Technology Education in Transition: Perceptions of Technology Education Teachers, Administrators, and Guidance Counselors
| Roger B. Hill
The University of Georgia
| Robert C. Wicklein
The University of Georgia
| Michael K. Daugherty
Illinois State University
The field of technology education has gone through considerable introspection and revision in the past twenty years. During this time technology educators have instituted multiple changes in curriculum, program requirements, and facilities (Volk, 1993). Daugherty and Boser (1993) stated that in the past ten years "the philosophy, curricula, and methodologies used to guide the discipline may have changed more dramatically than they have in the preceding one hundred years" (p. 31). Waetjen (1989) supported this assertion when he indicated that the last decade has witnessed a startling change in what was once industrial arts and has now evolved into technology education. As the field of technology education continues to evolve, its unique mission to provide relevant and meaningful learning experiences that reinforce academic content and enhance higher-order thinking skills is becoming clearer (Johnson, 1992).
Through various means, thousands of administrators, teachers, and ancillary staff have been exposed to technology education in recent years. Literature in the field, however, has reported that technology education is still often referred to and thought of as shop (Clark, 1989). Herschbach (1992) suggested that by the end of the decade the transformation from industrial arts to technology education will be complete. There is less certainty, however, that the public will understand what technology education entails. With the evolution of the technology education discipline, many different opinions have developed about what should be taught and where it should be taught (Dugger, 1994). Some view technology as a part of the science curriculum, while others think it is more closely allied with engineering. Some schools place technology as a component of vocational education; others believe that technology should be taught in an integrated manner with mathematics, science, social studies, and other subjects.
Some efforts to integrate technology education into the total school environment have met with resistance or failed because administrators, teachers, or ancillary staff members (i.e., guidance counselors) did not adequately understand the new role and purpose of technology education (Clark, 1989). Starkweather (1990) presented a holistic perspective of the problem of misperceptions by educational leaders external to the profession. He insisted that this problem is critical to the field, whether or not leaders within the profession hold a common vision and understanding.
While technology education professionals have made considerable strides in curriculum and program development, it is not clear whether the impact of this progression has been felt or understood by educational decision makers. An accurate understanding of the purposes of technology education by key public school decision makers is essential for the continued development of the field. Oaks (1991) reported that state supervisors of technology education did not perceive local school administrators to be strong advocates of the technology education curriculum. Betts, Yuill, and Bray (1989) pointed out that "the problem appears to be that those who make decisions affecting our program do not have a positive image of our program" (p. 27). Selby (1988) indicated that outmoded ideas and misguided perceptions are the common enemy of all disciplines. Similarly, Dyrenfurth (1987) suggested that while technology education is considered an essential part of a quality education, there are often misinterpretations and stereotypical misrepresentations associated with the field. In a study conducted by Wright (1991), the primary reason for teachers' leaving the field of technology education was a lack of administrative support and understanding. This lack of support may be linked to administrators' holding the perception that technology education is a non-scholastic subject that fails to promote student achievement. Based on a study to identify the critical issues and problems in technology education, Wicklein (1993) reported that public relations should be a serious concern and a recognized problem for the technology education field. He recommended that
Serious efforts should be established and implemented to communicate the purpose and scope of technology education to decision makers and interested people groups. All levels of technology educators and administrators need to be made aware of this serious issue/problem of public relations, positioning, and support gathering. (p. 70)
Pucel (1993) suggested that technology educators must clearly communicate the field's unique contribution to the education of students. Similarly, Daugherty and Boser (1993) suggested that it is time for professionals within the technology education community to realize that the field has an image problem and that efforts must be made to inform and educate the public.
Clearly, the literature reflects considerable concern that technology education is not understood or fully appreciated by those outside the profession, especially among administrators and other key school personnel. The question considered in this study is whether or not this perception of misunderstanding and lack of support, especially by school principals and counselors, is accurate. Some of the reports that have drawn attention to this concern were generated early in the transition process; others were based on anecdotes rather than research. Before technology educators begin to address the issue of misconceptions about the field, they should determine the nature and extent of the problem.
