Language and CDT

Gerry Gregory
1989, Vol. 21, No. 3,

Abstract


Language is the single most important tool in the COT workshop. Its importance to COT learning and teaching is inscribed in GCSE CDT syllabuses and, strikingly, in the 'National Curriculum' Design and Technology Working Group Interim Report November, 1988.

As regards pupil learning, of the five 'attainment targets' 'provisionally identified' 1 in the latter all but No.4 - 'Make artefacts or systems' - necessarily involve language exchange; and if group as well as individual projects are to be allowed as 'means by which attainment targets might be achieved', which seems to be promised here and there in the Extracts from the Programmes of Study, ifnot in the Sample Attainment Targets, then we can tick off No.4 as well.

As regards teaching, the indispensability of language exchange is unqualified, in the Interim Report as elsewhere. Moreover, staying a moment longer with that document, the references to teaching (caught in the pervasive use of verbs in the passive voice - 'Pupils should be taught to ... taught about ... taught skills . trained to make judgements taught knowledge .. ~)so preponderate in the Extracts from the Programmes of Study that they might be more accurately labelled Programmes of 'Teaching. In this regard it is worth making reference to an article by Sir Graham Hills (Times Educational Supplement, 20th January, 1989):

'Skills relate but do not belong to the knowledge base. They belong to the person, and only to the person, who has acquired them. They enrich that person in a way that the knowledge base does not. They humanize in a way that knowledge cannot, if only because they are acquired by transfer from human to human. They can only be the result of learning, only secondarily of teaching'


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