Teacher expertise in D&T

in the 1970s I spent three years training to be a CDT (D&T) teacher at Loughborough College of Education. Alongside the education thread, the course included intensive taught courses on design theory, material science, electronics, mechanical, pneumatic and electronic systems, jewelery and the latest electro-mechanical ‘teaching machines that were going to make us redundant within 10 years!

The excellent grounding in school that I talked about in a previous post was expanded and extended including the study of the science behind the materials, processes and how they are applied to products and systems.

During the final year we had to complete a major project and these ranged from a gemstone faceting machine to full size fibreglass speed boat and sports car all designed and built from scratch.  Newly qualified teachers leaving Loughborough College new more than enough about the ‘stuff’ of D&T and could concentrate on learning how to teach at the start of their careers in the classroom.

Since the 1970s three and four year teaching training courses have almost disappeared, replaced with PGCE and more recently, school based training. Both assume entrants have all the necessary design and practical skills when the reality is many do not. Today newly qualified teachers enter the classroom with significant gaps in their knowledge, skills and understanding and, due to reductions in professional development budgets, cannot access courses to fill these gaps in their expertise.

In my view, the gaps in teacher’s expertise is the single biggest reason for the decline in D&T.

I will explore other factors in the decline of D&T in future posts.

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