Synergising Action Research and Technology Education: A Pedagogical Perspective

Synergising Action Research and Technology Education: A Pedagogical Perspective

Mishack Thiza Gumbo (University of South Africa, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2642-1.ch004


Design process is a dominant method (backbone) for teaching the Technology Education subject in schools which demands critical and creative thinking skills. Moreover, the design process is research orientated, which could jell well with action research. This chapter explores the synergy between Technology Education and action research, and ultimately contributes a theoretical pedagogical framework which could help in teaching Technology by consciously pulling in action research principles into the design process, thus helping also to approach design process as a cyclical rather than a process.
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Can the design process, which is the method for teaching Technology, be driven by action research? The answer is yes. Both design process and action research involve problem solving approaches, which entail identifying and investigating the problem, designing a solution to the problem, (making the solution in Technology Education), evaluating the solution and making adjustable improvements if need be (Ferrance, 2000; Eggert cited in Williams, 2011). Though Technology Education is a school subject and action research a research design under research methodologies, it is important to note that the method of teaching Technology, that is to say design process, is inherently research orientated. Most importantly, the design process engages the above steps in a cyclical manner, which needs learners’ reflective and critical thinking skills. On the other hand, action research also involves steps which should be executed cyclically. These similarities lead to synergy between Technology Education and action research (Mapotse, 2012; Merrill, 2017) and ultimately contribute towards enhancing the teaching of Technology. In this chapter I explore this synergy and contribute a framework which can concientise Technology Education teachers to enrich their pedagogical strategies by consciously involving action research in their teaching activities. This jells well with the theme of this book. The framework in question is formed on an understanding of Technology, Technology Education, design process, action research and constructivist learning, which are discussed subsequently. An indigenous perspective is entertained in the discussion due to the diverse nature of learners in many educational contexts.

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