Sustainability and design and technology in schools

Pip Goggin, Tony Lawler
1998, Vol. 3, No. 2,


This article follows a presentation at IDATER '97 where the issues around sustainability and the unique role that design and technology can play within the school curriculum were presented. The scope of the theoretical justifications have been explained and practical examples of approaches to projects at Key Stage 3 and at A level/GCSE of the concept of sustainability are presented for comment.

The first section builds the argument for caution and an awareness of the issues involved, but uniquely focuses on the role of 'designers' and their ability to intervene in the future situation. Our fundamental attitude is not that of 'doom and gloom' but that the designer can and must make decisions not just on the short term needs of the producer, but on the wider environmental issues. The second section shows how this philosophy can be applied to design and technology teaching in schools such that the next generation of citizens are aware of not just the issues, but also how they can change their futures. We have outlined three basic steps which involve different degrees of change to existing schemes of work ranging from a minimal change merely logging the energy and materials in the project evaluation, to replanning the schemes of work giving the pupils a greater degree of involvement and understanding.

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