An exploration of the interface between Grade 11 Engineering Graphics and Design teachers' understanding of Assembly Drawing and their practice : a case study of the uThukela District, KwaZulu-Natal.
Sotsaka, Douglas Thembinkosi Sibusiso.
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Engineering Graphics and Design (EGD) is the universal graphical means of communication in the engineering field. Assembly drawing (AD) is a quintessential part of the EGD curriculum. AD requires learner to use in spatial visualization skills when engaging in mental manipulation and rotation of objects and transform so as to 2D images into 3D images. Such skills are important for success in many fields of science and engineering. The matriculation examiners’ and moderators’ reports reflect that EGD learners encounter problem pertaining to visualization in learning of AD because current teaching of EGD occurs via static drawing and does not emphasise learners’ visualization skills. In response to the aforementioned issue raised by the matric examiners report this study seeks to explore the interface between Grade 11 EGD teachers’ understanding of Assembly Drawing (AD) and their practice of AD as a case study in the uThukela district, KwaZulu-Natal. The study is guided by three research questions: 1. What are Grade 11 EGD teachers’ understandings of AD? 2. What are Grade 11 EGD teachers’ practices of AD? 3. Is there an interface between Grade 11 EGD teachers’ understanding of AD and their practice of AD? If so, what is the nature of the interface To address these questions a qualitative case study design approach is used. Data is generated through an open ended questionnaire, focus group interview, classroom observation of AD as well as pre- and post-observation interviews. Purposive and convenience sampling are used to identify the respondents for this study. Data collected is subjected to content and thematic analysis. The findings indicate that Grade 11 EGD teachers have four core understanding of AD. These are putting components together, putting components to form a structure and draw it, putting mechanical parts to facilitate an understanding of how they all function and involves visual reasoning, thinking of graphical images of mechanical components manipulating them and then putting it onto a diagram according to specifications. With regard to their practice of AD, three themes emerge; namely, chalk and talk, lecture method and teacher demonstrations, as well as demonstrations with hands on activities or projects. The juxtaposing and (re)assemblage of data from the first two research questions indicates that an interface does exist between Grade 11 EGD teachers’ understanding of AD and their practice of AD. The analysis confirms that the nature of the interface is shaped and sculpted by factors such as teacher qualification, training received for implementation of the EGD CAPS curriculum, professional activities as well as support within the school structure. These teachers’ understanding and practice of AD are a (re)presentation and an amalgamation of their SMK, their learning style(s), the training they received to teach EGD, as well as the professional activities they engage with in terms of EGD. The findings of this study result in a proposed professional development intervention programme for teachers of EGD within the uThukela District.
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