The key to technology education's becoming a general education unit for all students in American schools will be helping the local school decision makers to understand and appreciate the genuine contributions of technology education. As Herschbach (1992) stated, technology education "has the potential to become an intellectual discipline and can claim to be more relevant than many of the older subjects" (p. 14).
Administrators and guidance counselors are primarily responsible for enrollment patterns in secondary technology education programs. Therefore, it is imperative that the field first identify the perceptions held by these decision makers and then take action to influence them. As this task is approached by professional associations and through other collective efforts, it is important that negative expectations and beliefs be changed if they are no longer valid.
The purpose of this research was to determine whether technology education professionals, school principals, and school counselors agree about selected characteristics of the field of technology education. If differences were found, further analysis was planned to identify the nature of that disagreement. Integration of technology education into the secondary general education curriculum cannot be implemented effectively until all members of the educational community share a clear understanding of the purpose of technology education. The following research questions were developed to investigate these issues:
- Is there a significant difference between technology teacher, principal, and counselor responses as measured by the Characteristics of Technology Education Survey (CTES)?
- To whatever extent responses differ among technology teachers, principals, and counselors, what is the nature of these differences?
In selecting the sample for this study, two primary groups were identified: (a) exemplary technology education teachers and (b) the principals and counselors of the schools where the exemplary teachers teach technology education. Exemplary teachers were selected to establish base-line data regarding the perceived status of technology education within the field. Although this design limits generalizability of the research results, it was determined that by evaluating the best-case scenarios, the apex of general understanding achieved within the educational community could be determined. In addition to the exemplary technology teachers, principals and counselors from the same schools were asked to respond to the CTES so that their perspectives on technology education could be compared to those of the exemplary teachers. The principals and school counselors were considered key decision makers who had significant influence on the success or failure of the technology education program. The principal had authority to support or refuse support to any instructional program within his/her school, and the counselor was a significant force in determining which students would be enrolled in the technology education program. Individuals in these positions were viewed as playing important roles in the development of any technology education program and as key sources of information for this investigation.
Identification of exemplary teachers. The exemplary technology teachers identified in this study were selected through two national surveys targeted at state supervisors/specialists of technology education and university professors of technology education. By the use of a mailed questionnaire, representatives from all 50 states were surveyed; respondents included 70 university professors of technology education and 48 state supervisors/specialists of technology education from state departments of education. The criteria used to identify exemplary technology teachers were based on the following teacher qualifications:
- Currently teaching in a high quality, well developed technology education program.
- Minimum of 3 years teaching experience as a classroom teacher of technology education.
- Creative developer of technology education curriculum materials.
- Uses instructional methodologies that go beyond lecture and demonstration.
- Perceived by peer technology teachers as being a leader in technology education within their state.
- Perceived by peer teachers within their school as an innovative and positive force.
A total of 210 exemplary technology teachers were identified. Slightly more than half of these teachers (56%) were identified by teacher educators; the remaining exemplary teachers were selected by supervisors of technology education (44%). The principals and school counselors for the sample were drawn from the same schools as the identified exemplary technology teachers. In all, 630 educators were selected to participate in this evaluation of perceptions about technology education.
Survey of exemplary teachers, principals, and counselors. A total of 353 usable questionnaires were returned and included in the final research sample. In terms of professional affiliation, 42.2% of the respondents were identified as technology teachers (n = 149), 29.7% were classified as principals (n = 105), and the remaining 28.0% were designated as school counselors (n = 99). The age distribution of the sample was predominately weighted with educators in the 41-50 age group (48.2%). The sample represented a very experienced group of professional educators; 37.4% indicated more than 15 years experience at their present school (n = 132) and 68.6% of the respondents reported more than 15 years of experience in professional education (n = 242). The sample was well educated, with more than three-fourths of all respondents (84.4%, n = 298) holding graduate-level (master's or doctoral) degrees.
