After completing a term studying 'the properties of materials' my students reported that, although they found the subject interesting, they were disappointed that they hadn't has the opportunity to do any practical. They also mentioned that Design and Technology (D&T), ought to be a 'doing' subject.
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Stenhouse (Cited in Armitage, 195) argues that "Curriculum to many in compulsory education, is understood to be the government planned intentions", or "prescribed intended learning outcomes" This definition lends itself to the planning of specific learning targets which can be translated into specific learning outcomes for individual lessons. However this process is not inclusive, as it does not maximise the potential of immediate learner feedback, and therefore reduces the level of learner participation in the learning process. The aims of this study are therefore focused upon the potential role learner feedback or evaluation can play in developing curriculum, facilitating greater learner participation and ownership.
The role of Design and Technology in schools on England is evolving. These changes were announced in the Government Green Paper 14-19: Extending Opportunities Raising Standards (DfES, 2002), which argued that education and instruction of 14-19-year-olds should be delivered by a more flexible curriculum with a broad range of options. Beginning in September 2002, Design and Technology was no longer a compulsory school subject from age 14: the age which marks the end of Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum in England. Students will have a statutory entitlement at KS4 to opt to study D&T subjects, but also more freedom within what was recognised as a very crowded curriculum to select other subjects of their choice. These changes along with the introduction of league tables have had a considerable impact on D&T provision in secondary schools.
Hirst (1974: p 110) argues that the wider context of education 'is affected by the motivations of society'; the advent of league tables has evoked increasingly competitive organisations and teachers, along with an increased organisations and teachers, along with an increased orientation towards accountability both on an organizational and individual level.
Design and Technology was introduced into the National Curriculum in England and Wales in 1990 (Under the Technology in the National Curriculum Statutory Order, DES and Welsh Office, 1990). Some suggest that this was a response by the government to the importance of technology to the British economy at that time (Layton, 1995). However, most agree that little research evidence existed before the introduction of D&T into the curriculum, on which to base these decisions (DES/Welsh Office, 1988. Section 1.15. Kimbell, Stables &Green, 1996, 17. Penfold, 1988, 5; Shield, 1996, 10).
This is also reflected upon the curriculum of the day that was viewed as being 'product' orientated (Bobbitt 1918, 42; 1928. and Tyler, 1949, 89). The underpinning theme being that learners were taught 'what people needed to know in order to work' (Bobbitt, 1918. 42); this orientation towards knowledge focused upon achieving competences. Today still some practical elements of D&T are and will remain competence or skills focused, and therefore influenced by product orientated curriculum of the 1990's. These elements of the D&T curriculum include the correct and safe used of tools and equipment, which are also assessed competences at GCSE level.
Nevertheless, its associated distinctive model of teaching and learning had been evolving over the years (Kimbell and Perry, 2001; Penfold 1988, 23). It is claimed that England and Wales were the first
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