Perceptions of Technology Education. A cross-case study of teachers realizing technology as a new subject of teaching

Norwegian University of Science and Education, Norway

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Abstract

The study has investigated a sample of Norwegian teachers participating in a curriculum development project on technology teaching and their interpretation and realization of technology as a subject in the curriculum. The curriculum project is inspired by the subject Design & Technology in England and Wales, and is hence an example of transfer of ideas across national borders. The study has been undertaken by means of interviews and classroom observations, and reported in terms of what the teachers see as aims for the subject, how they interpret the nature and content of the subject and how they relate it to Science and other subjects in the curriculum. It is shown how teachers adopt certain aspects of new ideas presented to them rather than the whole rationale of Design and Technology, and how they see opportunities in these ideas to fulfill aims such as bringing more variation into the teaching context, making Science teaching more engaging for pupils and enhancing their self confidence. Reflecting the educational ideology in the Norwegian curriculum, the teachers interpret technology as cross-curricular teaching in meaningful context rather than a subject with its own basis of knowledge and identity. Further, teachers place technology teaching in a frame of practical independency rather than related to industry and commercialism, reflecting the dissimilar history and national identity in Norway and England respectively. These cultural frames appear to be more important for how the teachers have approached technology teaching than their subject background, which has elsewhere been anticipated to create a bias in teachers’ interpretation of technology as a school subject. The study illustrates the importance of teachers’ interpretations for how new ideas are realized in schools, and how these interpretations are deeply rooted in the educational and cultural context.

Correspondence

Berit Bungum
Department of Teacher Education and School Development
P.O. Box 1099 Blindern
0317 Oslo, Norway
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