PATT26 abstract – accepted!

Values in design and technology education: 20 years of curriculum development
 Keywords: values, ethics, sustainability, curriculum.

 Designing and making is an inherently human activity and as such is shaped by our personal values and those of other including clients. The view of values underpinning design and technological activity has a considerable history and has been discussed in relation to the formal curriculum in school for more than 20 years. In the UK, discussion of values in design and technology was most notable in the early 1990s with David Layton writing two important publications, both with the title Values in Design and Technology (Layton 1992a, 1992b).

The keynote lecture at IDATER in 1992 (Layton 1992) provided perspectives on the values held by stakeholders in what he called the socio-political shaping of the subject. This gives a ‘macro view’ of values in design and technology. At the same time Layton wrote a chapter in Budgett-Meakin’s book. This seminal work focused on the ‘micro view’ of how classroom teachers might consider values in design and technology. Since that time the debate about such issues have to some extent moved and are expressed through discussions about ethics (Keirl 1998) and more recently sustainability (Pavlova 2006).

The paper will provide a summary of the work of key authors and curriculum development initiatives along with a synthesis of issues that have emerged during the last 20 years. In doing so, it will highlight the key importance of making values visible in design and technological activity both inside and outside the classroom.

In conclusion, the author will make the case for an essential revival of the discussion of values in design and technology at a time when the curriculum is undergoing reform. It will explore the current stakeholders that are shaping the curriculum of today and make the case for more explicit learning and teaching about the role that values play in determining worthwhile outcomes of design and technological activity.

Keirl, S., 1998. The practise of ethics and the ethics of practice in technology education. IDATER 1998 Conference, Loughborough: Loughborough University

Layton, D (1992) Values in Design and Technology in Budgett-Meakin, C. Make the future work. Appropriate technology: a teachers guide. Harlow: Longman.

Martin, M., 1996. Valuing products and applications. IDATER 1996 Conference, Loughborough: Loughborough University

Pavlova, M (2006) Technology Education for Sustainable Futures. Design and Technology Education: An International Journal 11, 2.


About Mike Martin

Teacher educator based at Liverpol John Moores University in the UK. Researching subject knowledge of pre-service teachers.
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