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I talk about the value of D&T, but what about how values are taught in and through D&T? This week I share thoughts from David Layton, Mike Martin and me about the importance of values in D&T.
Mentioned in this episode
Layton, D., 1992, Values in Design and Technology. In: C. Budgett-Meakin, ed., Make the Future Work. Harlow, England: Longman, 1992, pp. 36-53.
Martin, M., 1999, Exploring values in design and technology. In: D. Lawton, J. Cairns and R. Gardner, eds., Values and the curriculum; the school context. London: Curriculum Studies Academic Group, 1999, pp. 199-207.
Hardy, A.L., 2015. What's D&T for? Gathering and comparing the values of design and technology academics and trainee teachers. Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, 20 (2), 10-21.
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I was listening last week to the thinking aloud podcast from radio four. It's all about sociological research. And the one last because listen to us about the value of things. Now is the word value. As you can quite imagine, if you've listened to previous episodes, that caught my attention, I'm really interested in about this concept of value and how we measure the value of something, how we recognise how we see the value, how we talk about values, and so on. But in this podcast, they were talking about clutter, I was I was with my husband at the time, we were listening to it. And I don't know which one of us was glaring at the other one more about who owns the amount of clutter there is in the house, I think I'm likely to lose on that one. But we were listening to talk about clutter and about why people value things. And they're talking about House clearances, and people who hoard and search. And they were talking about consumerism. And so all of these things were starting to resonate with me thinking about design and technology and around sustainability of products. And then one of the contributors use this phrase, which I've not heard before, about durable design, I can't get hold of the transcript of the podcast, where she talks about who it wasn't in the design field that was talking about durable design. But it was about having products that had had more of a meaning. And that lasted, whether that's because we replaced things or because we were more thoughtful in the way we purchased them. So I really liked this term durable design. And it got me thinking about how we teach and how we talk about values and design and technology. I talk about it in my research in a particular way about how people value design and technology, what do they see the purposes of the subject. But there's two other ways that I've written about that we can talk about values and design and technology. While the one is about values, in design and technology, these are the values that can be taught to children, or that we talk about in design and technology that we see may be implied or implicit or overt in different products or processes. And then the other is about how children design and technology might be taught values through design and technology. Now what I mean by that is the difference there is that it could be seen as an indoctrination is that the teacher is the holder of the right values. And he's trying to teach that to pupils in their in their classes. So it's a three distinction, distinct ways of looking at values, values of values in and values through. Now, this got me thinking to David Layton's work where he talks about values and design and technology. And Mike Martin has also talked about teaching values through design and technology. Now, these are relatively old texts, they're from the 1990s, I'll put a link in the show notes. And I've got them in front of me while I'm talking because I see you will probably hear me flicking backwards and forwards through the pages of the books as I as I kind of remember that I'm saying the right thing. And the reason it sort of resonates with me is that I've had a conversation recently with James Bleach and Dave BausorDMT are about empathy and design and technology that that's a value, or it's valuing other people's positions. This thing about durable design that's about values, maybe relating more to sustainability. I had a Twitter conversation about whether sustainability was in or out of a national curriculum. It's not in it formally, but teachers continue to teach it. And the debate about why sustainability wasn't in the national curriculum in 2013 in England, was partly because it was seen as political. And if we look at the fact that the national curriculum and the drivers in the UK at the moment, particularly in England, are around knowledge, rich facts and evidence, then things around values aren't valued any longer in the national curriculum. And this concept of the centrality of values as lightning talks about it gets kind of vanished. You know, when I started teaching design and technology in 1993, and was involved in teaching the first iteration of a national curriculum, you know, the different kinds of values were there. They were listed in the national curriculum, and those don't exist any longer. And I think there's been a loss and I think these things still happen. In teachers. I'm very confident that D&T Teachers still teach this but newer teachers coming through may not be familiar with some of this language. So I wanted to revisit it and share it particularly for my own benefit to kind of refresh my own mind about what they were partly because it kind of got me excited. Again, it got me got me thinking about values. And finally to share it with people who are listening who aren't familiar with this, this language in this may be framework, we might want to call it about values in design and technology. Layton says that values and value judgments are the engine of design and technology, judgement about what is possible and worthwhile. He goes on to say initiate activity. So value judgments, he says reflecting pupils, people's beliefs, concerns and preferences are ubiquitous in design and technology activity. And that reminds me of what Dave and James are saying about empathy. You know, reflecting people's beliefs, concerns and preferences is really important. Thinking about the clients, the user is is is central to what we do in design and technology. But there is more than that is thinking about the user or the consumer. Layton gives these seven different types of values. So the first is technical, which is about the right materials for the job about having a neat solution about fitness for purpose. Okay, we've kind of got that's kind of quite a central tenet of design and technology values, but it's not the only one. Okay, and then this one's another one that we talk about quite a lot in design tonight about economic about the Thrifty use of resources, sustainability that could be thinking into economic