TECHNOLOGY TEACHERS` PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT BY MEANS OF CONTINUING EDUCATION: CASE OF SLOVAKIA
Technology education at primary and lower secondary education (ISCED 1, ISCED 2) in Slovakia has been undergoing continual changes. The school reform in 2008 and consequently introduced State Education Programs significantly weakened position of the technology education at schools. This situation was partially improved by the innovated State Education Programs which a little bit increased the number of lessons assigned to technology teaching. The main impact of these continual changes and unstable situation as regards to technology education has been reflected in very weak technical and material provision of this education at most of the schools, as well as in high level of incompetent (unqualified) teaching the relevant school subject technology (a lack of qualified technology teachers at primary and lower level of secondary schools).
Taking into consideration an analysis of the needs and requirements of both qualified as well as nonqualified teachers teaching the compulsory school subject technology, a model of their further (continuing) education has been created. The model is focused on four topical units (textiles, plastics, metals and their combinations). The aim of these topics teaching at schools is to develop pupils` manual skills, creativity, attitude to the given materials, and to lead pupils to an appropriate technical and aesthetical elaboration (processing) of their products.
The created proposal of the further continuing education was presented to a sample of technology teachers from two (of eight) regions of Slovakia (Nitra and Banská Bystrica regions). The research sample consisted of 12 female and 4 male (both qualified and nonqualified) technology teachers with different lengths of their teaching practice. Through a questionnaire survey these respondents evaluate the weaknesses and strengths of the proposal of their continuing education and expressed their attitudes and opinions to the proposed model.
We presented the contents and form of realization of this program to group of technic teachers, who were the representative sample and then we determined their attitude to continual education program. Another education of this teachers is one of the factors how to make the technical education better in elementary school and how to contribute to the development of technical thinking and manual skills of students at elementary schools. The main results of the research will be presented in the paper.