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Attitudes to and perceptions of design and technology students towards the subject: a case of five junior secondary schools in Botswana

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posted on 2022-10-14, 14:14 authored by Michael Gaotlhobogwe

 

The nature of design and technology in the school curriculum is shifting with the times, from a  distinct  subject  associated  with  notions  of  craft and  vocational  preparation  to  anemerging technological literacy subject that supports education for democracy.  This paradigm shift has resulted  in  diverse  views  about  the  place  of  design  and  technology  in  the  curriculum internationally  and  in  the  context  of  the  present  study,  Botswana.Here,  where  the  subject declined  in  uptake  over  a  period  of  10  years  by  up  to  6%  per  year,  despite  positive encouragement  by  the  government,  understanding  student  attitudes  towards  the  subject  is central  to  providing  evidence-based  options  to  policy  makers.  This  study  illustrates  how quantitative  approaches  used  in  the  social  sciences  and  based  on  multivariate  analysis (categorical   Principal   Components   Analysis,   Clustering   Analysis   and   General   Linear Modelling),   can   complement   qualitative   analysis   toinform   educational   policy.   The combination  of  quantitative  and  qualitative  analysis  can  provide  effective,  evidence-based information and support policy development.  The  study  was  conducted  with  design  and  technology  students  in  their  final  year  of  junior secondary  school  (15 –18  years  old).  An  attitude  survey  of  233  students,  focus  group interviews  involving  47  students,  and  semi-structured  interviews  involving  22  teachers  and other staff were conducted in five junior secondary schools across Botswana. Qualitative  interviews  indicated  consistently  that  age,  gender  and  school  performance  all affected   attitudes   of   students   towards   design   and   technology   and   gave   an   in-depth 

xiiiunderstanding  of  the  issue.  Multivariate  analysis  provided  information  in  ranking  howdifferent attitudes contributed to the overall perception of the subject (PCA-Factor analysis), in  assessing  the  relative  and  interacting  effects  of  external  determinants  like  age  or  gender; and in classifying students into attitude groups. The findings show that design and technology enrolment  could  be  improved  by  targeting  children,  girls  in  particular,  who  deemed  the subject  to  be  too  difficult  or  unimportant,  and  by  reinforcing  perceptions  of  design  and technology as an enjoyable life-skill. 

History

School

  • School of Education and Social Policy

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year

2010

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