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A Preliminary Exploration of Second Specialty Teachers’ Motivation, Curricular Consciousness Construction and Teaching Practices in Living Technology Education
Author: Szu-Chun Fan (Department of Industrial Technology Education, National Kaohsiung Normal University), Chun-Yu Chen (Department of Industrial Technology Education, National Kaohsiung Normal University)

Vol.&No.:Vol. 66, No. 3
Date:September 2021
Pages:31-59
DOI:https://doi.org/10.6209/JORIES.202109_66(3).0002

Abstract:
Background
    Technology education plays an increasingly vital role in ensuring students’ technological literacy under the new Curriculum Guidelines of 12-Year Basic Education, which was introduced in 2019. However, because of the low importance assigned to living technology courses, most schools do not have sufficient qualified teachers in this field. This poses a hurdle in the implementation of the technology curriculum of Taiwan’s 12-year basic education. Moreover, because of declining birthrates, many teachers have no students to teach and the number of teachers in junior high schools have consequently shrunk. The Ministry of Education established a second-specialty course to provide teachers with a second professional certificate to meet the teaching needs of schools. Living technology is based on hands-on learning, problem-solving, and design thinking. Therefore, in addition to the conceptual knowledge of technology and engineering, living technology teachers should possess diverse practical skills and engineering design thinking and problem-solving abilities. Unlike other traditional disciplines, the living technology course attaches great importance to practical hands-on skills for solving technical problems, which is a major challenge faced by teachers of the second specialty. On the basis of this background, this research explored different means of helping teachers with second specialty to teach living technology more effectively.
Purpose
    The purpose of this study is to explore the transformation of teachers, who have taken the second specialty course in living technology. These teachers’ motivation, beliefs, curricular awareness construction, and teaching practices were examined. Understanding the dynamic relationship among multiple factors that can be used as a reference for the future promotion of teacher training and professional development in the field of technology is imperative.
Theoretical Framework
    The theoretical framework of the study is based on teachers’ beliefs, curricular consciousness, the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) (Ajzen, 1985, 1991), curricular awareness, and teaching practices. This study evaluated (1) teachers’ motivation to participate in professional development learning and (2) teachers’ curricular consciousness.
    First, this study investigated teachers’ motivation from the perspective of their beliefs and self-efficacy. Teachers’ self-efficacy refers to their belief in their abilities to teach effectively and is assessed according to whether the students have acquired real knowledge and abilities (Thoonen et al., 2011). When teachers regard teaching as a mission but feel that they lack professional competence and face pressure from changes in the educational environment, they are motivated to invest in continuing education. However, most teachers engage in continuing education because of several motivating factors.
    Second, teachers’ curriculum consciousness is a dynamic process of awareness. It includes internal reflection, beliefs in their teaching, reflection on curriculum implementation, and interpretation and organization of the environment (Fang & Feng, 2017). Specifically, curricular awareness includes awareness of professional knowledge, awareness of self-beliefs, and awareness of the environment (Chen, 2003; Fang & Feng, 2017; Kung & Lin, 2009). Professional knowledge includes content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, knowledge of the teaching environment, and knowledge of students (Shulman, 1986, 1987). Professional knowledge should have a positive connection with teaching practice, which, in turn, modifies curriculum consciousness. Self-belief awareness refers to the self-evaluation of the results of applying certain teaching activities and teaching strategies. This can be explained in conjunction with the “attitude” aspect of the TPB (Ajzen, 1985, 1991). Environmental factors, such as hardware and software equipment, school culture, parents, and community, may present limitations and challenges to teachers but may also be perceived as opportunities related to the “subjective norm” and “perceived behavior control” factors in the TPB (Ajzen, 1985, 1991).
Design/Methods
    On the basis of a review of the existing literature, this study investigated the factors that affect teachers’ motivation for and effectiveness in participating in a second-specialty course and subsequently constructed the outline of a semi-structured interview. A case study was employed along with semi-structured, in-depth interviews with nine teachers from various junior high schools in southern Taiwan. Both individual and group interviews were conducted. The second-specialty course of living technology started in July 2018. To elucidate the changes in the participants’ curricular consciousness after the second-specialty course, the interviews were conducted after the first stage of the course (following the completion of eleven credits). The interviews, each lasting approximately 60 minutes, were conducted in October 2018. The transcripts of the interviews were imported into NVivo qualitative analysis software, and the data were analyzed through the following steps: First, preliminary coding and classification was conducted on the basis of the aspects of investment motivation, curriculum awareness, teaching practices. Second, two researchers discussed the preliminary inductive findings, identified common or disparate views, and focused on further establishing concepts. Third, the summarized concepts were compared with related literature, and, if necessary, the interviewees were invited to verify the accuracy of the analysis results or provide auxiliary reference materials. Triangulation was used to ensure the validity of the study. Finally, in-depth discussions were held according to the research purpose, and the research findings were summarized.
Results
    The encoding and analysis of the data using NVivo produced the following research findings: (1) The motivation of teachers to participate in the second-specialty course of living technology primarily came from their interest in hands-on implementation and their schools’ teaching needs. All teachers reported that before teaching living technology courses, they believed that this subject involved handicrafts or industrial arts, which they had previously learned. Most knowledge of technology was derived from self-learning and the experience of using technology in daily life. Most of the participants indicated that fully understanding and transforming the subject into teaching activities was difficult. (2) The effect of teachers’ participation in the second-specialty course on the development of their curricular consciousness included the promotion of their professional awareness of living technology courses, the transformation of their beliefs concerning technology education, and the establishment of positive self-awareness regarding teaching living technology. (3) Teaching practice prompted teachers of the second-specialty course to rapidly absorb and transform professional knowledge. However, in the process, their teaching confidence was affected by external environmental factors and a lack of professional knowledge. (4) The support available to teacher communities from inside and outside the school and from the school administration are critical to enabling teachers in the second-specialty course to overcome their teaching difficulties.
Conclusion
    This study explored the transformation of second-specialty teachers involved in technology education, including their motivation, beliefs, curricular awareness construction, and teaching practices. On the basis of a literature review and interview analysis, the researchers proposed a framework to highlight the dynamic relationship between teachers’ curricular consciousness and their teaching practices. The results demonstrated that substantial professional growth occurs between learning in the second-specialty course and teaching living technology in junior high school. Teachers’ learning motivation, knowledge construction, and real-life teaching situations influence each other and affect teachers’ self-awareness, professional awareness, and environmental awareness, respectively. These dynamic interactions help form teachers’ curricular awareness. The interviews revealed that external change factors may motivate teachers to expand their knowledge. However, the most critical factors involve teachers independently generating learning motivation and curricular consciousness and desiring real changes that prompts them to invest in continual learning and teaching practices. Furthermore, teachers must establish their own teaching beliefs and curricular awareness to strengthen their teaching confidence in new fields and face external pressure, which is the core focus of curricular reform.

Keywords:living technology, out-of-field teaching, motivation, second specialty, curricular consciousness

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APA FormatFan, S.-C., & Chen, C.-Y. (2021). A preliminary exploration of second specialty teachers’ motivation, curricular consciousness construction and teaching practices in living technology education. Journal of Research in Education Sciences, 66(3), 31-59. https://doi.org/10.6209/JORIES.202109_66(3).0002