Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Turner, A & Seemann, KW 2008, 'The silent death of food technology rigor in school curriculum', in H. Middleton & M. Pavlova (eds), Exploring technology education: solutions to issues in a globalised world: Proceedings of the 5th Biennial International Conference on Technology Education Research, Surfers Paradise, Qld., 27-29 November, Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Griffith University, Nathan, Qld., Vol. 2, pp. 180-190, ISBN: 9781921291555


There is a major concern in the world supply of food (Martin, 2007; World Health Organization, 2008). The main response to this world problem is more likely to come from food science and technology innovation, rather than from food hospitality skilling. In acknowledging the scale of this very real issue, we need to ask, are we getting intoxicated with the skills rhetoric given that the social, environmental and technical world students face is increasingly complex, and involves systems whose interactions are difficult to predict? An emerging concern throughout some states is a politically driven lack-lustre vision that fosters a comfort zone for what is thought to be the study of food technology. There is a need to critique the associations between teaching practice, syllabi design (particularly as a continuum of learning) and design as a problem-solving platform. Where once curriculum was written as the instrument of social and knowledge reform for the benefit of the student, it now appears to be the instrument of convenience for the benefit of social reproduction and a highly filtered view of the external world students will face. With the emerging links between climate and technological choices, there is cause to question how well a ‘no change decree’ by Food Technology syllabus custodians remains adequate in curriculum presentation and representation in schooling. This paper will focus around the area of food technology, and given its confusion with the field called food hospitality, the paper seeks to make a contribution to the issues around skills and innovation. While discussion centres on the Australian context, the study of food technology and science (and its confusion with back-of-house hospitality studies) has international relevance in education, particularly given the challenges of feeding the world and developing innovative new food products and production methods.