Exploring the impact of pedagogic approaches in technology practice upon the construction of feminine identity
Females participate to a limited extent in science, engineering and technology (SET) industries that are central to innovation and building national economies. The causes of this under representation, in part, have their roots embedded in how females perceive school mathematics, science and technology subjects as being inconsistent with their gender identity. A participatory action research methodology was used to investigate the effect of two different pedagogical approaches for teaching middle school mathematics and science through technology practice on female students' attitudes to SET. Quantitative and qualitative data related to enjoyment, intention to undertake further such study, perceived usefulness and interest in career options involving SET, and perceptions of the investigative nature of the two approaches, were sought using, interviews, classroom observations, and a modified survey instrument. The findings indicated that female students responded in a more positive manner when careful scaffolding and the establishment of explicit linkages between the construction activity and mathematics principles were part of the pedagogical approach. In addition, there were specific types of projects that females found authentic. The implications of these findings for SET syllabus authors, pre- and inservice teacher educators, and classroom teachers are explored.
Inspire and educate : DATA International Research Conference 2005