Revising the national technology curriculum through action research : practical and political action in New Zealand

Janet Davies
2005, Vol. 10, No. 3,


The national technology curriculum for New
Zealand is undergoing redevelopment as part of
review and revision of the 1990s national school
curriculum framework and contributing subject
statements. The technology curriculum was
introduced to support New Zealand’s
competitiveness in a global market and
emphasised technological capability through
product development within a soft determinist
understanding of technology. Since 2000, the
technology education community has been
involved in two major projects, the National
Exemplars Project developing exemplars of
student learning in all curriculum areas and the
New Zealand Curriculum Project articulating
statements of the ‘essence’ of each curriculum
area and redeveloping curricula. In technology,
these projects represent contrasting forms of
action research. The former employed schoolbased
research for practical action, involving a
broad representation of the technology education
community and new directions for technology,
and the latter pursued policy-led research for
political action, involving a subgroup constructed
around the 1990s curriculum developers, and is
ongoing. Pre-eminence of research for political
action signals entrenchment of technology
education for economic growth, in line with
Government’s investment in a Growth and
Innovation Framework. This is despite the
curriculum review’s espousing sustainabilityrelated
‘future-focussed themes’. Loss of the
opportunity to broaden the scope of technology
education signals loss of the technology
education community’s commitment to school
technology and abnegation of New Zealand’s
responsibilities to a global society, at least for the
next decade.


Curriculum development ; Action research ; Technological literacy ; Teacher education

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