Accessible or Merely Available? CDT for Girls

Margaret Rogers
1986, Vol. 18, No. 3,

Abstract


Increasingly, pupils, staff and governing bodies are becoming aware of the opportunities for learning through Craft, Design and Technology activities. Facilities are now being made available in schools where previously none had existed, yet the full Craft Design and Technology experience remains inaccessible to a large percentange of pupils, as illustrated by the very small percentage of girls following examination courses.

Research findings have stressed the importance of the physical environment for COT activities; the nature of the projects being set; the content of available resources; the language being used both during demonstration lessons and general teacher /pupil interactions. Interaction between pupils also influences perceptions of the subject area. Many pupils, mostly girls, receive the message from the media that COT is not for them. The poster, for instance, proclaiming 'Woodwork is for you' and showing a large, obviously masculine hand using a plane, or the phrase in an examination syllabus ' ... may discuss a candidate's work with him if necessary'. If this is further reinforced by unthinking comments or even sexist language, certain pupils will feel unwelcome however interested they may be. In. making accessible to girls the learning experience offered through COT, teachers have to ask questions about the physical experience offered through COT, teachers have to ask questions ab0ut the physical environment of COT activities. My experiences in setting up a new department in a newly amalgamated girls' school were founded on my underlying concern that opportunities for learning and growth offered in COT should be totally accessible to all pupils. Accessibility is the keyword in the philosphy of Craft Design and Technology department at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School.


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