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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