Why don't I just throw it in the bin? - evaluation and self-esteem

John Garvey, Antony Quinlan
1997, Vol. 2, No. 1,


Work in design and technology can provide a unique insight into quality through the process of evaluation. However, this is a two-edged sword in that evaluation can expose children's work to the perceived cold, hard light of public scrutiny. For many children at Key Stages 1 and 2, evaluation can be a daunting, high-risk enterprise due to a lack of self-esteem. Drawing upon case study evidence from work with children in schools, a number of strategies are proposed for children to develop a critical awareness of products and through this, a more confident approach to evaluating their designing and making. These include a graduation from evaluating familiar products made or produced by others, with a key emphasis on food, to evaluation of their own designing and making through the support of 'critical friends' within a group context. It is proposed that product evaluation should be a key feature of primary teaching, based upon regular, simple and brief whole class and group teaching sessions.

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