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Slow down: how to stop spinning at KS3

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posted on 05.06.2007, 13:34 by Louise T. Davies, Torben Steeg
Rotational or ‘carousel’ models, where pupils move to new material areas and teachers once or twice a term, dominate the organisation of the Design and Technology Key Stage 3 curriculum in England. This dominance has been maintained in the face of a great deal of concern expressed about the negative effects of such models on the quality of teaching and learning and in spite of the long term availability of various alternative models. This paper describes a small-scale study of D&T departments where models other than simple rotation through different material areas have been attempted at KS3. The aim of the study was to find out what had motivated some schools to go against the dominant trend of rotational models at KS3 and to elicit from these schools details of their experience with alternative curriculum structures. The study indicates that schools are successfully adopting a range of non-rotational courses at KS3. Most of the schools claim that the adoption of new structures has led to improved KS3 results and success at recruitment to GCSE programs in the face of the new optional status of D&T at GCSE. Schools also claim improvements in pupils’ perception of D&T as a subject as opposed to disparate material areas and a reduction in sex stereotyped views of the material areas. The obvious objections to non-rotational courses circle around issues of teacher specialism. The schools in this study show that these objections are surmountable; D&T teachers do have the professional capability to extend their repertoire of skills and pupils benefit from their doing so.



  • Design

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  • D&T Association Conference Series



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This is a conference paper.