Establishing proficient practices for technology teaching and learning is an immense challenge, especially since technology is a new subject that was added as one of the new learning areas within the South African education curriculum. This happened when the South African education system was reviewed after the 1994 democratic elections and OBE was chosen as not only the hub, but the underpinning philosophy of education. As part of the challenges that followed implementing a new subject, when technology was first implemented, there were no qualified teachers to teach it, and there were no official academic programmes to train those who were inevitably selected to teach it. After a while, the government found out that all was not well with the national curriculum technology and that in many schools, it was not as well taught as other subjects. From ever since, institutions of higher learning and service providers across the country made efforts to develop programmes and offer formal training in technology education. This study intended to carefully examine how technology academic programmes are conceptualised, planned, and implemented; and how that contributes to efficient training and development of student-teachers in technology education. This it did by purposefully sampling the University of Pretoria (UP) and performing a case study on its technology education pre-service programme. The investigation necessitated the concept: "the essential features of an effective and comprehensive technology education programme", which the researcher believes are inescapable because they forms the core, effect and success of technology programmes' design features; and they have a propensity to guide educational practice to enhanced performances and yield. From literature, the essential features are centred on programme design, content, teaching methods, programme coordination, staffing, student assessment policies and practices and the context of study. The investigation at UP started with programme conceptualisation and planning, which the researcher performed by interviewing the developers, designers and the lecturing staff. She then performed document analysis on the study guides and university general programme to investigate programme content; and she did lecture observations to explore teaching methods. The results of the study indicated that UP technology education pre-service programme is conceptualised and planned based on problem-based learning, project-driven approach and standard-based design. The lecturing staff applies learner-centred, activity-based, and outcome-based approaches that provide student teachers with opportunities to engage in authentic, real-life problems. The programme content consists of modules that are made up of study units that engage various technology concepts and knowledge base. They have good resources and specialised venues for technology teaching and learning. UP-D&T is balanced and auspicious; students and lecturers are enthusiastic and positive about the activities of this programme. However there exist a few hiccups, which are resembled in the level at which certain essential features are engaged within UP-D&T. The designers and lecturing staff might want to conduct some impact studies of this programme, as well as evaluations of practice on student-teachers presently training and those who were trained under this programme in the past. The study reflected in-depth descriptions of how technology education programmes can be comprehensively designed; by providing a window, patterns, essential features and rubrics for enhanced planning, practice and implementation. Discussions thereof might serve to mobilise, critique and further the discourse on effective pre-service teacher education.
Dissertation (MEd (Science and Technology Education))--University of Pretoria, 2008.