Groundwork: Preparing an effective basis for communication and shared learning in design and technology education

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Annemarie Looijenga Remke Klapwijk Marc J. De Vries


In Dutch Design and Technology Education the beginning
of a process of learning is usually determined by the
teacher. In this paper it is argued that a beginning,
determined in interaction with the students, is more
profitable as the interaction will lead to joined-up exploring,
creating and thinking and an increased motivation to learn.
Furthermore, students are empowered to treat an activity
as a means rather than an end. The interaction acts as
groundwork in advance of the assignment.
Groundwork is something that is done at an early stage
and that makes later work or progress possible.
Literature does however not cover the groundwork topic
for children in the four-eight year age bracket. Therefore a
model for the groundwork phase, consisting of five
components, was designed and tested. The components
are: context, communication, integration of acting and
thinking, presentation of instruction and presentation of the
problem. In this paper two case-studies, which handle
groundwork in different ways, are described. The
groundwork was in both cases addressed in group
activities, aiming to prepare students to commence a
process of learning. The cases show that, when used in
combination, the five components appear to make
groundwork successful. Careful communication gave
added value. A communication link was configured
between teacher and learner, between learners, and
between subject and learner. Through groundwork the
teacher shared both thoughts and knowledge with the
students and this created a base for effective classroom
communication and a common approach.

Article Details

How to Cite
LOOIJENGA, Annemarie; KLAPWIJK, Remke; DE VRIES, Marc J.. Groundwork: Preparing an effective basis for communication and shared learning in design and technology education. Design and Technology Education: an International Journal, [S.l.], v. 21, n. 3, feb. 2017. ISSN 1360-1431. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 apr. 2019.
self-expression; communication; collaboration, integrated acting and thinking; instruction; context; problem-solving; designing; primary school