Individuals selected for participation in this study were mailed the Characteristics of Technology Education Survey (CTES), a two-page (45 item) questionnaire designed to determine their perceptions of the characteristics of the field of technology education. The self-report questionnaire was divided into five sections. The first section asked for demographic information including age, years of employment at the present school, years of experience, highest degree attained, and educational affiliation (e.g., technology teacher, principal, counselor). Information about educational affiliation was necessary to form the basis for a comparative analysis of the respondents' perceptions. The other information was used to provide descriptive statistics on the sample.
The remaining portion of the survey consisted of 40 items related to curriculum content, methodology, integration of technology education with other school subjects, and "fit" within the total school environment. These interrelated categories were based on a review of the literature and the content model for the study of technology, as described in A Conceptual Framework for Technology Education (Savage & Sterry, 1990). The curriculum items sought to identify the subjects' understanding of course content for technology education, and the methodological items measured perceptions of the pedagogical methods used in technology education. Items in the third area were used to distinguish perceptions of how subject matter integration occurred within the technology education curriculum (primarily mathematics and science), and the fourth section represented the perceptions of the relationship of technology education to the total school environment.
The three groups of participants responded to identical statements on the CTES concerning the characteristics of technology education. The responses were made by marking levels of agreement with each statement according to a five point Likert scale: (1) strongly disagree, (2) disagree, (3) no opinion, (4) agree, and (5) strongly agree.
Pilot testing of the instrument was conducted to refine individual instrument items and to insure an accurate interpretation of the instrument instructions. Pilot test data were collected during a professional association workshop where the researchers had access to a group of practicing professional educators in teaching as well as in supervisory positions. A total of 14 respondents participated in the pilot test. Participants completed the instrument and provided written feedback regarding the clarity and validity of the instrument. Based on these evaluations two minor changes were made to instrument items and one specific clarification was made on the attached cover letter. The Cronbach Coefficient Alpha test was used to establish reliability and internal consistency for the questionnaire and resulted in a reliability index of .90 for the pilot study.
Design and Procedures
A total of 630 educators were selected as a sampling frame for this study: 210 exemplary technology teachers, 210 principals, and 210 school counselors. Each member of the sample was mailed a one-page cover letter, a questionnaire, and a pre-addressed, postage paid envelope. A follow-up mailing was made for those not responding to the initial survey request after a 3-week waiting period. Responses were collected for an additional 3-week period and then data collection ceased. This procedure resulted in a total of 371 questionnaires being returned for a response rate of 58.8%. Of the returned surveys, 18 were judged incomplete and unusable and were excluded from further analysis; the remaining 353 questionnaires comprised the total usable data (56%). No response bias was detected from a comparison of early and late respondents. Whipple and Muffo (1982) demonstrated that late respondents are similar to nonrespondents in terms of questionnaire completion. Therefore, it was concluded that the total number of questionnaires returned would be representative of the entire sample. The reliability index of the instrument based on the collected data, as measured by the Cronbach Coefficient Alpha test, was .94.
An examination of the responses on the CTES revealed general agreement for items between each group of educators on both individual statements as well as on statements grouped by instrument categories (curriculum content, methodology, integration, and environmental fit). Mean scores were calculated for each instrument item using the responses from all respondents as well as responses for respondents grouped by job category. Items were then prioritized by mean scores and examined for response patterns.
The ranked list showed that within the top ten mean responses provided by teachers, principals, counselors, and all of these combined, six items were the same. The bottom ten mean responses for the three groups as well as for the overall sample included nine items in common. These response patterns show that considerable agreement existed among teachers, counselors, and principals regarding the important issues relevant to technology education. They also provided a status report for those who would be interested in the current perceptions of these key groups with respect to technology education in the schools.
