D&T subject knowledge and its relationship with designing and making

2007-05-23T13:09:49Z (GMT) by Tim Lewis
The new paradigm for design and technology introduced by Breckon in 2001 re-opened the debate about the nature and assessment of design and technology (D&T) in schools. He proposed a model with four elements each independently assessed. Design and technology subject knowledge was one of these elements. This re-opened the debate about the relationship between designing and subject knowledge. This paper charts a brief history of the change in thinking about this relationship, particularly design process models. Research with focus groups of students in higher education, all with experience of doing D&T at GCSE level, throws further light on what is currently happening in schools and particularly the GCSE examination system. Comparisons are made with how subject knowledge is used to support designing within degree level product design courses. The paper concludes with a call for a re-think of how subject knowledge and designing can be taught in a more integrated way in schools, possibly using the product design model as a starting point.