“The main thing is practical work” – Teachers’ beliefs supporting the intellectual development of technology education
Keywords:intellectual development, teacher beliefs, teaching practice, differentiation, assistive technologies
Although technology shapes our world comprehensively, technical education has hardly been discussed in Germany in the special context on mental development. Even though technical education is anchored in the curriculum, it is not yet known which beliefs teachers at special schools have about technical education. Teachers' beliefs play an important role in teachers' attitudes towards student thinking and how lesson content should be selected and taught. These beliefs were assessed in the present study via a qualitative research design involving teachers from special schools in Germany (N:9).
The results indicate that technical education is strongly practice-oriented and is mainly used to teach manual skills and work-related soft skills. The production task plays a special role here, as it proves to be a consistently important method in teachers' estimation. In the production process, teachers provide various forms of material and personal support. The aim is for pupils to achieve a successful and finished product and in the process experience themselves as successful. This production process requires a high degree of flexibility on the part of teachers regarding both the competence levels of the pupils and the technical requirements.
Important suggestions can be derived for the conceptual design of inclusive technical education, paying greater attention to pupils’ individual needs. At the same time, however, the results point to a need for qualification, since teachers predominantly focus on only one specific area of technical competence. The goal of technical literacy intended for technical education programmes does not yet seem to be sufficiently achieved in the context on mental development.
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