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Developing a Disposition to Teaching Design and Technology: A Case Study


Ron Hansen ,

University of Western Ontario, CA
About Ron
Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario, Ontario, Canada.
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D. Davies

University of London, GB
About D.
Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, Primary Science Centre, New Cross, England.
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Literature in the field of technological education has attempted, in recent years, to define technology and technological education (e.g., Dyrenfurth & Mihalevich, 1987; Layton, 1993; Ortega, 1962; Staudenmaier, 1985; Wiens, 1988). These definitions emerge, typically, from analyses of what philosophers, sociologists, historians, and educators have written about the subject (Hansen & Froelich, 1994). Reference to what technologists actually do in their work (Rophol, 1991) has also contributed to definition material but to a lesser extent. Missing from the mix of material for a definition is an analysis of what technology instructors do in their classrooms. The following case study provides readers and the emerging literature in technological education with a different viewpoint of technology which is powerful and compelling. The Martin Rivers (a pseudonym) case challenges our understanding of what constitutes effective teaching and learning. It explores the connection between technology and the act of learning. What are the human problem solving instincts and emotions associated with learning something from experience in the technological world? Intentionally, the case also highlights a difficulty which faces technology teachers. That difficulty is the assimilation into several potentially alien cultures made by these teachers. Firstly, there is the culture of the school with its complex hierarchy of relationships and meanings concealed by educational jargon. Secondly, and perhaps more crucially for the technology teacher, is the culture of the subject itself: a new field of study in curriculum terms; fighting for recognition and academic respectability (Goodson, 1994); blurred at the edges by its relationship with design, science, art and mathematics. It is unsurprising that new teachers take time to orient themselves within this new world. How can they be helped to achieve successful enculturation?

How to Cite: Hansen, R., & Davies, D. (1998). Developing a Disposition to Teaching Design and Technology: A Case Study. Journal of Technology Education, 9(2), 19–28. DOI:
Published on 22 Mar 1998.
Peer Reviewed


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