6 October 2005
Technology dream still unrealised
Howard Fancy’s speech to the Technology Education New Zealand Conference may have been entitled dreams, realities and future directions but the current realities for the technology curriculum are certainly not a dream realised, PPTA president Debbie Te Whaiti said today.
“We would echo the high expectations that the Secretary has for the technology curriculum,” Mrs Te Whaiti said.
“But too few technology graduates are entering teaching, and those that are in teaching need ongoing access to appropriate professional development to upgrade their skills in this fast moving/changing environment.
“They also need ancillary support in their classrooms so that they aren't spending their weekends cleaning up ready for the next week, shopping for the resources to use in class, or fixing broken equipment to make it last a bit longer.”
Mrs Te Whaiti said PPTA was sufficiently concerned about the technology area to conduct a survey of technology teachers. The interim results showed technology education in schools had a long way to go before it met its potential.
The survey highlights concerns about a lack of professional development, the status and perceptions of technology teaching in schools and large class sizes, particularly at junior levels.
“Technology teachers have had to deal with a lot of curriculum change over the past decade, including a move away from making end products to teaching the whole technological process – the concepts and design behind products,” Mrs Te Whaiti said.
“The survey shows some still prefer the more hands-on approach because it meets the needs of their students, while others see the new curriculum as more appropriate.
“But what many are saying is that a lack of understanding about the new curriculum amongst parents and boards means there is still an expectation that children will come home after each class with an end product.”
The high level of concern over status also reflected the problems around the G3 salary group, which had affected many technology teachers, she said.
“Clearly they were badly affected by the Alternative Disputes Resolution decision in 2002.
“The subsequent development of a qualification pathway for technology teachers is only now beginning to improve morale and commitment amongst this group whose work has been absolutely critical to the development of the new technology curriculum and NCEA technology achievement standards and assessment.”