The introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBac) has raised questions about the value of some subjects within the UK’s education system, including Design and Technology. This is the first of two papers responding to the situation. This paper is in two parts. Part One is a short summary, demonstrating that mixed messages from the UK Government are causing leading representatives of Design and Technology to realign the subject with Engineering. Part Two proposes an alternative to their proposal based on findings in a recently awarded PhD (Bradburn: 2010). This part claims that Design and Technology should place the teaching of thinking techniques (in this case creative thinking techniques) at its heart. In making this claim I provide a conceptual framework with the potential to fundamentally change Design and Technology teaching and learning. The second paper gives an account of how the creativity alternative was introduced to teachers and pupils and how it impacted upon pedagogic practice.
The capacity to imagine is a key aspect of creativity and, in this paper, it is argued that it is this capacity which needs to be harnessed in history education for young people. Although the creation of fiction and the use of imagination has tended to be regarded as a literary method, in this paper it is argued that it has an important role to play in helping young people discover history – something which might normally be seen as a purely scientific process. An interdisciplinary approach is needed. Researchers who study pedagogy confirm that in contemporary education, how teachers are interested in their subject and how they use their imagination is becoming increasingly important (Zeldin 1995). The problem is not particularly ontological (what to present in a history class) – instead, it is epistemological (how to present it). The choice of material stems partly from the topic but even more from the approach to the topic. It also depends on the target audience (e.g. children of various ages and carrying out various roles), the values of the society and ideological choices (what we are trying to tell the students about a topic).
Sabah Carrim holds a Masters degree in human rights and teaches law at Brickfields Asia College, Kuala Lumpur. She has published extensively in the areas of law, philosophy and education. She is currently the Chief Editor of Brickfields Law Review and has been instrumental in establishing a meaningful connection between law, philosophy, the arts and literature. Her current research interests and activities include the writings of Michel Foucault, Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosophy of writing, creativity and eroticism. Her novel Humeirah Fasq is in course of publication.
After 11 years in Engineering, Tom qualified as a Craft, Design and Technology teacher in 1976 and as an advocate of lifelong education was awarded a PhD in Education in 2010. Now, as ‘possibly the oldest teacher in Lancashire’, he continues to teach 11 – 18 year olds and claims that he has at least ten more good years to offer.
Having got so much out of teaching, Tom is driven to ‘give something extra back’. Having witnessed the remorseless drive for conformity in education, he intends to help promote a more creative, exciting and rewarding approach. His view is that, despite decades of quality academic research, creativity in schools has had sporadic and limited success. A major reason for this is the lack of a simple practical conceptual framework around which teachers may operate with confidence. In his paper Tom offers his interpretation of such a framework.
Tom’s academic and teaching interests include: creativity theory, design studies, product design, pupil self assessment strategies, developing thinking skills, computer programmes, and student mentoring. Tom’s personal interests and activities include reading, writing (including poetry), art, golf, humour and (yes he still plays) squash. He and his wife, Cathie, have four children and five grandchildren. After them, his main love is for teaching which he still regards as a privilege.
Milvi Martina Piir is an Estonian writer and historian. She has an MA degree in history from the University of Tartu and she is currently pursuing her PhD in Educational Sciences at Tallinn University. She is an author of innovative history textbooks, workbooks and teachers' books for schools of general education and works as the senior specialist in history at the National Examinations and Qualifications Centre. She also works as a lecturer in the history of pedagogy at the University of Tallinn and is a member of the Baltic Association of Historians of Pedagogy. For her PhD dissertation, she studies the impact of the nationalist-traditionalist history teaching in the period of Estonia's regaining of independence on the practical understanding of history among the younger generation.
As a writer, Milvi Martina Piir is an author of several novels and the winner of the national novel competition in 2008.