Girls and technology education in junior secondary school

  • Michael Hall

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The participation of girls in technology education over recent decades has been, and continues to be, less than it is for boys. Theories on the probable reasons for this under-participation have ranged from those espousing the need for equal access for girls to technology education, to those that criticise the nature of technology and technology education. Recent theories on the under-participation of girls in technology education have adopted a socially critical perspective. The feminist critical theorists proposed that technology has a socially constructed masculine nature that has been engendered in a culture of patriarchy. Such theorists argued, that for girls to aspire to participate and achieve equally with boys in technology education, technology and technology education needs to be degendered and reconstructed in a culture that includes the contributions, interests and experiences of women and girls. In this study I was concerned with the under-participation by girls in the technology courses offered in a co-educational secondary school in N.S.W. I offered an introductory Design and Technology (DAT) course that aimed to enable the girls to experience technology education in an empowering way and therefore, enhance the likelihood that they would select technology courses in future studies. I also aimed to gauge the influence of a single-sex setting on the girls’ experience with technology education. The influence of the DAT course was gauged by the changes in the pupils attitudes to, and perceptions of, technology. I found in this study that the girls conceived of technology as being a diverse concept, but one that clearly involved a design process approach to problem solving. They maintained a positive perception of the importance of technology and perceived technology to be easier to understand at the end of the course than before it. Their attitudes to technology were positive and remained that way over the duration of the course. By holding clear perceptions of technology and positive attitudes to it, the girls experienced technology education in an empowering way. However, a particularly significant finding for me personally in this study was that a researcher must carefully align the assumptions that underpin his/her theoretical framework with the aims of the study and the research approach selected for the study. That I did not do this is one weakness of my study.
    Date of Award1997
    Original languageEnglish

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