Using concepts drawn from cognitive theory, setting theory, and activity theory to develop student thinking in technology education classes
MetadataShow full item record
The problem addressed in this thesis is the nature of the technology education classroom teaching and learning environments that promote students’ use of higher-order thinking. The problem is addressed firstly, by examining higher-order thinking in terms of theories of cognitive structures, behaviour settings and learning activity. It is argued that contemporary empirical research is limited in its ability to provide a conceptualisation of higher-order thinking. Therefore, this literature is examined to conceptualise higher-order thinking in terms of a relationship between the internal cognitive structures of a person and their activities within a behaviour setting. Secondly, this thesis examines instructional design in contemporary technology education classrooms to ascertain what is understood regarding teaching, learning, and the promotion of higher-order thinking in technology education classes. It was found that little is known and understood through empirical research regarding the conditions that promote higher-order thinking within technology education classrooms. It is prescribed through curriculum documentation that students’ participation in technology education learning activities should support their use and development of higher-order thinking. However, it is argued in this thesis that current theories inadequately define higher-order thinking, resulting in technology education teaching and learning that is fashioned by teacher intuition rather than by knowledge gained through empirical research results. Hence, a better understanding of the classroom activities of teachers and students that support students’ use of higher-order thinking is required to inform curriculum development in technology education. Additionally, the knowledge generated through this research may support teaching and learning and the promotion of higher-order thinking in other similar subject areas. This thesis reports on two studies that investigated technology education classrooms in Australia (Study 1) and America (Study 2) with the aim of interpreting classroom conditions that appeared to be associated with students’ use of higher-order thinking. In both studies, a research approach was adopted that combined quantitative and qualitative methods of investigation. Studies 1and 2 surveyed introductory technology education classes to assess the extent to which the technology education learning environment promoted different types of student thinking. Subsequent qualitative methods of investigation, comprising video analyses and video-stimulated interviews, were used to interpret the classroom activities that encouraged students to think in particular ways. In Study 1, technology education classes in South East Queensland, Australia were video-recorded and teachers and students were interviewed using a video-stimulated technique to interpret the factors that caused students to think differently. In Study 2, technology classes in North Carolina, America were observed using a researcher-generated checklist to interpret the factors that caused students to think differently. The results of these studies across two countries have facilitated the formulation of classroom programs that are advanced as promoting student higher-order thinking in technology education classes.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Education and Professional Studies
Item Access Status
Page 254 removed for copyright reasons.
teaching and learning environments