This chapter concludes my research study. This dissertation has involved testing my proposed FL Conceptual Model and conducting an empirical investigation into the phenomena of FL within the school context. A recap of my thesis is summarized below, along with the implications for policy and practice and research recommendations for the future. I then close the chapter with my concluding thoughts and personal reflection.
9.1 Summary of Thesis Chapters
This dissertation provided the following trajectory:
· Chapter One introduced the research problem and research aims
· Chapter Two presented a review of literature pertaining to contextual influences in the development of FL
· Chapter Three discussed FL paradigms and limitations and presented my proposed FL Conceptual Model
· Chapter Four described my research approach
· Chapter Six portrayed my findings related to testing my proposed FL Conceptual Model against primary and secondary data sources
· Chapter Seven represented my empirical findings related to socio-cultural context of FL in school setting
· Chapter Eight examined my qualitative findings with a critical lens
9.2 Overall Relevance and Contributions
The findings of this study, as presented in Chapter Six and Seven, and summarized in the previous chapter, have several implications for addressing the needs for more comprehensive FL education in schools as well as developing a more supportive school food environment.
First, I will present implications for the literature, and then I will provide the implications for the systems within Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model.
9.2.1 Implications for the literature
The literature review on FL (summarized in Chapter Three) indicates there are arguments and contradictions as well as lack of consensus among researchers as to the meaning of FL. This study contributes to the literature through empirical validation of the dimensions of FL into a comprehensive model; which should be of interest to researchers, practitioners and policy makers. For that reason, this is a new and absolute contribution to the body of FL research.
This study also strived to fill the contextual gap in the existing literature related to the understanding of FL. From an entirely analytical perspective, this study contributes to the literature by incorporating an interdisciplinary view into the broader generalization of findings.
9.2.2 Implications for the macro-, exo-, meso- and micro-system
The implications for this study also expand beyond the confines of schools. It has helped to expose the ruling relations within social organizations; for example, the oppressive nature of corporate food industry, the status quo of government policies, and the continued deficit of FL discourse as an individualistic problem. By making this analysis available to the public, it is possible that public discourse related to societal ideologies around food may change, thereby altering the notion of reality and cultivating a societal transformation.
In addition, it is imperative that a systems approach to FL be promoted to challenge current ideologies (macro-system). This approach endeavors to enhance FL from the individual and household focus to put a spotlight on the broader society in order to ensure inclusion of FL in international, national and local systems. As such, the current mix of government policies and corporate interests in profit does not support a shift in food systems, food environment, and food culture. It is crucial to transform societal ideologies, values, and policies in order to facilitate the intersection between social and critical consciousness to challenge the capitalist system that imposes its values, structure and practices related to food upon society.
Achieving inclusion of FL in national and regional policies and programs (exo-systems) while acknowledging consumer culture is embedded within these policies is a fundamental challenge. In an attempt to reduce inequalities, progressive political change is imperative. As such, greater awareness among policy makers and decision makers related to repositioning of FL from its current dominant individual placement to social orientation is necessary. Furthermore, there is a need to engage with interdisciplinary and intersectoral stakeholders for collective action as well as to ensure proper evaluation methods are in place to capture FL from both the individual and societal level. The proposed FL Conceptual Model is a remarkable instrument for all of the above reasons.
Emphasis must also be placed on FL interventions as a whole school and community approach (meso-system) to empower students, the future citizens of our society, in order to challenge the status quo. Chapter Eight provides some recommendations as to how to achieve this which should include integrating FL into and beyond the classroom. If the Province of NS choses to be visionary and made every effort to integrate FL education into all aspects of school communities by making it mandatory (including each of the dimensions of FL as defined in this study), using meal time pedagogy, and teaching about the SFNP in the classroom, they would be trailblazers in Canada. The intention of this approach is to create a paradigm shift in order to inspire social transformation resulting food culture change and more active food citizens to improve health and well-being of self, community and society.
Finally, it is important that FL is acknowledged in a social context (micro-system) which is powerful for citizen engagement. Given the fact that food is a very rich and complex topic, spans the interdisciplinary scope, and is deeply personal, it can be actioned within social networks and through the wider context of society. As such, increasing knowledge and awareness within inter-sectoral contexts, developing networks and communities of practice should be considered. Furthermore, it is important to note the overall aim of this study was to understand how FL is conceptualized and communicated; by doing so, the adoption of FL as a concept could disrupt the status quo and empower critical thinking and engagement through political system and social movements.
9.3 Future Research Directions
This research study was conducted within the school context as it relates to FL; as such, it provides some insight and direction for broader contexts and for future research. This section will outline suggested future research directions.
First, from a contextual aspect, this research primarily reflects the school context; however, the substantiated FL Conceptual Model provides a solid foundation for many research avenues; therefore, a few suggestions are made for future research directions. A research avenue that I believe is open for the future is validation of the FL Conceptual Model in different school based and broader societal contexts. It should also be noted that since this research explores teacher and parent perspectives related to FL, replicating this study in another context might provide more of a comprehensive research setting for generalizing present findings.
Second, the study of FL could be more comprehensive if all interdisciplinary perspectives were incorporated. As such, it may be of interest to evaluate findings in future research directions across or within various disciplines. Furthermore, observations over a longer period of time may provide more convincing evidence to better understand the socio-cultural factors and forces in addition to validating this study’s findings.
Third, and more specifically, this study has developed some of the construct measures in the present context for an evaluation framework. This is based on previous literature and empirical findings but should be verified and refined in new research contexts to measure FL, such as utilizing my FL Conceptual Model as a framework for identifying and measuring FL across policies, programs and initiatives. One such avenue may be to use this framework and apply it against the proposed Canada Food Policy.
