The Role of Published Materials in Curriculum Development and Implementation for Secondary School Design and Technology in England and Wales

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Abstract

This paper discusses the ways in which teachers exploited a set of curriculum materials published as a vehicle for curriculum innovation, and the relationship between chosen modes of exploitation and teachers’ own perceptions of how the materials had ’added value’ to their teaching. The materials in question were developed by the Nuffield Design and Technology Project (’the Project’) to offer a pedagogy appropriate to the statutory curriculum for secondary school design and technology education in England and Wales (DFE/WO 1995). The Project had sought both to inform the statutory curriculum, and respond to its requirements. An earlier case study (Givens 1997) laid the foundations for the survey that is reported here. This paper focuses on the teaching of pupils aged 11–14. It finds that while most teachers made at least some use of all the various components of the publications, they were selective. While the Study Guide, which carries out a meta-cognitive dialogue with pupils, was generally underused, those teachers who did use it perceived greater value added by the materials as a whole to the quality of pupils’ work, their effectiveness in design and technology and their autonomy.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.