Agendas, influences, and capability: perspectives on practice in design and technology education.
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A philosophical shift in policy now situates the development of technological capability as the focus of Irish technology education. Internationally, the effectiveness of curricular reform in the discipline has previously been called to question, as the legacy of the preceding vocational craft subjects has been seen to throttle the evolution of practice in aligning with emergent policy. As Irish technology education shares this vocational heritage, this research seeks to explore the effectiveness of policy change through an investigation of current practices in the discipline. Specifically, this research seeks to explore the alignment of teachers’ perceptions of practice in terms of the focus of learning activities and educational outcomes as prescribed by curricula. A methodological framework was developed to explore teachers’ (n = 15) perceptions, ecologically rooted in the tasks and activities they use to teach in their classrooms. The results suggest a misalignment between what teachers conceive as important to the discipline, and their enacted practices. The paper unpacks the contentions surrounding this misalignment and discusses factors which appear to influence teachers’ perceptions, forming a greater understanding of what influences practice in the discipline.
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