Wisely on the Web – Home Economics teachers as consumer educators

Home Economics students from the University of Helsinki will organise a consumer day in cooperation with the University and the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority at the Department of Teacher Education on 17 March 2016.  The theme of the day is “Consumers Online”.

While use of the Internet requires consumer skills, you can also learn such skills from the Internet. During the consumer day, the students will approach this theme by presenting online content provided by various actors, which is considered suitable for consumer education. Other partners in the event include the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY, the Finnish Commerce Federation, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, the Consumers’ Union of Finland, the Martha Organization, the My Economy network and Finfood – Finnish Food Information.

The Home Economics science education is the only branch of teacher education that provides a separate study module on consumer education. However, other teachers should also understand the principles of consumer education and learn how to teach consumer skills.

At comprehensive school, the goal of consumer skills instruction is to teach students their rights and responsibilities as consumers and enable them to make responsible choices and agreements.  Students also learn how to identify situations and problems related to household spending and how to use ICT in everyday life.

Consumer skills were long regarded as a subject which students could not put into practice until they became adults. However, it is increasingly young people who make purchasing and other decisions, which means that they need knowledge and skills in commerce long before they come of age. In addition, schools need to keep up to date on new products and services, since young people adopt them quickly.