Implementing design and technology in the national curriculum
conference contributionposted on 10.05.2006, 13:32 by B.S. Nicholson
This paper arises from perspectives generated when the author held the post of Staff Inspector for Design and Technology, ILEA; as a CDT teacher during the summer term 1990 and in contemplation of the challenge posed for teacher educators in preparing new teachers to deliver D&T. Close involvement in preparing responses to the various stages of consultation towards the Order for D&T, often in consultation with advisers from all over England and Wales and many years involvement in the generation of new forms of assessment for CDT and now D&T provide perspectives that can help to supplement some of the more helpful documents already available to teachers on the subject of implementation, particularly the Non-statutory guidance for NCC (NSG) (1) and "The National curriculum: Planning for technological Experience" (2) It is argued here that the sheer quantity of information expressed in the Order for D&T will oppress many teachers who will find it difficult to believe that it can all be delivered, if the creative, holistic nature of open-ended project work is to continue to be the main medium of education in this part of the curriculum. Furthermore, there is the risk that the NSG, with its emphasis on the programmes of study (PoS) will take away from the need to see the Attainment Targets (ATs) as the key to developing technological capability. Again, it is argued that, in the medium term, teachers will find that the challenge of assessing children's attainment in a way that can output levels for reporting will be quite as demanding a challenge as the teaching itself, and therefore that, although the task of explaining the needs of the future has been divided between two separate quangos (NCC and SEAC), the teacher will need to bring these two aspects of the work into daily conjunction. The essence of this paper, then, is that a) the delivery in secondary schools needs to start with seeing the Order for D&T expressed as a matrix with the ATs and PoS set at right angles to each other; and b) that from the outset, planning needs to take into account the assessment process, without allowing the whole affair to become assessment-driven.
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