Exploring teacher activity in primary design and technology lessons

Alan Cross
2006, Vol. 11, No. 1,


This paper illustrates actions and behaviours
employed by English primary school teachers
in teaching design and technology in the
present context of the statutory National
Curriculum framework for primary design
and technology. It considers perspectives
relating to general pedagogy, teacher activity
and the possible contribution of learning
theory and factors which influence choice of
teaching methods. A number of sources of
evidence are utilised including school
inspection reports, teacher interviews and
lesson observation. Two contrasting lessons,
which illustrate some of the tensions faced
by teachers, are considered and aspects of
relevant statutory and non-statutory
curriculum and guidance documents are
explored. Based on a small nonrepresentative
sample this research sought to
illustrate and explore teaching activity, a
larger sample would be required to confirm
the findings. A source of tension is identified
in that teachers are charged with delivering
specified knowledge and skill based
outcomes, whilst at the same time
developing pupil creativity. Suggestions of
alternative approaches to the categorisation
of teaching methods, including a form of
taxonomy of primary design and technology
methods, are made.
primary, design and technology, teaching
methods, learning, pupil autonomy, teacher


Primary ; Design and technology ; Teaching methods ; Learning ; Pupil autonomy ; Teacher direction

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