Consumer education as counselling?

Teacher beliefs about consumption and (social science) education




economic education, social studies, consumer education, teacher professionalism, teacher training


- Consumer education is a normative field of action.

- Social science teachers base the design of consumer education concepts often on their own, milieu-bound values.

- Especially when teachers see students' consumption as deficient, consumer education has the task to teach appropriate consumption patterns.

- In formal teacher training processes, students’ everyday experiences as members of society can serve as a starting point for self-reflective processes.

Purpose: This article aims to discuss the influence of milieu-based daily life experiences on teaching social science studies by taking the example of consumption. It should be asked to what extent personal habitus in a Bourdieuian sense influences teachers’ beliefs about consumer education in particular and social science education in general. 

Method: Qualitative interviews and group discussions with 19 teachers out of the social science domain were analysed following the concept of interpretation patterns as socially shared world views. 

Findings: Personal experiences and common knowledge based on the daily involvement in consumption practices are a crucial factor influencing consumer education. They lead rather to tendencies of overwhelming students than imparting knowledge about consumption as a social phenomenon. Implications: Teacher training in fields of social science education, which is strongly related milieu-driven daily life, should focus a distanced, reflective and multiperspective view on the teaching practices based on professional, theoretic knowledge.

Author Biography

Franziska Wittau, Bielefeld University, Faculty of Sociology, Research and Teaching Unit 9

Franziska Wittau, PhD is research assistant in Social Science Education at Bielefeld University. Her research interests center on social science teacher professionalisation, Education for sustainable Development, Consumer Education and Digitalisation in Social Science Education.


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