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What do others think is the point of D&T? PATT29

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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

Published in: Education
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What do others think is the point of D&T? PATT29

  1. 1. What do others think is the point of design and technology education? Alison Hardy Kaylie Gyekye Claire Wainwright
  2. 2. Context
  3. 3. Power LegitimacyUrgency Pupil Non- D&T teacher D&T teacher Senior leader Stakeholders Mitchell, Agle and Wood 1997
  4. 4. 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 1968, p.160) Theoretical framework (Hardy 2013) created from interviews with experts and analysing written documents from trainee teachers: • 22 value statement
  5. 5. Method • Two partnership schools: city & county • Fourteen interviews • Active interviews, transcribed. • First coding (Saldana 2013): values • Second coding: Elaborative using Hardy (2013) D&T values framework • Intercoder reliability Stakeholder group Upton School St John’s School Senior leaders (SLT) 2 2 D&T teachers 3 2 Y9 pupils 5 6
  6. 6. Findings Values numbered: 6, 12, 22 & 23
  7. 7. All stakeholders 18/22 21/22 21/22 14/22 14/22 12/22 Senior leaders D&T teachers Pupils
  8. 8. 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 the world
  9. 9. Comparing all groups 21/22 17/2 2 21/22
  10. 10. D&T teachers 21/22 14/22 Values numbered: 2,3, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15 & 18
  11. 11. D&T teachers 19 18 26 1 5 22 2 & 3 7 10 14 & 15 18
  12. 12. St John’s: all stakeholders
  13. 13. Upton: all stakeholders
  14. 14. All stakeholders
  15. 15. Stakeholders values & new National Curriculum Values numbered: 5, 11, 15 - 17
  16. 16. Stakeholders values & new National Curriculum
  17. 17. Findings & implications for Upton School • Developing practice – Classroom – Planning • Department philosophy • Agreement between pupils and D&T teachers, dichotomy between D&T stakeholders and senior leaders.
  18. 18. Findings & implications for St John’s • The values held by senior leaders and D&T are identical • Values dichotomy between pupils and all teachers • Practical life skills is one of the strongest values held – why is that? • Understanding colleagues’ perspectives
  19. 19. 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
  20. 20. Conclusions & what next? School • Changes to schemes of work • Presentation of D&T in published school material Wider view • What’s wrong with D&T being about practical skills? • Potential consequences of classroom practice on National agenda Personal • Modifications to Hardy’s values framework (on-going PhD work)
  21. 21. References 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- 886. 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.

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