Open Conference Systems, 11th DATTArc-ICTE-TENZ-ITEEA 2022

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A framework for thinking and talking about signature pedagogies in design and technology
Matt McLain

Building: BUILDING C
Room: Breakout Room C615 ♥︎
Date: 2022-12-10 10:40 AM – 11:15 AM
Last modified: 2022-11-22


Drawing on Shulman’s research on signature pedagogies in the professions, this essay proposes a discursive framework for design and technology (D&T) education. Shulman described signature pedagogies as being concerned with learning to think, perform and act with integrity; developing dispositions of head, hand and heart. Literature identifies two features of signature pedagogies, the roles of knowledge in action and uncertainty in learning; as well as discussing the important role of the teachers and learning environments. Shulman’s signature pedagogy framework is comprised of three structures - surface, deep and implicit. The surface structure includes the concrete pedagogical actions, teaching methods such as demonstration and learning activities involving ideating, realising and critiquing. The deep structures include the assumptions about the best way to teach specific conceptual and procedural knowledge. This essay proposes that the D&T Project is at the heart of the subject’s deep structure, but may require some rehabilitation for the twenty first century learner. Below the deep structure lies the implicit structure, comprised of beliefs about the attitudes, values and dispositions promoted by a subject. The primary aim of this essay is to present a tool for D&T Educators to identify, discuss and adapt their practice.


Design and technology; discursive framework; project; Shulman; signature pedagogy.

Open access for this conference will begin on 2023-12-12.