in terms of Thriftiness maximising the added value of a product in terms of yes, we've got a product, but does it add value to the person who's using it does it? Can it be can value be added to it by having add ons, and so on, and adaptations and personalization. And then there's the aesthetic is the third kind of value. And again, we talk about the the way something looks, but actually, we mustn't forget that. Aesthetics relates to more than the sense of sight, it relates to touch is it pleasing to handle and we can think about why something smells we can think about the way something tastes, all of these around a statics where it touches our senses. And these are values that are within products, and they are value judgments that we make when we're designing a product. The fourth is the social, the social aspect of making decisions and making judgments in design and technology, thinking about equality of different ethnicities, different genders, different sexualities, about thinking about those who are disadvantaged or disabled, who may have difficulties in accessing different products, services, and systems. Then fifthly there's the environmental. So do we think about Alan MacArthur's work about Cradle to Cradle. So we have something something has been as Layton puts it ecologically benign? Do we think about sustainable development that kind of sets off bells in my ears about white Saviour, about people sort of going in and fixing solutions for different countries that are, or maybe less well developed as people in the West might see it? Just kind of go off a slight tangent at that. Layton has this lovely quote in his chapter, where he says, you know about cross cultural perspectives around values. And he gives this example about it said that Ghandi as he was about to board his plane for India, at the end of his first visit to the UK, was asked by an enthusiastic young reporter, what do you think about Western civilization? And after a moment of reflection, the reply came, 'Yes, I think it would be a good idea'. Now that little comment can be taken in lots of different ways. But it is worth kind of thinking this kind of goes back and kind of sidetracking it to previous episodes when I've talked about how do we do race in design and technology? And I think there's we're very careful about environmental about development and thinking about who's who's developing who, but that's, that's a value that we have to think about and about value judgments. And then the sixth one is about moral and the sanctity of life. And do we have a right to make things to do things to have those things? And then the final one, which I think has kind of faded away I think those six we, we may well say, Oh yes, we can see those. But the seventh one is about spirituality and religious. His definition of that is a commitment to a conception of humans and their relationship to nature. Again, he had a sense kind of where does that differ from sustainability. But I think that's quite different in terms of a spiritual and intrinsic response to products, and to where things come from in our environment than it is around things that are maybe more measurable unquantifiable. So I think those seven values were they were talked about in the national quick, I'm not sure all seven were, but probably six of them, at least, were talked about in some of the early iterations of the national curriculum. And I'm bringing those the foreign conversations in our teaching, when you're teaching with children, your classrooms, I think is is really important. But how do we do that? And the different ways we do that, is, is quite a challenge. Because as I said, at the beginning about are we actually trying to teach values through. So Layton talks about three different ways of teaching values. I'm going to come on to this in another podcast, it gives you three different ways, values clarification. And then secondly, the cognitive development approach. And then finally, indoctrination. And it's that last way, indoctrination, which is why I think I'm possibly giving more of a benefit of the doubt to the coalition government that were in power at the time, that they were looking for facts and knowledge, rather than what they saw at that point was political, with a small p value judgments around sustainability. I'm kind of letting them off the hook there. I don't really fully agree with what I've just said. But you know, it's an interesting way to think about it. So I'm going to come back to that one in a future podcast episode where we think about how do we teach values in design and technology. We're going to end by just talking here about what what Mike Martin says, where he talks about that design and technology is riddled with values. Teachers continuously deal with value issues and value judgments. Although they do not often recognise the fact that I don't see that Mike is making a criticism there. I think he's been pragmatic here. As in sometimes these things we kind of forget about. And I think that's why for me, it's been useful to go back to these seven from David Layton. And to read Mike's chapter again, to be reminded about these different ways of thinking about values in design and technology. So I'm going to come back to this, as I've said a couple of times. Now, I'm going to talk a little bit more about how and where we think about values in design and technology and how we can do that in different ways and what the pros and cons of those are. Now, I hope you found that interesting, hearing about these different values. And some of you may be using them mate. Some of you may be using them explicitly. But I think these three different ways of thinking about values and design and technology value of values in and values through are useful ways to help us talk about and think about values in design and technology. Before I go, do you have a lookout in the show notes, I'll put some links to some events. I'm running over the next few weeks that people are welcome to come along to. I've also put links in to some different things to read in relationship to what I've talked about this next this week. And do come back and listen to the guest hosts that I've got coming on and talking in the next few weeks about their different views about design and technology and their different projects and thinking about the subject, as ever, thanks for listening. Please do consider putting a review on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts. It's really great selfishly, to read about them when they're good, obviously. But I am going to start sharing some of those on here and giving sharing what people say about the podcast because it does add value to what I do and it does make a difference. And it does help me shape and think about what I'm talking about each week, whether it's me or as it will be in the next couple of weeks other people. Thanks for listening