Interconnectedness of technology teachers’ perceptions of the design process to learner creativity
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The design process (DP) is key to technology education and is considered as synonymous with problem solving, hence it undergirds all its learning aims and objectives. The Curriculum Assessment and Policy Statement (CAPS) document envisages that the design process will promote problem solving, critical thinking and creativity in learners. However, a paucity of empirical studies within the South African context illuminates the interconnectedness of DP to problem solving, critical thinking and creativity in learners for which the CAPS policy advocates. Further, there is a need to explore the interconnectedness of teachers’ perceptions of the DP, their enactment of the DP and its impact on learner creativity. This paper reports on a study that explored that interconnectedness and addressed the following research questions: What are grade 9 technology teachers’ perceptions of the design process? How do these perceptions relate to teachers’ reported enactment of the DP and creativity in learners? The conceptual framework used to model the interconnectedness that exists between teachers’ perceptions and reported enactment of the design process is Shulman’s pedagogical content knowledge model (PCK). This interpretivist study was located in the Umlazi district of KwaZulu-Natal. A case study design was used to collect qualitative data via an open-ended questionnaire and a semi-structured interview from 30 purposively selected technology teachers. Content analysis of data was undertaken in line with the conceptual framework. Our findings reflect that teachers’ perception and reported enactment of DP and the flexibility of the learning environment have an impact on opportunities for problem solving, critical thinking and creativity in learners. Our findings raise questions about the type of professional development teachers need to enact the envisaged goals of the CAPS document in respect of the DP in technology education.