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Unpacking secondary school technology teachers’interpretations and experiences of teaching ‘problem‑solving’

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-04-21, 11:07 authored by Diarmaid Lane, Oliver McGarrOliver McGarr, Bill Nicholl
Research relating to the nature and purpose of ‘design’ activity across education sectors has accelerated in recent years as governments and policy makers throughout the world high light the importance of skills such as creative problem-solving and innovation. Within sec ondary schools, responsibility for teaching and learning through design is often assigned to Technology and Engineering subjects, however, gaps tend to exist in relation to what dif ferent teachers understand and experience about the teaching and learning of problem-solv ing and design in their classrooms. In this exploratory study, a small group of practicing secondary school teachers completed a one day training workshop where they were intro duced to new knowledge and pedagogical skills relating to design problem-solving using a classroom intervention called ‘Designing Our Tomorrow’. The teachers participated in a focus group discussion before and after the workshop in which they discussed their experi ences in teaching design. Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) (Lakof & Johnson Meta phors we live, University of Chicago Press, 1980) was employed to highlight the fgures of speech used by the teachers during the focus groups and from these a number of conceptual metaphors were identifed that described their understandings and experiences of teaching design problem-solving. In synthesizing the broad theoretical base relating to understand ings of design problem-solving and CMT together with the fndings from the one day pro fessional development workshop, the paper highlights the potential value for researchers in using CMT to unpack teachers’ views on how design problem-solving is taught and learned in schools. Finally, the paper reveals a potential new space to inform and evaluate future professional development of Technology teachers, particularly where the focus is on com plex and difcult to defne concepts such as design and problem-solving.

History

Publication

International Journal of Technology and Design Education;

Publisher

Springer

Note

peer-reviewed

Other Funding information

Teaching Council of Ireland

Language

English

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