Table 1 is based on the responses of the overall group of respondents and lists items in priority order by overall mean score for each instrument item. A statement regarding availability of technology education for all students was the instrument item with the highest overall mean score for agreement. A statement suggesting that technology education should focus on the non-college bound student was the instrument item with the lowest overall mean score across all three groups.
|Perceived Characteristics of Technology Education in Priority Order by Overall Mean Ratings|
|Item #||Item Statement||Mean||SD|
|44||TE should be available for all students||4.73||0.56|
|12||Students to develop insights in use & appl. of tech.||4.68||0.54|
|27||Instr. aids in development of life long learning goals||4.67||0.55|
|17||Cooperative learning encouraged||4.67||0.55|
|13||Curriculum allows for appl. of tools, mtls., & mach.||4.66||0.55|
|26||Instr. aids in development of student problem solving||4.63||0.56|
|28||TE should emphasize interdisciplinary activities||4.61||0.61|
|33||TE should be available to all students||4.59||0.66|
|25||Instr. aids in development of creativity & self image||4.58||0.56|
|15||Exploratory activities (modeling production)||4.58||0.59|
|30||Students apply other subjects in Technology Education||4.58||0.60|
|24||Lab activities reinforces abstract concepts||4.57||0.61|
|32||TE applies concepts of other subjects||4.55||0.60|
|31||TE teachers connect science and mathematics content||4.54||0.59|
|9||Portion of content based on information transfer||4.53||0.63|
|14||Emphasis on solving problems||4.52||0.64|
|20||Broad range of assessment strategies used||4.44||0.68|
|43||TE to develop strategies for overcoming stereotypes||4.43||0.74|
|16||Instruction is goal oriented||4.39||0.67|
|7||Knowledge about technological developments||4.39||0.64|
|35||TE reflects content of business and industry||4.37||0.70|
|39||TE programs should reflect interdisciplinary concepts||4.35||0.62|
|11||Portion of content based on study of transportation||4.35||0.73|
|10||Portion of content based on modifying materials||4.32||0.73|
|34||TE is applied science||4.30||0.85|
|21||Students encouraged to discuss concepts & issues||4.29||0.70|
|40||TE leaders should encourage subject matter integration||4.26||0.75|
|29||TE lessons should reinforce other school subjects||4.21||0.82|
|38||TE teachers should form interdisciplinary committees||4.19||0.74|
|36||TE is guided by technological literacy needs||4.17||0.76|
|19||Cognitive strategies clearly developed||4.06||0.82|
|22||Students encouraged to learn about underlying issues||4.00||0.85|
|42||Research to be conducted on integration needs in TE||3.99||0.86|
|6||Organized set of concepts, processes, & systems||3.92||1.13|
|18||Oral presentations emphasized||3.80||0.98|
|23||Modular curriculum should be dominant||3.56||1.12|
|8||Portion of content based on biological organizer||3.45||0.98|
|37||TE should be focused on needs of special ed. students||1.96||0.99|
|45||TE should focus on college-prep needs of students||1.91||0.93|
|41||TE to focus on the non-college bound student||1.87||1.00|
Mean responses for technology teachers were used to prioritize items listed in Table 2. The top and bottom mean scores calculated for this group were for the same items, which produced the top and bottom mean scores on the ranked list for the entire sample. The range between highest and lowest mean score for the teachers was also somewhat larger than the range of mean scores for the entire sample, perhaps reflecting that this group held stronger opinions about the statements than other respondent groups.
