The NEW Year – NEW term! – NEW D&T!

Deadlines were looming

I remember it well, that feeling of restlessness and anxiety, the inability to sleep through the night and thinking about that critical stage that all my students’ project work was at!!! Because ‘oh my god!! It was already January!’ – Deadlines were looming!!! Had I provided enough feedback and guidance for every single student to move forward independently? How was I going to provide encouragement when everyone was in holiday mode? And in recent times another issue plagued me – how was I going to calm down the ones panicking that they hadn’t completed enough work to date? I am sure from looking at posts on my social media and that a lot of teachers had this same feeling these last few days?

Pressure of getting prepped

As irrational as it may seem to those not in the teaching profession because all teachers are just coming back from ‘another’ break – aren’t they? That feeling of incompleteness like you have never done enough is something that troubles many in the profession. I don’t know a Design Technology teacher who doesn’t organise their social life in the coming months according to deadlines that have to be met in terms of coursework and project work. To be honest for the first time reading through my social media I saw many posts about the pressure of getting prepped for the New GCSE also as January was already here! – So coupled with the January blues was a feeling of insufficiency and being under prepared for the unknown!
So the NEW GCSE is clearly playing on the mind of our cohort. Many are considering it as an opportunity to move forward but I do think that is wholly dependent on the background of the teacher. Having spoken to hundreds of teachers about Design and Technology in the past year on a number of fronts, it was a topic of discussion that cropped up again and again – is it the enlightened course that it now professes to be or are we going back to the 1990’s? Do we have right content and staff to deliver it?

Encouraging Growth

To be honest I have loved offering real project based approaches that offer a context for students over the 14 years I have taught Design and Technology, as it always helped to cover the skills based learning as well as encouraging a growth mind-set. The students never made anything for the sake of making it – they never designed something that someone told them to as the where given the opportunity to think, make mistakes and reflect and re do! This iterative approach is echoing around me in real life as we speak , the business world, the tech world everywhere I look and everyone I look to hire need to have this way of working! The principles I am learning through the Entrepreneurial Accelerator program I am on, and even the agile way of working with my development team are exactly the same – it’s about being focussed on the needs of users, prototyping, being sustainable and being iterative!!!

Value of Design Technology

So when people ask me the value of Design Technology and why it should be studied? I remember a video that the James Dyson Foundation produced and I was asked that question or something along those lines and I cannot re -emphasise it enough! – Teaching students to think – make decisions – and providing opportunities for them to be creative and grow are simply necessary to every single profession. I remember running enterprise clubs through the years collaborating with the business and many other departments to showcase Design and Technology and enlighten SLT, governors’ teachers and parents to the value of such experiential learning.

Understand opportunities

My vision was always to provide students with the ability understand opportunities that are real to them, their environment and current issues that surround them and their world and that did mean getting out of my comfort zone and the student getting out theirs and many times learning together! It meant embracing the unknown, making mistakes and learning from them! I feel that embracing the New GCSE may just be the opportunity to demonstrate what the subject is really capable of!

I am running a free webinar for 5 teachers which will provide avenues of optimum delivery methods and provide an overview issues relating to the planning, delivery and assessment of the new specifications.

Sign up at Kapture8 in the next week to subscribe for the free webinar training.