An assortment box of views: different perceptions of D&T’s purpose and structure

Hardy, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-6970-1695, 2016. An assortment box of views: different perceptions of D&T’s purpose and structure. In: PATT2016 - Technology Education for 21st Century Skills Conference, Utrecht, Netherlands, 23-26 August.

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Abstract

Views about the value of Design and Technology (D&T) to students, the economy and society are diverse, occasionally exaggerated, and usually conflicting (for examples see Department of Education, 2013; Design and Technology Association, 2011 and 2015; Hardy, Gyekye, & Wainwright, 2015). For example: is D&T a subject with specialised knowledge? A subject that applies knowledge from other subjects? A vocational subject? A subject to meet the country’s economic needs? Or a subject to develop good citizens? These conflicting views were brought to the fore when the review of the English National Curriculum proclaimed that D&T has an insufficient disciplinary coherence (Department for Education, 2011). Strong, disciplinary coherent subjects have a clear form of knowledge and are favoured by the current UK government. Subjects with disciplinary coherence have strongly defined boundary between itself and other subjects (Bernstein, 2000), and strongly defined knowledge that is ‘sacred … not ordinary or mundane’ (Bernstein, 2003, p.73). In response to this review, and other challenges, the Design and Technology Association (D&TA) has run two campaigns to ‘fight’ for D&T to be recognised as an important and essential part of the school curriculum (Design and Technology Association, 2011; 2015). But D&TA has not systematically investigated how D&T teachers and their students, the activators and receivers of D&T, perceive the subject’s purpose and coherence. This paper uses Bernstein’s (2000; 2003) concepts of classification and framing to analyse the perceptions of these two groups. Their assorted views are different to D&TA’s campaign messages but as conflicting, and they concur with the curriculum review that D&T does not have a strong disciplinary coherence. The conclusion suggests how this analysis could inform future D&TA campaigns and suggests that by addressing D&T’s specialised knowledge and the contribution D&T makes to students 21st Century Skills is not lost but strengthened.

Item Type: Conference contribution
Creators: Hardy, A.
Date: 2016
Divisions: Schools > School of Education
Depositing User: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 07 Oct 2016 09:44
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 14:07
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/28807

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