|Perceived Characteristics of Technology Education in Priority Order by Teacher Mean Ratings|
|Item #||Item Statement||Mean||SD|
|44||TE should be available for all students||4.88||0.31|
|27||Instr. aids in development of life long learning goals||4.83||0.37|
|26||Instr. aids in development of student problem solving||4.78||0.42|
|12||Students to develop insights in use & appl. of tech.||4.77||0.47|
|17||Cooperative learning encouraged||4.75||0.44|
|33||TE should be available to all students||4.74||0.54|
|13||Curriculum allows for appl. of tools, mtls., & mach.||4.74||0.48|
|32||TE applies concepts of other subjects||4.73||0.51|
|28||TE should emphasize interdisciplinary activities||4.73||0.47|
|30||Students apply other subjects in Technology Education||4.71||0.49|
|31||TE teachers connect science and mathematics content||4.69||0.47|
|25||Instr. aids in development of creativity & self image||4.68||0.47|
|14||Emphasis on solving problems||4.67||0.48|
|15||Exploratory activities (modeling production)||4.65||0.53|
|24||Lab activities reinforces abstract concepts||4.63||0.52|
|9||Portion of content based on information transfer||4.63||0.57|
|43||TE to develop strategies for overcoming stereotypes||4.58||0.58|
|11||Portion of content based on study of transportation||4.55||0.58|
|7||Knowledge about technological developments||4.53||0.61|
|20||Broad range of assessment strategies used||4.53||0.64|
|10||Portion of content based on modifying materials||4.49||0.70|
|40||TE leaders should encourage subject matter integration||4.43||0.67|
|35||TE reflects content of business and industry||4.41||0.63|
|29||TE lessons should reinforce other school subjects||4.40||0.71|
|39||TE programs should reflect interdisciplinary concepts||4.40||0.59|
|21||Students encouraged to discuss concepts & issues||4.39||0.66|
|16||Instruction is goal oriented||4.38||0.70|
|36||TE is guided by technological literacy needs||4.24||0.74|
|34||TE is applied science||4.21||1.00|
|38||TE teachers should form interdisciplinary committees||4.18||0.76|
|22||Students encouraged to learn about underlying issues||4.16||0.84|
|19||Cognitive strategies clearly developed||4.05||0.86|
|6||Organized set of concepts, processes, & systems||4.00||1.19|
|42||Research to be conducted on integration needs in TE||4.00||0.91|
|18||Oral presentations emphasized||3.95||0.97|
|8||Portion of content based on biological organizer||3.55||1.03|
|23||Modular curriculum should be dominant||3.40||1.30|
|45||TE should focus on college-prep needs of students||1.94||1.00|
|37||TE should be focused on needs of special ed. students||1.90||0.98|
|41||TE to focus on the non-college bound student||1.69||0.89|
Table 3 provides the mean scores for each instrument item for principals who participated in the study. Items are ranked in priority order by the mean scores. The top item for this group, based on a mean score indicating agreement, was that technology education encourages cooperative learning. The bottom item on their list was that technology education should focus on the college-prep needs of students. A high priority for this group, ranked second by mean score, was that technology education should be available for all students.
|Perceived Characteristics of Technology Education in Priority Order by Principal Mean Ratings|
|Item #||Item Statement||Mean||SD|
|17||Cooperative learning encouraged||4.60||0.64|
|44||TE should be available for all students||4.59||0.75|
|26||Instr. aids in development of student problem solving||4.58||0.69|
|12||Students to develop insights in use & appl. of tech.||4.58||0.67|
|13||Curriculum allows for appl. of tools, mtls., & mach.||4.57||0.66|
|27||Instr. aids in development of life long learning goals||4.56||0.71|
|15||Exploratory activities (modeling production)||4.54||0.70|
|25||Instr. aids in development of creativity & self image||4.53||0.66|
|28||TE should emphasize interdisciplinary activities||4.53||0.74|
|24||Lab activities reinforces abstract concepts||4.48||0.77|
|33||TE should be available to all students||4.47||0.73|
|30||Students apply other subjects in Technology Education||4.47||0.73|
|31||TE teachers connect science and mathematics content||4.45||0.63|
|9||Portion of content based on information transfer||4.42||0.67|
|14||Emphasis on solving problems||4.41||0.75|
|32||TE applies concepts of other subjects||4.40||0.68|
|34||TE is applied science||4.39||0.76|
|20||Broad range of assessment strategies used||4.39||0.71|
|16||Instruction is goal oriented||4.34||0.75|
|39||TE programs should reflect interdisciplinary concepts||4.33||0.71|
|35||TE reflects content of business and industry||4.26||0.83|
|11||Portion of content based on study of transportation||4.25||0.78|
|40||TE leaders should encourage subject matter integration||4.24||0.76|
|43||TE to develop strategies for overcoming stereotypes||4.24||0.88|
