How Does Teacher Professional Development Support and Improve Technology Teacher Practice?
The development and implementation of the New Zealand Curriculum in 2007 and the introduction of standards-based assessment, in the form of achievement standards, has necessitated a raft of changes for technology teachers. Professional development is widely considered to be of value in developing teacher knowledge which can positively impact on student knowledge and achievement. While there is a considerable body of research on professional development, there is a limited amount specific to technology education professional development in a New Zealand context. This thesis is based on an examination of the nature and characteristics of effective professional development for technology teachers. It used a qualitative, interpretive design and gathered data by interviewing a group of ten technology teachers and heads of technology departments from different schools in one region. The interview data were transcribed and sorted using inductive content analysis in order to categorise them and draw conclusions. The findings indicate that there is a wide range of characteristics which may be considered effective for technology teachers in this study, and foremost, the opportunity for teachers to work collaboratively in examining programmes, student work, resources and exemplars, such that teachers can build on their existing knowledge and skills, is most effective for them. The development of pedagogical content knowledge and subject content knowledge enabled the teachers to construct new understandings of teaching and student learning processes in technology education. The implications of this study are that facilitators, teachers, and others working within this curriculum area may be informed by its findings and as a result, professional development may be more effective in supporting teacher learning.