‘Pedagogic’ School Lunches in Sweden

Uppsala University research highlights a unique teaching opportunity for educators

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

In Sweden, 'pedagogical' lunches give teachers the chance to set healthy examples for their students.

A study recently conducted at Sweden’s Uppsala University indicates that lunch may be as critical a learning opportunity as any other period at school. The research was led by Christine Persson Osowski, PhD, RD, and published in the September/October issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

In Sweden, the custom of teachers eating lunch with their students is known as a “pedagogic meal.” Instead of sending kids to the cafeteria for a midday break from learning, teachers can utilize lunch as its own sort of lesson.   

The researchers at Uppsala University performed field research at three schools in Sweden, observing children ages six through 12-years old for a total of 25 hours. In conclusion, three types of teachers were identified: sociable, educating, and evasive.

Moreover, sociable teachers were categorized as either adult-oriented or children-oriented. That is to say, they either discussed topics that interested an older or younger age group. The educating teachers were classified in the same way.

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While this pedagogic practice is not as customary in the U.S., Sweden is providing a smart educational example for others to follow when it comes to effectively teaching children healthy nutrition and proper eating.