A future-focused approach to the technology education curriculum: the disparity between intent and practice

  • Elizabeth ReinsfieldEmail author


The recently revised New Zealand Curriculum in technology education [Ministry of Education (MoE) Digital technologies: Hangarau Matihiki, Wellington, 2017.] presents opportunities for teachers to provide a future-focused approach to learning. Teacher perceptions about the nature of their subject and the discourse within their school however, influence how the curriculum is interpreted, for enactment. This article reports findings from Ph.D. research that explored the disparity between the intent of the technology curriculum and the practice of five technology teachers, in two secondary school settings. There is a focus on the ways that teachers might be supported to navigate challenges and enable change in their practice, if they are motivated to enact technology education in a future-focused way. Teachers’ interpretation and enactment of the New Zealand curriculum are heavily influenced by others’ understanding of their subject, and the organisational structures in their school. A threshold concept is presented as a strategy to transform teachers’ thinking, when making meaning of the curriculum, and to develop their knowledge for practice. Recommendations are made regarding the necessary changes in thinking and practice in technology education in New Zealand, to address a further disparity between what school-based practitioners believe students need and what academic researchers assert is important in contemporary education. Initial Teacher Education Programmes are briefly discussed as a means of addressing this issue from another perspective, to ensure that student teachers are exposed to future-focused conceptions of the curriculum at University, to compensate when such practice is not observed during their school placements.


Curriculum Future-focused Initial teacher education Technology education Threshold concepts 



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

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