Title page for ETD etd-06132011-111219

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Ramaligela, Manto Sylvia
URN etd-06132011-111219
Document Title A comparative study of how technology teachers evaluate, select and use commercially prepared technology textbooks
Degree MEd
Department Science, Mathematics and Technology Education
Advisor Name Title
Dr E Gaigher Supervisor
  • textbook evaluation
  • textbook selection
  • textbook use
  • technology education
Date 2011-04-12
Availability unrestricted

This study explores how technology teachers evaluate, select and use commercially prepared textbooks, comparing practices in well-resourced and medium-resourced schools in South Africa. The study is led by two research questions, firstly how technology teachers evaluate and select textbooks and secondly how technology teachers use textbooks in their classrooms. This is a comparative case study, involving nine schools, sampled for convenience. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and classroom observation.

Two conceptual frameworks were used to interpret data. Evaluation and selection of textbooks were explored in terms of ‘textbook register’, while the use of textbooks was explored in terms of ‘didactical transposition’. From the literature, I extracted seven categories on textbook evaluation. These were content, connections, language, format, activities, context, and teaching strategies. I merged these categories with the two conceptual frameworks to design instruments and analyze data.

Results showed that teachers in both contexts regarded the requirements of the curriculum as crucial in textbook selecting. They also regarded suitable activities as very important, and preferred that textbooks clearly present the technological steps. In well-resourced schools, teachers also preferred support in the form of teachers’ guides. There was a clear difference in the ways teachers from the two contexts used textbooks in the classroom. In medium-resourced schools, the relevant section from the textbook was read to class while in wellresourced schools, teachers compiled additional notes, indicating that they set a higher standard for their learners. However, in both contexts teachers explained difficult concepts and used discussions to involve learners in making connections and to reduce the language level used in textbooks. In medium-resourced schools, teachers also allowed learners to code-switch to their mother-tongue language.

In terms of activities, teachers in both contexts used textbook activities without adaption but also developed additional activities. In terms of contextualising, teachers discussed or explained content information by relating it with real-life experiences, but didn’t attempt to contextualise textbook activities. Regarding teaching strategies, they mostly used their own preferred strategies instead of that proposed by the textbook. In particular, teachers in well-resourced schools preferred that learners do activities individually, indicating that they valued traditional teaching methods.

In this study, the teachers in medium-resourced schools did not question the authority of the textbook. In well-resourced schools, the teachers set a higher standard than the textbook, but at the same time required support in the form of teacher’s guides. This suggests that teachers in both contexts were unsure about what exactly is required by the curriculum in terms of content and pedagogy, and that they did not know how to adapt activities offered in textbooks to suit their context. It is recommended that teachers be assisted by specialists to align textbook evaluation, selection and use with curriculum expectations.

© 2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Ramaligela, MS 2010, A comparative study of how technology teachers evaluate, select and use commercially prepared technology textbooks, MEd dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-06132011-111219/ >


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