Kerry Renwick

Associate Professor

Research Interests

Critical Pedagogy
Educational Policy
Familial Contexts
Health Education
Home Economics
Human and Social Ecology
Public health
teacher education

Relevant Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters

Research Options

I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
 
 

Research Methodology

Discourse analysis
Photovoice
Narrative

Recruitment

Master's students
Doctoral students
2021
2022

Health Literacy; Food Literacy; Teacher Education: Curriculum Development; Educational Policy

I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.
I am interested in hiring Co-op students for research placements.

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Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - April 2022)
The experience of home economics teachers in Saudi Arabian classrooms (2021)

The national curriculum of Saudi Arabia aims to provide young people with the capabilities to participate in society that are framed around the values expressed in the Qur’an and through Islamic rules. The provision of public education for Saudi girls and young women has been developing since the 1960’s and includes home economics as one of the subjects. Offered at the elementary, intermediate, and high school levels the home economics curriculum has a specific focus on improving family life, hygiene, and nutrition. There is limited research about home economics teachers and their work. Guided by a centralised curriculum, teachers enact curriculum through teaching strategies and the learning activities. The focus of this study is to explore teachers' experiences within the classroom and drawing upon a funds of knowledge approach, to understand the curricula decisions teachers make.Following a phenomenological case study design, eight teachers from Mecca city, a major urban city in the western region of Saudi Arabia were interviewed and observed in their classrooms. Of particular interest was how these teachers perceived the impact on their student’s food practices, healthy diet and eating habits. By using funds of knowledge as a lens it was possible to see how teachers made decisions about enacting the curriculum based on their personal and professional knowledges; and to see how students responded based on their funds of knowledge. The findings have implications for future research about the interplay between a teacher’s funds of knowledge with that of their students within the home economics classroom. The findings point to the need for closer alignment between the food and nutrition education offered within the classroom and the food choices available at the school canteen. This study is significant in that it is the first time that a qualitative phenomenological case study exploring teachers’ funds of knowledge has been employed as a research approach in Saudi Arabia context.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2021)
Women's experiences of knowledge sharing, empowerment, and connection through domestic cooking (2021)

This study critically analyzes how and why women’s work in the home matters, and how women make sense and meaning of their domestic identities. Feminist discourse has often favoured the public sphere as a site of inquiry, overlooking the value of the private sphere and resulting in a tension between ‘the feminist’ and ‘the housewife.’ This research explores the ways that women have negotiated their domestic identities in the spaces between, and how domestic work can foster empowerment and community for women.This study uses feminist research and analysis methods to give insight into women’s relationship to domesticity, exploring and acknowledging the value of domestic work. To honour the subjective realities and narratives of the participants, data was gathered from three qualitative sources: participant observation through online cooking sessions, semi-structured interviews, and participant documentation. Analysis methods included content, narrative, and discourse analysis to generate meaning for the study.The focus of this study is on domestic foodwork, reflective of women’s responsibility for planning, procuring, preparing, and managing the tasks of feeding the family. The results indicate that domesticity is experienced differently throughout a woman’s life, and that domestic work is inherently relational. The emotional labour of domestic foodwork was identified as the most difficult and stressful element of the task, and despite feeling the burden of responsibility for domestic foodwork, the women in this study are invested in their domestic identities, for the key role they play in sustaining familial relationships. Additionally, the kitchen is indicated as an important space of connection and empowerment for the participants, and should be noted as a valid site of inquiry. To deny the value of domestic skills dismisses the transformative potential of everyday spaces and acts. Essentializing as ‘women’s work’ the caring and relational tasks that women do through work in the home sustains the gendered division of labour, and limits the expectation that men participate in both domestic work and emotional labour to an equal degree. Domestic skills, especially the associated emotional labour tasks, should be understood as a learned knowledge system that everyone can participate in.

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Praxis, reflexivity and identity: career learning in the undergraduate classroom (2020)

As emerging professionals, students require opportunities to explore aspects of their identity and engage with praxis and phronesis in order to think purposefully about the moral implications of their actions. Biochemistry students learn advanced technical skills that have the potential to change the human and natural world in novel ways, and many of these practices, like gene editing, have unknown long-term consequences. These technical skills are not value neutral, and as emerging professionals, students ought to engage in praxis in order to examine how to act for the greater social good with the skills and knowledge they attain during their degree. Each day in the classroom is an opportunity for praxis where students consider who they are, who they becoming, and how their disciplinary learning informs their professional identity. Praxis combines theoretical and technical understanding with lived experience as a professional and incorporates principled-actions in service of a better world. Phronesis, is a mindset oriented towards the moral and ethical implications of one’s actions as a professional, and it originates from sustained praxis. This research explores the professional identity third-year biochemistry students developed through strengths-based reflection in a laboratory course. The students in this study submitted a reflection about their experiences and learning associated with Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment. Critical discourse analysis was applied to interpret their reflections and to identify influences on the development of professional identity. Each student’s submission provided an example of the narratives student’s internalized from their observations and experiences up until this point in their degree. When analyzed together, broader social narratives emerged that depict the importance of student’s sense of agency as emerging professionals. When students name their strengths, they take power of their role in learning and developing their professional identity. Preparing career ready graduates with praxis as professionals transcends skills and job training. It prepares students to be purposeful in their lives and to act with a sense of what is morally right. For this type of career learning to take place, instructors must make intentional choices to include and prioritize professional development in conjunction with disciplinary-content.

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Mindful Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Practice of a Home Economics Educator (2016)

A common conception is that the singular focus of home economics educators and home economics education is the development of a technical perspective (technê) in students with the goal of producing a product through reasoned, instrumental action (poïesis). However, taking such a curricular and pedagogical focus reduces the opportunity for interaction with praxis and phronesis. By excluding thoughtful engagement with the topics in this subject area, teachers may unknowingly facilitate mindlessness in themselves and their students regarding everyday life actions, which has the potential to unintentionally propagate harmful ideas and actions. This research is positioned on the idea that attaining a mindful disposition can help educators develop curriculum and pedagogy that challenges students to think critically and, as a result, make thoughtful decisions about their actions in their everyday lives. The home economics curriculum engages with everyday life actions. While they are ‘small’, everyday life actions have the potential to be emancipatory. The purpose of this study is to investigate what non-meditative mindfulness looks like in the practice of a mindful home economics educator and to uncover connections between education, home economics, and mindfulness. Through the use of case study and action research methodology, the research investigates how a home economics teacher engages with and employs mindfulness in her curriculum and pedagogy. Data collected throughout the semester delivery of secondary school courses include a reflective personal journal on classroom activity; lessons and classroom documents; and feedback from students within the course. Four themes identified from the data that appeared to reduce mindless tendencies in my teaching practice were: i) having an intentionally evolving curriculum and pedagogy, ii) the inclusion of place-based learning opportunities, (iii) the inclusion of inquiry based learning opportunities, and iv) the importance of external validation. This research indicates that engaging with non-meditative mindfulness has an impact on both an educator’s thinking about his or her pedagogy and also on his or her practice. Employing non-meditative mindfulness may appeal to educators because it offers the opportunity for individuals to experience empowering, transformative ways of thinking without demanding that individuals commit significant amounts of time to modifying their practice.

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