‘What’s the point of D&T?’ is a question I have spent several years researching. Unsurprisingly, the answers are wide ranging; there has been consensus and dissonance, values that reveal the benefit to a child’s education now, such as the opportunity to be creative when designing; the future benefit – learning skills to look after yourself and others; the economic benefit to society – creates future engineers and designers; and so on.
Not only am I curious about what people value about D&T, I am intrigued about where their values originate and how their values affect their behaviour and attitude towards D&T. What I’ve come to believe is that the values we hold about D&T, or indeed any subject, are shaped by many factors such as school experiences, gender, and teachers’ and peers’ values. In turn, our values will influence our attitude and behaviour towards D&T, and the values of others – and so the cycle continues.
This may seem obvious, but pausing and exploring the origins of our values helps understand our attitudes, which then means we can, if necessary, think about how we can change them. This helps us to consider how we influence the values of others.
I’ll leave you with the question: Why you do you think D&T should be taught in schools?
‘Why do we teach D&T?’, written in 2014 this article was for Teach Design magazine and sets out five arguments for the place of D&T in the curriculum.
‘The consequence of school performance measures: Inequality of access and opportunity’ In this paper I speculate on the consequences of a school curriculum where D&T is only available to some pupils. In other words, someone values D&T as a subject for some pupils, not all.
‘What do others think is the point of design and technology education?’, This paper shares initial findings from a research project with two Nottinghamshire schools where we interviewed teachers and pupils to find out what they thought the point of D&T was. Some of the views challenged our values and views!