Adaptive Expertise—In Understanding and Teaching “Eco-Friendly” Design, Are Teachers Googling It Right?


Any curriculum is a construct of perceived social, political and economic needs developed at a point in time. Given that these needs are in a constant state of flux, the curriculum is subjected to periodical renewal and development processes. Gaining more visibility in the iterations of curriculum documentation is the need for Australians to be more aware of their activities impacting on the environment. Comparable to a specific curriculum document, the content knowledge delivered through initial teacher education is specific to the conditions at a point in time, requiring teachers to adapt as the curriculum evolves. Peering through the lens of teacher content knowledge, research has shown that teachers need to efficiently adapt to these changes and effectively develop their expertise in the new content material. Those that can innovate in applying their existing knowledge to the new content are said to possess adaptive expertise. Given the breadth and diversity of school curriculum, the economisation of formalised professional learning opportunities does not address the shortfall in teacher content knowledge. As a result, qualified teachers have resorted to autonomous methods of professional learning to bridge the knowledge gap. This study examines whether autonomous professional learning approaches are an effective method for teachers to gain an understanding of new syllabus content. Using a case study of technology education teachers self-educating around the concepts of eco-friendly technology education, the study identifies the intrinsic motivation of teachers to know and understand their evolving subject, and provides a basis for self-directed and autonomous professional learning. What this results in is the successful development of a basic understanding of new information and concepts in technology education.

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Ellis, D. and Boyd, B. (2015) Adaptive Expertise—In Understanding and Teaching “Eco-Friendly” Design, Are Teachers Googling It Right?. Creative Education, 6, 2493-2509. doi: 10.4236/ce.2015.623256.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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