Primary Design and Technology: Perceptions and practice

Dawne Bell, Mike Martin, David Wooff, Matt McLain

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Design and technology is recognised in many countries as a valuable subject in developing children’s knowledge and skills about materials, as well as decision making through creative design processes. As such it makes a unique contribution to a child’s general education and provides a foundation for future work with all forms of technology across professional and personal lives. However in England and Wales, the countries where the subject was first conceived, following educational policy change and the subject’s exclusion from the English Baccalaureate, design and technology is persistently required to justify its place within the curriculum (DATA 2011). Amid concerns that primary teachers are insufficiently trained to teach design and technology (DATA 2015) and set within the context of primary education and building upon findings from earlier research (Bell et al. 2016), which sought to establish the range of design and technology work currently being undertaken in primary schools, this paper presents next phase research findings. Constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz 2006) is the adopted method, and drawing upon empirically grounded data, this paper explores the attitudes and perceptions of primary school teachers. Participants were encouraged to reflect upon their own experience, to establish if they believe they received sufficient subject specific training. Work then explores their perceptions, to determine if they perceive that their personal subject knowledge has a direct impact upon the breadth and quality of work undertaken. Emergent findings are discussed in relation to the value placed upon of design and technology, and findings suggest that curriculum delivery is compromised where teacher confidence is low. Future work will seek to investigate teacher perceptions further, aiming to explore the correlation between teacher’s personal subject knowledge and the quality and creativity of work undertaken in design and technology, with a particular focus upon how knowledge is constructed and understanding developed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Aug 2016
EventPupils' Attitudes Towards Technology (PATT) Conference - Utrecht, Netherlands
Duration: 23 Aug 201626 Aug 2016


ConferencePupils' Attitudes Towards Technology (PATT) Conference


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