Aims | The Child | Task of teaching | First steps to integration
- Introduction
- The child in   the centre
- The teacher
- The learning   environment
- In the   curriculum
- Conclusion

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Integration of technical education in primary education


5.  In the curriculum: how to present TE


As stated earlier, research points out that short running projects are hardly influencing the attitude towards technology (Boser, Palmer en Daugherty, 1998). However, the PATT studies show that when a school is offering technical education during successive years the attitude of children is changing in a positive way.


This is a plea to develop a full learning line for all grades or to explain for each year how a product can be embedded in a part of the curriculum of a course year.


We also explained earlier that along the ideas of development-oriented education children must be invited to the zone of the proximate development. This means that education has to offer open learning situations in which it is clear to which phase of development the activity belongs and what the next activities can be. One could say that it is the filling in of the hidden agenda constructed by each teacher on the principle that children are observed.


a. alternative ways of presenting


Several ways of presenting technical education are described in an article of Boser, Palmer en Daugherty, 1998 (students Attitudes toward technology in selected technology education programs):

- industrial art approach

- integrated approach

- modular approach

- problem solving approach

It looks like there are no big differences in the results of these ways of presentation.


This list can be completed by:

- projects

- technology as a part of a theme

- technology as a part of a methodology

- an experimental “landscape” (see earlier in chapter 1)


b. The relation with other subjects


One of the concerns is the cohesion of the presented learning activities. A cohesive presentation makes it easier to remember and reflects much more reality, which is neither consisting of separate subjects. Beside that: for children an activity becomes meaningful

when it is useful, useful for the things with which children are busy. An excellent example is what a teacher said with a class with a majority of ethnic minority children (having two student teachers technical education in her classroom):

“Great, to see them at work like this. I would like to give such lessons more often, but …I need all my time for teaching them Dutch.” At the same time one of these second language learners is full of enthusiasm explaining to the visiting director how the machine works to get a cow across the water…..


Integration of subjects does not mean that the subjects are not recognizable any more.

Sometimes an attempt is made to explain how technology can be linked to which lesson method or to what lesson technical education can be best linked. The background idea is to have a cohesive offer. People are very much afraid of giving the impression that technical education is again a new subject which has to be introduced.


Because of the reality that sometimes it is difficult indeed to link technical education to other subjects, it is a matter of giving enough support to teachers and to give them suggestions, which leaves that seeing and experiencing things is the most convincing. 


A final alternative is to focus on a technical activity and to link that to other subjects. It is the other way around.


c. links to the daily education practice


For many teachers there are obstacles: they fear the unknown, not only because of knowledge and skills, but also related to organisation and teaching methods. Staying close to what a teacher is accustomed to in relation to teaching methods enhances the chance that s/he is putting technical education into practice. E.g., when working in corners for young children is already daily practice, this practice can be used to add technical supplies or to design a technic corner.