|7||Knowledge about technological developments||4.23||0.64|
|10||Portion of content based on modifying materials||4.23||0.76|
|38||TE teachers should form interdisciplinary committees||4.21||0.75|
|36||TE is guided by technological literacy needs||4.16||0.75|
|21||Students encouraged to discuss concepts & issues||4.14||0.83|
|29||TE lessons should reinforce other school subjects||4.06||0.90|
|42||Research to be conducted on integration needs in TE||4.05||0.87|
|19||Cognitive strategies clearly developed||4.01||0.88|
|22||Students encouraged to learn about underlying issues||3.94||0.83|
|18||Oral presentations emphasized||3.80||1.01|
|6||Organized set of concepts, processes, & systems||3.78||1.16|
|23||Modular curriculum should be dominant||3.74||0.99|
|8||Portion of content based on biological organizer||3.48||0.98|
|37||TE should be focused on needs of special ed. students||2.08||1.05|
|41||TE to focus on the non-college bound student||2.00||1.10|
|45||TE should focus on college-prep needs of students||1.99||0.96|
Instrument items prioritized by mean scores for counselor responses are provided in Table 4. The top item on the counselor list-that students develop insights in use of applications of technology-was also ranked near the top of the other lists. The bottom item on the list was the same item having the lowest mean score on the list of responses for principals-that technology education focus on the needs of college-prep students. This item was also very low on the ranked list for technology education teachers.
|Perceived Characteristics of Technology Education in Priority Order by Counselor Mean Ratings|
|Item #||Item Statement||Mean||SD|
|12||Students to develop insights in use & appl. of tech.||4.65||0.47|
|44||TE should be available for all students||4.65||0.55|
|13||Curriculum allows for appl. of tools, mtls., & mach.||4.64||0.50|
|17||Cooperative learning encouraged||4.61||0.58|
|33||TE should be available to all students||4.58||0.70|
|24||Lab activities reinforces abstract concepts||4.58||0.53|
|15||Exploratory activities (modeling production)||4.54||0.54|
|27||Instr. aids in development of life long learning goals||4.54||0.52|
|30||Students apply other subjects in Technology Education||4.50||0.56|
|28||TE should emphasize interdisciplinary activities||4.50||0.61|
|9||Portion of content based on information transfer||4.49||0.66|
|25||Instr. aids in development of creativity & self image||4.48||0.54|
|26||Instr. aids in development of student problem solving||4.47||0.54|
|32||TE applies concepts of other subjects||4.45||0.55|
|16||Instruction is goal oriented||4.44||0.53|
|35||TE reflects content of business and industry||4.42||0.64|
|31||TE teachers connect science and mathematics content||4.41||0.67|
|14||Emphasis on solving problems||4.40||0.67|
|43||TE to develop strategies for overcoming stereotypes||4.39||0.74|
|20||Broad range of assessment strategies used||4.37||0.70|
|7||Knowledge about technological developments||4.36||0.66|
|34||TE is applied science||4.35||0.70|
|39||TE programs should reflect interdisciplinary concepts||4.32||0.58|
|21||Students encouraged to discuss concepts & issues||4.30||0.59|
|38||TE teachers should form interdisciplinary committees||4.17||0.68|
|11||Portion of content based on study of transportation||4.17||0.80|
|10||Portion of content based on modifying materials||4.17||0.71|
|19||Cognitive strategies clearly developed||4.14||0.70|
|29||TE lessons should reinforce other school subjects||4.10||0.82|
|36||TE is guided by technological literacy needs||4.07||0.80|
|40||TE leaders should encourage subject matter integration||4.04||0.79|
|6||Organized set of concepts, processes, & systems||3.93||0.97|
|42||Research to be conducted on integration needs in TE||3.89||0.79|
|22||Students encouraged to learn about underlying issues||3.81||0.84|
|23||Modular curriculum should be dominant||3.62||0.91|
|18||Oral presentations emphasized||3.57||0.95|
|8||Portion of content based on biological organizer||3.27||0.87|
|41||TE to focus on the non-college bound student||2.01||1.02|
|37||TE should be focused on needs of special ed. students||1.91||0.92|
|45||TE should focus on college-prep needs of students||1.79||0.76|
The mean responses for technology teachers, principals, and counselors reflected considerable agreement in perceptions of technology education. This agreement is in contrast to the reports that counselors and administrators fail to understand and support technology education programs. Perhaps this agreement is indicative of the status of these particular technology education programs and their exemplary nature, but it is encouraging to see agreement between technology education teachers and those who make administrative decisions or exert considerable influence on student enrollments in these programs.
