Developments in technology education in New Zealand 1993-1995: an analysis of the reflections of key participants
Compton, V. (2001). Developments in technology education in New Zealand 1993-1995: an analysis of the reflections of key participants (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14192
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14192
As of February the 15ᵗʰ 1999, Technology Education came into New Zealand’s education system as a legal requirement for students from years 1 to 10. All schools under the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s jurisdiction were required to implement technology into their school curriculum for these year levels in order to meet this requirement. Schools and teachers were supported in doing this by a national curriculum statement in technology that had been released in 1995. Developments that occurred during the 1993 to 1995 time period leading up to the release of the technology curriculum statement were critical both to the curriculum development and subsequent developments in the field of technology education in New Zealand. Technology’s entry into New Zealand education as a learning area in its own right reflects a worldwide trend whereby technological literacy has been identified as a worthwhile goal for formal schooling. Alongside the arguments for economic growth and the future wellbeing of societies, educationalists have supported this entry by way of educative arguments based on technology providing a site for the synthesis of theory and practice. New Zealand’s movement into technology education reflects all the international rationales, but contains another dimension that sets it apart. That is, an emphasis on the sociological aspects of technological developments and practice. It is this aspect of technology education that provides the potential for technology education in New Zealand to support student empowerment through the development of a liberatory technological literacy. Working from a conflation of interpretivist, praxis-oriented and postmodernist methodological discourses, this thesis provides an explanation of the developments between 1993 and 1995 in terms of the interactions of people involved, rather than the outcomes alone. Such an explanation can also provide opportunities for the future developments in field of technology education as people from both within and outside the developments come to better understand the complex interactions that determined the nature of technology education’s past. An analytical framework reflecting sociocultural theories was developed to fulfil this intent. This framework specifically uses components of practice theory developed by Bourdieu, and notions of learning through participation in communities of practice as developed by Lave and Wenger. It provides a framework by which the reflections and perceptions of individuals involved in key groups within the developments can be brought together to provide an interpretive account of the groups themselves as a collective. Research data was therefore gathered from participants involved in two key groups in the development of the technology education in New Zealand. These being the Curriculum Development Group and the 1995 Facilitator Training Group. From such an analysis the explanatory account developed would be more robust in that it would be developed from multiple, and often contradictory, perspectives. This thesis concludes that the nature and direction of the field of technology education in New Zealand has been determined by a very small number of individuals within the development. This aspect of its developmental history has resulted in barriers to technology education’s potential for educational reform. However, this thesis also concludes that these barriers are not insurmountable and potential does still exist for technology education in New Zealand to provide opportunities for students to develop liberatory technological literacy. The literature review, data analysis and resultant explanation provided in the form of this thesis should go some way towards addressing teachers’ and teacher educators’ feelings of confusion and alienation that have arisen from the centre-peripheral nature of curriculum development adopted and the lack information and consultation identified during the 1993 to 1995 time period. The resolution of such feelings will remove one of the identified barriers to reform.
The University of Waikato
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