Technology Education: The Promise of Cultural-Historical Theory for Advancing the Field

  • Marilyn FleerEmail author
Part of the Contemporary Issues in Technology Education book series (CITE)


Although technology education has a long history in practice (i.e. apprenticeship model, guilds), the theorisation of learning technology and design is relatively recent when compared with other disciplines, such as science education. Consequently, this chapter examines how scholars of technology education in contemporary times have theorised their work in their quest for better understanding how teachers teach and young people learn in technology education. To achieve this goal, this chapter conceptualises the outcomes of this focused theoretical review by examining the essence of what constitutes constructivism, social-constructivism, sociocultural theory and cultural-historical theory. In drawing upon primary sources, the questions posed for critique are: How does each inform design and technology education? What is unique to each? What is the same? What might be the gaps? A critique of the grey zone between social constructivism and cultural-historical theory will be made in the context of theories placed on a continuum, which moves from ‘in the head’ and ‘in the hand’, to a dialectical relation between cultural and societal contexts and the cultural development of the person through technology education. It is argued that through examining the alignment, contradictions and movement of thought practice, a theoretically informed discussion of learning the practice and knowledge of technology and design is possible. The chapter concludes by returning to the theoretical review to present a discussion on the place of theory for informing a dialectical understanding of how young people learn and teachers teach in technology and design education.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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