Also of interest to the profession is the agreement that technology education should be available for all students, a perception long desired by technology educators as they sought to correct the old stereotyped image of industrial arts as a dumping ground and worked to become a program that attracts the mainstream population of the school. Increased post-secondary entrance requirements have resulted in limiting the number of elective courses for students. As a result, a course must be valued and appreciated for it to be a successful elective, one that will be included in a student's course of study. The desire on the part of administrators and counselors to have technology education courses available to all students is encouraging. It is ironic that counselors and principals both ranked the item, TE should be available for all students, higher than did technology education teachers, who ranked it sixth. Technology education professionals have blamed others for hurting the field, when in reality, negative perceptions within the field have either changed with time or were based on data that were not universally accurate.
Items with high means reflecting agreement included characteristics such as interdisciplinary activities that support concerns such as integration with other subjects. The integration of subject-specific instructional topics with technology education has been gaining support in recent years (Bottoms, Presson, & Johnson, 1992; LaPorte & Sanders, 1993; Roy, 1990;Schell & Wicklein, 1993; Senge, 1990; Wicklein & Schell, 1995). Cooperative learning was actually ranked higher in importance by principals and counselors than it was by technology teachers. It would appear that the school climate would support efforts by technology teachers to implement cooperative arrangements with teachers in other disciplines to provide innovative, holistic learning opportunities for their students. For this to occur, however, technology teachers must avoid attitudes of protecting their turf and must be willing to look for collaborative arrangements that involve teachers in other disciplines.
Technology education teachers' rating items related to cooperative learning and exploratory activities lower than principals and counselors may be explained as the gap between rhetoric and action. Technology education literature has often mentioned the use of cooperative learning, problem solving activities, application of academic subject matter, and similar learning strategies. Perhaps the technology educators included in the sample had a more candid view of the implementation of these concepts than did the related principals and counselors, who were less intimately involved with the program of study. The inherent challenge to the field would be to continue to bring these espoused forms of instruction into practice, especially in light of the endorsement of principals and counselors, who think these things occur in technology education.
In considering the outcomes of this study, technology educators should consider carefully the stereotypes and perceptions they hold regarding principals and counselors. The self-fulfilling prophesy can be a powerful force, and it is very important that professionals in the field of technology education not jeopardize opportunities for support by principals and counselors.
The findings of this study were generally different from prior research involving associated educators' perceptions of technology education characteristics (Daugherty & Wicklein, 1993). Principals and counselors appear to have a deeper understanding of the field than do teachers in other disciplines within the school. This outcome is logical considering the more comprehensive perspective principals and counselors would be expected to have. With this in mind, the professionals in the field of technology education should be encouraged by the evidence that school administrators and guidance counselors understand and appreciate the field as they endeavor to position technology education as an essential educational building block for all students participating in the public school curriculum.
Hill is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Studies, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
Wicklein is Assistant Professor, Technology Education, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
Daugherty is Assistant Professor, Department of Technology Education, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois.
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