28 November 2006
PPTA calls for select committee inquiry into technology curriculum
PPTA is recommending that the Education and Science Select Committee urgently initiate an inquiry into the staffing, resourcing and delivery of the technology curriculum.
It follows the release of PPTA’s focus group research and survey of technology teachers that details a multitude of concerns about the technology curriculum, the subject’s status in schools, the inadequacy of resources and facilities to teach technology and the difficulty schools face recruiting and retaining qualified technology teachers.
PPTA Executive member (Southland) Penney Dunckley said many focus group participants had expressed their frustration about the language in the technology curriculum, and the difficulty of weaving the various elements of the curriculum into their classroom practise.
“They say the current curriculum’s focus on the process over product places too much emphasis on paperwork and not enough on practical skills,” she said.
“That undermines their ability to develop technology as a subject that combines and values both practical and theoretical knowledge.”
Mrs Dunckley said schools had also been expected to take a "flexible" approach to the subject but there were few resources and little appropriate professional development support.
There had been improvements in resourcing, such as through the Beacon Schools initiative, but contestable funding meant not all technology teachers could access the funding.
The research report comes as the Ministry of Education consults on a new draft curriculum which many technology teachers say fails to address these issues because of its generic nature and the perceived lack of emphasis on skills.
Mrs Dunckley said the new curriculum needed to acknowledge that many students took technology to gain practical skills that would contribute towards a trades career. “The ideal curriculum would marry understanding of the technological process with the ability to design and make high value products.”
She said PPTA hoped that the government would acknowledge the concerns of technology teachers and work to address them. “Technology teachers feel their subject is worthwhile and enjoyable but they want to realise its full potential.
“The intention of the recommendations is to begin the process of developing a strategy that will underpin the growth of the technology subject and with it a growth in the number of students with the appropriate technological skills and knowledge for the future. “
1. That the Education and Science Select Committee urgently initiate an inquiry into the staffing, resourcing and delivery of the technology curriculum.
2. That the Ministry of Education urgently develop a strategy that ensures:
a. The establishment of a well-funded two-year pre-service teacher education course designed to produce technology graduates with a level 7 subject qualification and teacher education.
b. That students in years 7 and 8 in technology centres are taught by specialist technology teachers.
c. That the revised technology curriculum balances theory and applied concepts/skills and uses language that is accessible and clear in intent.
d. That high quality curriculum exemplars across the full range of technological areas in levels 3 to 8 of the revised curriculum are produced and made available to teachers.
e. That priority is given to improving the range and quality of assessment exemplars for NCEA technology.
f. That adequate professional development along with in-school support in all aspects of technology is provided for technology teachers throughout New Zealand.
g. That priority is given to covering the full range of technological areas in the allocation of senior subject advisor positions over at least the next three years.
h. That tagged funding is provided to schools to resource ancillary support for technology departments.
i. That technology facilities in all schools are subject to a full health and safety audit, to ensure compliance with Occupational Safety and Health requirements, followed by appropriate funded remedial action.