Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Delia Quinn


Home economics is a multi-faceted, inter-disciplinary, integrated field of study drawing from a multitude of disciplines including sociology, psychology, anthropology, chemistry, physics, architecture and the arts (Henry, 1995). As a school subject, home economics in Malawi is taught at primary school, secondary school as well as at university level. This study explores home economics teachers' perceptions of competencies critical for teaching the subject. Data was collected from secondary school home economics teachers in Malawi. The study is a qualitative investigation of how experienced teachers describe effective teaching of the integrated home economics syllabus, and what they perceive as critical competencies for meeting the goals and objectives of the course. The research design included interviews, Observations and discussions of curriculum and teaching documents. Using the ETHNOGRAPH computer program, the data was analysed to identify significant patterns of meaning and behaviour which related to the teaching of home economics in Malawi. This study noted that home economics teaching in Malawi was faced with problems resulting from the conditions in the environmental context of the schools, These problems did not only affect teaching performance, but also the way teachers perceived competent practice. The findings of this stud) provide useful information to extend the understanding of the nature of home economics teaching in Malawi. The information can be useful for the planning of more effective preservice and inscrvice teacher education programs and for the development of curriculum support materials.