient depth of treatment of topics, certain areas covered in the Junior Certificate course have not been developed in this syllabus, for example craftwork and childcare.
The new syllabus brings changes in structure and format, approach and emphasis, as well as content. All these changes will be referred to in more detail later.
The aims of the syllabus are based on the personal development and interests of the students and their vocational, further education, training and employment needs. The content of the syllabus is based on these needs and interests.
CHANGES IN EMPHASIS IN THE NEW SYLLABUS
While the emphasis in any home economics course is on personal development and resource management in relation to self and home, great effort has been put into extending and applying the knowledge, understanding and skills acquired by students to aspects of the food, clothing, textile and craft industries, tourism, and social and health services.
The emphasis in this syllabus is on the acquisition of management theory and skills and the application of the principles of management to all areas of the syllabus. These skills will enable students to apply these principles to all areas of their lives, both at present and in the future. Management is the central concept that permeates the syllabus.
The new syllabus also emphasises the vocational dimension of the subject. Where appropriate, reference is made to the commercial and vocational applications of topics studied. Reference is also made to relevant aspects of the food, textiles and other related industries.
There is also greater emphasis on student involvement in learning activities. This is supported by the activities tosupport the course objectives column in the syllabus, which makes suggestions for a variety of activities that could be used by teachers to involve students more actively in the learning process. The suggestions made are by no means exhaustive. Neither is it intended that all the activities would be attempted.
As all the elements of home economics are interrelated, it is recommended that the subject be taught within a framework that integrates the related elements and processes within each of the three areas of the core particularly. In the second year of study, when the elective has been selected, it will be possible to make connections between the elective and the core also. Some ideas about how this might be achieved are included in section 4 'Designing Plans of Work'. Further work on the principle of integration will be included in the programme of in-career training for teachers.
DIFFERENTIATION BETWEEN ORDINARY AND HIGHER LEVELS
The syllabus has been designed as a common syllabus for Higher and Ordinary levels. Some material, which is an extension of Ordinary level material, has been designated Higher level only. This material is printed in black text throughout the syllabus.
Higher level students will also be expected to demonstrate a greater depth of understanding of concepts, processes and principles and a greater degree of proficiency in skills. The assessment of the syllabus will reflect the two levels.
The syllabus has been designed as a common level syllabus to facilitate the teaching and learning of Home Economics in mixed ability classes, where both Ordinary and Higher level students are taught in the same class.
Material that relates to Higher level only is printed in green text throughout these guidelines.
The underlying concepts for the teaching of the material in this syllabus are integration and active learning methods. There is a large emphasis on the practical elements of the syllabus, and this should be reflected in the way the syllabus is taught.
The design of the syllabus, while it is structured in a linear format, facilitates these underlying concepts by the inclusion of the last two columns on each page. The activities to support the course objectives column makes suggestions for different activities that the students could be engaged in that would make their learning more active, and the links to other parts of the syllabus column will help to facilitate integration.
It is important to provide a range of learning styles that will help students to develop a wide range of skills, both practical and procedural.
Consideration should be given to the change of emphasis in the new syllabus when deciding the most suitable learning strategies.
This section will be further developed during the programme of in-career training for teachers.
The syllabus has been designed for 180 hours of class contact time (the equivalent of 270 class periods of 40 minutes each, or five class periods per week). At least one double period is essential for the satisfactory execution of practical activities.
PARTICIPATION BY BOYS AND GIRLS
The low participation of boys in Leaving Certificate home economics was considered during the development of the syllabus, and great effort has been made at all stages to ensure that the content is neutral with regard to participation by boys and girls. The existence of the three electives will allow teachers to choose the elective most suitable for a particular class, giving consideration to the interests of the group or local interests.
These guidelines do not attempt to cover all theissues, that teachers will need to consider whenplanning for the introduction of the new syllabus.They are intended to give an overview of the directionof the new syllabus and an indication of the depth oftreatment required; they will be further developedthrough the process of in-career training.
The new syllabus and Guidelines for Teachers promote home economics - scientific and social, as a very relevant and important subject for all young people. It is concerned with the way individuals and families manage their resources to meet physical, emotional, intellectual, social and economic needs. It prepares students of both sexes for life in a consumer-oriented society and provides a good knowledge and skills-based learning foundation for those seeking employment in a wide range of careers.
These draft guidelines are designed to support teachers in implementing the Home Economics syllabus in the classroom and in designing teaching and learning that will meet the aims and objectives of the syllabus.
These guidelines are issued in draft form. It is envisaged that the experience of implementing the syllabus in schools and classrooms over the period of its introduction can be integrated into the guidelines in their final form.