‘Oh yeah, yeah you get a lot of love hearts. The Year 9s are notorious for love hearts. Everything is love hearts.’ Fixation in pupils’ design and technology work (11-16 years)

Bill Nicholl, Ros McLellan
2007, Vol. 12, No. 1,


This paper focuses on the design ideas generated by
young people aged 11-16 years when solving design
and technology problems. A number of methods
including focus interviews with pupils and teachers,
lesson observations and analysis of documents and
pupils portfolios are used to help explain how pupils
aged 11-16 years generate their design and
technology ideas. The findings indicate that a
significant number of pupils produced stereotypical
design ideas such as love hearts and sports logos.
This was the case regardless of their age and gender
and happens at various stages when designing. A
review of the creative cognition literature suggests that
this occurs as a result of a normal way of thinking and
is referred to as fixation. Fixation, that is, what it looks
like and how it manifests itself in the D&T classroom
is discussed in detail. Fixation was also found to
manifest itself in other ways such as a strong desire
to do the first idea that comes into your head. It is
argued that an understanding of fixation gives insight
into why pupils find it difficult to generate creative
design ideas. As fixation can be overridden, we
believe that the role of the teacher in this process is
important. Aspects of current practice that might be
problematic are begun to be considered.


Creativity ; Fixation ; Generating ideas ; Creative cognition ; 11-16 years

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c)