Design and Technology; Educational fallacy or principal exponent of school-based STEM activity?

Dawne Bell

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The hierarchal status of academic disciplines, what counts as valuable or legitimate knowledge, and what should we teach our children is a topic of much debate (Gibb 2015, Morgan 2015, Morris 2012). Aligning with the conference theme of school subjects and curricula, and set within the context of a flexible educational system that affords academies and free schools curriculum autonomy, this study presents preliminary work which precedes the initial phase of a larger research project, the focus of which centres upon the pedagogy of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. Building from the premise that design and technology is an educational construct, a subject discipline which is non-existent outside the confines of education, this work considers and seeks to understand why as a STEM curriculum subject, design and technology is often marginalised (Green 2014), and seeks constantly to justify its place within the curriculum. Following a brief outline of STEM, STEM education and design and technology’s inception, framed within Bernstein’s view of the curriculum (Bernstein et al. 1971) and drawing upon the work of Biglan (1973), Gibbons et al. (1994), Becher (1994) and Maton (2013), this work argues that it is the subject itself, characterised by a fluctuating knowledge and skills base, that manifests instability. The result being a mêlée, where because of its need to consistently embrace and adapt to change, the perpetually shifting content presents design and technology as a subject with weak external boundaries, which are difficult to define and they are subsequently misunderstood. Findings presented here are discussed in relation to design and technology’s continual metamorphosis, and it is from this standpoint that the status of design and technology as a curriculum subject of value is investigated.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2015
EventAnnual Conference for Research In Education (ACRE) - Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Jul 20159 Jul 2015


ConferenceAnnual Conference for Research In Education (ACRE)
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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