Different textbooks in technology education – different opportunities for developing subject literacy


  • Charlotte Hurdelbrink
  • Susanne Engström KTH


technology education, subject literacy, textbooks, secondary school, language development


This study aims to investigate textbooks in technology education and what characterizes the content related to how instructional materials in technology for grades 7-9 (ages 13-16) provide students with opportunities to develop subject literacy in the subject of technology - how and to what extent. A delimitation is made to the specific content that covers industrial processes, which according to the curriculum should be taught to students aged 13-16 in the Swedish school. Textbooks constitute an important basis for education, and the study analyses the section that deals with industrial processes in four different technology textbooks commonly used for students aged 13-16. The content of texts, images, tasks, etc. has been interpreted in relation to (1) which language development aspects are addressed, (2) which prior knowledge students need to understand the content of the texts, (3) which concepts are discussed, and (4) which knowledge and prior knowledge students bring with them to upper secondary school through these textbooks. The study investigates how concepts are explained, as well as everyday words, words with different meanings in different subjects, and concepts alongside the subject-specific ones, as well as which other words and concepts may be unfamiliar to students and how they are explained and described. Text structures and linguistic structures are presented, as well as how headings and text transitions affect the understanding of the content. An important aim is to analyse the opportunities for developing subject literacy provided and whether the examples provided contribute to students' understanding of the subject and to their ability to communicate their understanding of the subject. The preliminary results show differences in what characterizes the content of the books. The preliminary results also show differences regarding the conditions for developing subject literacy.

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How to Cite

Hurdelbrink, C., & Engström, S. (2023). Different textbooks in technology education – different opportunities for developing subject literacy. The 40th International Pupils’ Attitudes Towards Technology Conference Proceedings 2023, 1(October). Retrieved from https://openjournals.ljmu.ac.uk/PATT40/article/view/1389