Evaluation of a pilot study on students' conceptual understanding and practical skills acquisition of dietary knowledge

Joy-Telu Hamilton-Ekeke, Malcolm Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study is a trial pilot study that investigated if there is a relationship between the method of teaching dietary knowledge in the classroom and students' conceptual understanding and practical skills acquisition of dietary knowledge of children aged 10–11 years. The research was carried out in a school within the Healthy School Scheme Award in rural mid Wales, United Kingdom. The methodology included eliciting the conceptions held by students on the concept of balanced diet and healthy eating using questionnaire, diary and interview before and after a teaching intervention on the concept of balanced diet. The teaching intervention involved comparing a Teaching/Learning Sequence (TLS) with the Regular Teaching Method (RTM) to determine if there will be increase in both conceptual understanding of dietary knowledge and encouragement of healthy eating habits. Parental influence as well as their opinion about their children's conceptual understanding of healthy eating was also elicited via parent questionnaire. The findings from this study clearly indicated some fundamental flaws and misconceptions in participants' knowledge and understanding of balanced diet in both TLS and RTM groups before the intervention but after the intervention, there was a statistically significant improvement of the TLS group over the RTM group and participants opting for healthier snack (less sugar/fat snack). A high percentage of the sampled parents agreed that children should be encourage to cook at home though some considered it to be too risky. The conclusion and implication of this study is that the contexts in which students learn about healthy eating are key factors in determining how receptive they are to nutrition education. The policies that a school adopts, the physical and social environment it provides, the curriculum it chooses, and the quality and methods of instruction all have the potential to significantly affect nutrition education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-150
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Health Promotion and Education
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2008

Keywords

  • nutrition education
  • balanced diet
  • teaching methods
  • cookery skills
  • obesity
  • healthy snacks
  • unhealthy snacks
  • healthy eating curriculum

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