Technology education for Hong Kong in the twenty first century : curriculum change and teacher education
Purpose: Technology is widely recognised as one of the major contributing factors to the cultural, social and economic development of a nation. Technology education is also being considered vital for students to learn, live and work in a technological society in the 21" Century. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate what and how technology education could contribute to the personal needs of Hong Kong students and that of Hong Kong's society. The objectives of the study were to (1) identify the status and roles of technology education in Hong Kong, (2) identify and analyse major factors that would facilitate or impede the implementation of technology education into the Hong Kong secondary school curriculum, (3) the professional knowledge, skills and attitudes that newly qualified teachers of technological subjects need to possess for effectively educating students of all traits, and (4) implications of the above changes on technology teacher education programmes. Method A stakeholder survey and follow-up interviews were used to collect data from secondary school administrators and technological subject teachers. A seven-section questionnaire was developed to measure the extent of agreement of the administrators and teachers regarding their perceptions towards (a) technology education, (b) technology education curriculum elements, (c) and (d) factors that would facilitate or impede the implementation of technology education in schools, (e) competences desirable for newly qualified teachers of technological subjects, and (f) technology teacher education programmes. Findings Evidence provided in the study showed that technology education in Hong Kong is shifting from a trade-oriented curriculum towards one that emphases technological literacy for all. Factors facilitating the implementation of technology education in schools being identified were adequate financial support, quality instructional materials and teaching resources, availability of necessary facilities, and appropriate professional development activities for teachers. School administrators and technological subject teachers differed in their perceptions on barriers to successful implementation of technology education in schools. High on the administrators’ priority, list were lack of teacher expertise and leadership in schools; whilst those for the teachers were relating to school administrators' unfavourable decisions made on technology education programmes, lack of understanding of technology education from the school administration, and lack of appropriate facilities and resources. A set of desirable competences for newly qualified teachers of technological subjects were also being identified. Findings from this study support the notion that technological subject teachers need more than just subject matter knowledge. Initial teacher education programmes must therefore ensure that student teachers have sufficient depth and breadth in subject matter knowledge, and help them transform this into pedagogical content knowledge so that they can teach confidently and effectively. Conclusions and Implications: This thesis is a status study of technology education in Hong Kong. The study has added to the growing body of literature on technology education, technology teacher education, and curriculum change. The results of the study provide essential information about technology education in Hong Kong as regards to its historical development, status, and processes of implementation in secondary schools. Outcomes of this study can inform policy-makers and curriculum developers about stakeholders' expectations on technology education, and assist in goal setting, planning, resourcing, and professional development provisions for teachers and other key change agents. It is anticipated that some of the problems confronting the adaptation and implementation in Hong Kong would be useful for education systems of similar social context or stage of economical development. Besides, the set of desirable competences for newly qualified teachers of technological subjects being identified will be useful as a guide for developing teacher competence framework and initial and in-service teacher education programmes in future.