Current trends in clothing and textiles education: how they have affected selected Virginia home economics teachers

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Virginia Tech

Recent social changes in American family lifestyles have led many educators to rethink traditional curriculum decisions and to subsequently redirect secondary home economics programs. With the passage of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Act of 1984, new directions were established for vocational educators (Hughes, Kister, & Smith, 1985). Through the use of the ethnographic interview, the researcher investigated ways in which these changes have affected the clothing and textiles teaching practices of five Virginia secondary teachers of consumer and homemaking comprehensive classes. The researcher investigated the amount of time spent sewing. and the informants’ justification for teaching clothing construction. The teachers were also asked to comment on their beliefs concerning current trends and their recommendations for future curriculum revisions.

The teachers interviewed expressed a greater interest in meeting the needs of their students than in following current trends. In an apparent contradiction, they cited reasons for reduced interest and decreased need for sewing instruction but seemed reluctant to reduce or eliminate sewing instruction in the classroom. The amount of time spent during the school year on sewing projects ranged from none to nine weeks. The teachers interviewed spent an additional two to six weeks of classroom time in the study of other areas of clothing and textiles.

The informants' knowledge of current educational trends appeared to come from area supervisors, inservice education, and their peers. None of the teachers interviewed indicated they read professional journals. The results of this research provide implications for inservice education content related to clothing and textiles for home economics teachers.