STEM education in the twenty-first century: learning at work—an exploration of design and technology teacher perceptions and practices

Dawne Bell, David Morrison-Love, David Wooff, Matt McLain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
152 Downloads (Pure)


Teachers’ knowledge of STEM education, their understanding, and pedagogical application of that knowledge is intrinsically linked to the subsequent effectiveness of STEM delivery within their own practice; where a teacher’s knowledge and understanding is deficient, the potential for pupil learning is ineffective and limited. Set within the context of secondary age phase education in England and Wales (11–16 years old), this paper explores how teachers working within the field of design and technology education acquire new knowledge in STEM; how understanding is developed and subsequently embedded within their practice to support the creation of a diverse STEM-literate society. The purpose being to determine mechanisms by which knowledge acquisition occurs, to reconnoitre potential implications for education and learning at work, including consideration of the role which new technologies play in the development of STEM knowledge within and across contributory STEM subject disciplines. Underpinned by an interpretivist ontology, work presented here builds upon the premise that design and technology is an interdisciplinary educational construct and not viewed as being of equal status to other STEM disciplines including maths and science. Drawing upon the philosophical field of symbolic interactionism and constructivist grounded theory, work embraces an abductive methodology where participants are encouraged to relate design and technology within the context of STEM education. Emergent findings are discussed in relation to their potential to support teachers’ educational development for the advancement of STEM literacy, and help secure design and technology’s place as a subject of value within a twenty-first Century curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-737
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Design Education
Issue number3
Early online date7 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • STEM Professional learning at work
  • Twenty-first century skills Design andtechnology


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