What do others think is the point of design and technology education?
As a result of a national curriculum review in England (Department for Education [DfE], 2011), a new curriculum for design and technology (D&T) is being taught in secondary schools from September 2014 (Department of Education [DoE], 2013a). This curriculum is compulsory for a decreasing number of schools; two potential consequences are the nature of D&T in secondary schools changing to reflect local perceptions of the subject and maybe D&T being removed from the curriculum completely. The pressure on D&T’s curriculum content is likely to come from different stakeholders such as senior school leaders, D&T teachers, and pupils. D&T school departments could respond to this pressure by adapting the curriculum to popularise the subject or produce high exam results with a consequence that much of the subject’s value is lost.
This paper reports on a small research project conducted in two secondary schools where stakeholder representatives were interviewed to identify their values of D&T. These different stakeholders were interviewed using the active interview method (Holstein & Gubrium, 1995), coded following Aurebach and Silverstein’s method (2003) and their values compared to Hardy’s values framework (Hardy, 2013b). Analysis shows most stakeholders believe a key value of D&T is to provide ‘practical life skills’ (Hardy, p.226), whilst only one recognizes that learning in D&T involves ‘identifying problems to be solved’.
The outcomes from the research are being used to support critically reflective conversations within both D&T departments (Zwozdiak-Myers, 2012) framing their evaluation of their local curriculum and making changes to their curriculum.
This paper is being presented at PATT29 on Friday 19th April 2015
Claire 14 interviews – variety of stakeholders (students, teachers, SLT, non D&T teachers) Active interviews – allows conversations to develop, all transcribed. Photos were used in some interviews to aid conversation, particularly in students First coding (Saldana 2013): values – highlighting each transcript and picking out what we thought were ‘values of D&T’ Second coding: mapped transcript values to Hardy’s …. Framework Intercoder reliability – cross referenced/validated each others ‘values’
Stakeholder groups – Deliberately grouped together so no identities would be revealed All interviews had consent forms Debated whether to choose Year 9s who were/were not taking GCSE however decided a mixture should reveal true values The contrast of schools meant different philosophies
This method enabled us to work independently on different sections but when collaborated/shared information, to validate it was efficient as no work was being repeated
In the upcoming slides you will see we have used some coding software to present our findings
Claire The Big Picture 22 values Hardy’s Theoretical framework – in no particular order of worth
Each red square indicates that the value was mentioned at least once in each interview.
There are gaps in throughout the interviews in the values mentioned
Kaylie All pupils from Upton school compared with St Johns – red squares show the values of pupils from both schools, and the blank squares show the values that were not mentioned during the interviews .
Asking pupils about their values is an unusual thing to do and could have implications.
Students were shown photographs to prompt some of the discussion and teacher present in the room which could impact on what is said
Kaylie This slide represents all stakeholders for St Johns school – pupils, SLT and D&T teachers.
It is evident that SLT and D&T teachers hold the same values of the subject, which is all values but one
Gaps in pupils values when compared to SLT and D&T teachers – poses the question of whether D&T teachers views of the subject are portrayed well enough in the classroom.
Claire Worryingly - Widest view of D&T is held by SLT?
These findings could suggest that there is a strong relationship between pupils and D&T teachers and not necessarily with SLT
Claire There are only 7/22 values which were mentioned by all stakeholders/groups.
Revealed 15 flaws?
1 value that no-one identified – 12: ‘Identifying problems to be solved’
Very interesting considering 6 groups across two contrasting schools
Claire – Personal Perspective Interviewed myself as a D&T teacher – very frustrating reading back transcript which highlighted little of the 22 values – hugely disappointed as I know I believe in the 22 values Implications of this research will help develop my own practice and indeed curriculum/SoW. Reflecting on 1st year teaching - NQT year felt mainly ticking boxes, exhaustion, all new, pressures for contract to be made permanent and fitting in with school life. Didn’t have many opportunities to question why I was doing particular lessons and what the students were actually learning – if any value to them both present and future. Very frustrated at the findings as I now recognise areas which need to be developed in curriculum/schemes of work. A lot of SoW traditional beliefs/values not necessarily moved with changes. No real life situations to solve, students don’t recognise designing for future opportunities and needs very egocentric – designing for themselves. Struggle to think of others needs/wants. “Creative thinking to design and make products and systems that meet human needs.” (NC, 2013)
Question Schemes of Work and reflect on the learning taking place in my lessons. Focus on D&T values, confidence to explore away from department (within reason). Set themes for students to explore as opposed to narrow briefs.