9.4 Concluding Remarks
To answer my overarching research question, how is food literacy conceptualized and communicated, and to achieve the research aims of this study, I developed a FL Conceptual Model. Upon testing this model, it was found that teacher and parent participants are situated within each dimension of FL; some dimensions are more striking than others. In addition, my qualitative findings provide rich insight into the socio-cultural context of FL in schools and demonstrates many of the barriers are related to broader societal ideologies that are reinforced in the school community.
Cullen et al (2015) presented a framework that situates FL at the intersection between an individual and the broader community and stated behaviours and skills cannot be separated from their environmental or social context. Their proposed definition and framework intended to bring together various researchers, practitioners and policy makers for a collaborative and coordinated approach to FL. My FL Conceptual Model builds on this foundational work and proposes an approach for a more concerted effort towards collective action on FL across various disciplines. Palumbo (2016) suggested research should be aimed at the broader interpretation of FL to provide evaluation tools and methodologies. My FL Conceptual Model targets the notion of evaluation and how to develop a framework for such. Cullen et al (2015) and Palumbo (2016) seem to provide an implied support of this study acknowledging there is a gap in the literature related to collective action and creating more of a connection between the individual and the broader societal factors affecting FL; this helped to frame the original foundation of this study four years ago.
Amin et al (2018) recommended investigating teacher perspectives and evaluating curriculum as important to advance this work; my research has gathered teacher and parent perspectives (both influencers of children’s FL knowledge and skills) and reviewed curriculum outcomes to determine if FL is captured over the duration of public schooling. Truman and Elliott (2018) called for targeted involvement to focus on the socio-cultural topics related to food that examine its meaning and value; my research has explored such topic areas. This exploration establishes a remarkable appreciation of the contribution that this study makes towards FL in the school setting.
Furthermore, the social organization of school includes socio-cultural ruling relations. Hence, it suffices to argue that the links between the social and system relationships, along with teachers’ and parents’ shared definitions of FL, help to define school food cultures and ultimately, how FL is conceptualized and communicated. This research clearly demonstrates that teachers and parents both play an essential role in the school food environment. As such, teachers and parents both influence the school and the school equally influences them. These research findings suggest that FL experiences within the school context cannot be improved upon unless the factors and forces, including the socio-cultural context within our broader society, are transformed. This can only be achieved through raising awareness and empowering teachers and parents to transform the ways in which they communicate ruling and support or challenge the ideological messages to the various members within the school community as well as the broader society.
To end, a large part of this study’s significance is directly related to potential implications for social change within the context of school but also more broadly. By using tenets of critical ethnography, I have attempted to extricate how things happen as they do and provide an empirical representation of the processes that need to be deconstructed and reorganized in order to promote and communicate FL as timely and an evolving concept with clear implications for its application to practice. There has never been a more urgent and optimal time than now to do this given 1) the SDGs are in place as a result of growing concern for the sustainability of human societies; 2) we are currently in our third year of the Decade of Action on Nutrition which is to support a common vision to achieve optimal nutrition for a healthier, more sustainable future; 3) the revised Canada Food Guide emphasizes eating behaviours, food skills, culture, health and the environment (all components of FL) was recently released; 4) the federal government recently committed to a National Food Policy and to creating a National School Food Program in cooperation with provinces and territories; and 5) NS has recently provided support to review the SFNP. As noted, FL is a potent mechanism for social change.
9.5 Personal Reflection
This study profoundly affected me! Through this experience, which was to explore socio-cultural norms around FL, I have unearthed the dominant discourse with study participants which is that of a biomedical or individualistic nature. This philosophy has been fixed in society for many decades. As such, this is how I was taught in university over 20 years ago and initially shaped my knowledge around food, nutrition and health as a dietitian. Over the past ten years however, I have been exposed to and practiced the ecological public health perspective related to food and health which has allowed me to realize the complexity and cultural forces that affect FL. That said, it has been a journey to challenge my perceptions of what I knew to be true and convincing knowledge in my science discipline of nutrition and dietetics. It is now my personal and professional calling to try to evoke that knowledge disruption in others throughout my field of nutrition and dietetics but also other disciplines that intersect food.
Upon entering my doctoral studies, my intention was to contribute to the growing body of knowledge related to FL in schools, beyond that of food skills. However, this inquiry has caused a significant disruption in my own knowledge and understanding as I have become abundantly aware of the ideologies dominating society which impact FL practices and processes. What I have come to learn is that we all participate in ruling relations; yet, we all have the ability to disrupt and potentially transform societal ideologies, social structures, and social organizations through our own knowledge, authority, and expertise. I now feel inspired to empower others to challenge these ideologies and support a process of structural changes and social transformation. As such, literacy is a form of social power that can create the necessary context for social consciousness. Therefore, I will continue to critique and challenge the dominant ideologies, socio-cultural forces, and subsequent discourses that prevent individuals from seeing and understanding the various forms of power and domination that exist in our daily lives; and in doing so, I will not allow for the status quo. Rather, I will encourage others to recognize how social factors and forces shape our identities, potentially reinforcing existing social inequities. Due to this insight, the power of FL became much more apparent to me as essential to generate structural changes in our society; not just to improve upon food skills. In conclusion, the rich learning I have experienced both professionally and personally through this journey has encouraged me to continue to challenge injustices and inequities.
Cite this essay
This chapter concludes my research study This dissertation. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/this-chapter-concludes-my-research-study-this-dissertation-example-essay