SHIELD, G., 1995. The process approach: a dilemma to be faced in the successful implementation of technology in the National Curriculum. IDATER 1995 Conference, Loughborough: Loughborough University
The development of process orientated higher order cognitive skills is becoming the most common goal of educationalists in the subject area. This perception of the role of technology education has led to the relegation of 'technological facts' and 'craft skills' to a much lower status within the hierarchy of aims and objectives. However whilst this understanding has a considerable underpinning in terms of philosophical thought and learning theory the actual practice in our schools may not reflect this priority.
This paper looks at this issue through the attempts to introduce National Curriculum Technology in our schools and reasons that the considerable chaos surrounding this implementation arises from a number of inter-related factors such as a confusion of aims and objectives, the unfortunate translation of models for 'technology' and 'design' into teaching and learning strategies, and insufficient and impractical guidance from published guidelines.
The paper suggests that whilst the revision of the statutory orders is an improvement, the way forward must be based upon a programme of empirical research which may help to rationalise the gap which exists between rhetoric and practice in delivering technology education in our schools. Such research should reflect professional practice and also recognise the sufficiency of the existing resource base.
The discussion is based upon a review of recent literature, including research reports, as well as the author's qualitative study of the practice of technology in eight secondary schools in the north east of England.