Particular with older classes found little interest
Research has helped me understand departments philosphy, I think it will impact on my confidence, ability to take risks develop meeting values!
Findings The values held by SLT and D&T are identical Practical life skills is one of the strongest values held – why is that? Students views of D&T were evidently different to that of D&T teachers Interview technique used probed teachers and allowed teachers to be reflective on their values of the subject
Implications Future development within the department and SoW to ensure more of the values come through within the subject The findings from this research has opened up dialogue within the department and has resulted in deeper evaluation of our own values and practice Listening to pupils/ pupil voice is important – they are the ones experiencing the subject and should hold the same values as teachers Developing a vision for the subject to make it clear and coherent about our subject.
What do others think is the point of D&T? PATT29
What do others think is the point of
design and technology education?
Mitchell, Agle and Wood 1997
Value of D&T
A value is ‘a standard or criterion for guiding
action, for developing and maintaining attitudes
toward relevant objects and situations’ (Rokeach
Theoretical framework (Hardy 2013) created
from interviews with experts and analysing
written documents from trainee teachers:
• 22 value statement
• Two partnership schools: city & county
• Fourteen interviews
• Active interviews, transcribed.
• First coding (Saldana 2013): values
• Second coding: Elaborative using Hardy (2013) D&T values
• Intercoder reliability
Stakeholder group Upton School St John’s School
Senior leaders (SLT) 2 2
D&T teachers 3 2
Y9 pupils 5 6
Upton cf. St John’s: Pupils
D&T has these values for both groups of pupils:
3 Empowers society to act to improve the world
4 Personal ownership of decisions and actions
5 Learning of vocational skills and techniques that open doors to a range of careers
6 Using raw materials to make a product
11 Alternative to academic subjects
13 Activity of designing
18 Provides a practical purpose for other school subjects
19 Examination and questioning of the made world
22 Learn practical life skills
Pupils do not hold these values of D&T :
1 Meaningful activity of solving real problems with real solutions
7 Designing for future needs and opportunities
9 Freedom to take risks and experiment
12 Identifying problems to be solved
14 Helps the understanding of human beings' position and existence in
Findings & implications for Upton
• Developing practice
• Department philosophy
• Agreement between pupils and D&T teachers,
dichotomy between D&T stakeholders and
Findings & implications for St John’s
• The values held by senior leaders and D&T are
• Values dichotomy between pupils and all
• Practical life skills is one of the strongest
values held – why is that?
• Understanding colleagues’ perspectives
Findings & implications
• No one thinks D&T involves ‘identifying
problems to be solved’
• Challenges for the future of D&T’s history:
– practical skills
– craft for the daft
– supports other subjects - not a gatekeeper
Conclusions & what next?
• Changes to schemes of work
• Presentation of D&T in published school material
• What’s wrong with D&T being about practical skills?
• Potential consequences of classroom practice on
• Modifications to Hardy’s values framework (on-going
Hardy, A., 2013. Starting the Journey: Discovering the Point of D&T. In:
PATT27: Technology Education for the Future: A Play on Sustainability,
Christchurch, New Zealand, University of Waikato: Technology
Environmental Science and Mathematics Education research Centre.
Mitchell, R.K., Agle, B.R. and Wood, D.J., 1997. Toward a theory of
stakeholder identification and salience: Defining the principle of who
and what really counts. Academy of Management Review, 22 (4), 853-
Rokeach, M., 1968. Beliefs, attitudes and values: a theory of
organization and change. San Francisco: San Francisco : Jossey-Bass.
Saldaña, J., 2012. The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Sage.