Technology teachers' perspectives on the Technology curriculum.
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South Africa‟s new democratic government adopted widespread reforms aimed at transforming the country‟s education system and redressing apartheid inequities. The new curriculum framework based on Outcomes Based Education (OBE) introduced nine new learning areas, including Technology. However, many challenges such as contextual constraints, unqualified teachers, inadequate training of teachers, the lack of resources and varied interpretations of the Technology curriculum were encountered during its implementation that led to several curriculum reviews. It is against this backdrop that this study explores Technology teachers‟ perspectives of their experiences in interpreting and implementing the Technology curriculum in the classroom. The conceptual framework that was adopted enabled an understanding of the term perspective, the philosophical background of perspectives and the kind of knowledge that could be obtained from such. The theoretical framework comprised of Nietzsche‟s (1882) theory of „perspectivism‟ on which this study relies heavily to understand Technology teachers‟ perspectives. Perspectives operate on the general notion that that they are altering all the time. Hence, Nietzsche postulates that there should be no stopping points to arrive at an understanding of a perspective. As a result of this, there were various interpretations obtained to synthesise the data obtained. Nietzsche‟s (1882) theory of affects in „perspectivism‟ namely, coherency, legitimacy and practicality, were used in understanding the perspectives of teachers. Thus, the multiplicity of perspectives used in the study crystallised the understanding of this study. The various interpretations of the data obtained as well as the findings align with Nietzsche‟s proliferation of perspectives for interpretation to be correct. A qualitative research design and an interpretive paradigm were adopted to gather rich, detailed data within the participants‟ real contexts. Four participants were purposefully selected from four different school contexts. A case study methodology was employed to gain insight into Technology teachers‟ perspectives. Data collection techniques utilised in the study included individual semi-structured interviews, a video recording of each teacher‟s Technology lesson, followed by a stimulated interview. The semi-structured interviews were believed to provide in-depth information as well as elicit perspectives that would have historical underpinnings of the participants. Video recording of a Technology lesson followed much later by a stimulated interview would ensure that richer data was generated for better understanding of individual teacher‟s perspectives on the curriculum. The data was sorted using thematic analysis. In the data analysis chapters, nine themes were constructed and analysed with the literature and understood using the conceptual and theoretical framework to assist with the ontology. The main finding in this study is that the Technology curriculum is not only widening the gap between the privileged and underprivileged schools, but is implicated in the reproduction of inequalities in South Africa. The findings reveal that South Africa‟s education system as a whole is plagued by several challenges confronting the teaching of the Technology curriculum, which include the disruption of university preparation of Technology teachers due to constant curriculum changes and the constraints of a rigid curriculum which leave little room for flexibility. Learners‟ use of technological devices is disapproved, a universal Technology curriculum for a diversity of school contexts is set and teacher beliefs and Technology curriculum pedagogy are not synchronised. The Technology curriculum is viewed as unfair in terms of its expectations in poorly resourced schools. Assessment was found to be unrealistic, impractical and irrelevant in the Technology curriculum. Furthermore, the Technology curriculum revealed how learners from underprivileged schools lacked cultural capital which hinders them from competing at a global level, creating even further inequalities. Based on these findings, it is recommended that the Department of Education (DoE) keeps Technology teachers up-to-date about curriculum matters and supports teachers during implementation and ensures that the sharing of resource on wheels be implemented so all schools have access to some resources. It is also recommended that Technology teachers should be part of the curriculum design process and that perhaps schools can be used as centres to keep parents of the community up-to-date with technological developments.