In upper secondary school in Sweden, the students in the technology programme take an introductory course that aims at providing a broad introduction to the engineering field. The course’s curriculum is open to various interpretations and solid mechanics is not included explicitly, but it is taught within the course by many teachers. Previous studies of teachers’ attitudes towards other subjects showed that confidence is commonly influenced by subject knowledge. Thereby teachers’ knowledge affects their teaching and their students’ learning opportunities. The present study was based on interviews with 13 technology teachers, teaching in upper secondary school. The interviews concerned their attitudes towards teaching introductory solid mechanics and included those who taught solid mechanics, and those who did not. Those who taught solid mechanics did so through personal choice, because of influence from colleagues and local traditions, or because they took it for granted. Many among them expressed interest in solid mechanics and thought it to be of importance for future engineers. They had high self-efficacy and low anxiety regarding the subject. Those who did not teach solid mechanics omitted it mainly because of an experienced lack of knowledge. They let their students develop problem-solving and calculation abilities within other areas, which the teachers themselves felt more confident in. They ranked the importance of solid mechanics for future engineers as medium or low. The study indicates that technology teachers’ attitudes towards various engineering disciplines may affect their teaching and that studying those attitudes is important to understand the enacted school subjects.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Caroline Forsell, Susanne Engström, Per Norström
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