The intention of teaching for mastery is to give all pupils access to equitable classrooms; where pupils can participate, and be influential and where pupils are encouraged and supported to develop learning that is both practical and creative.
At Stokenham Area Primary School, we believe that Design Technology is essential to a rich and balanced education that develops the whole child. The study of Design Technology gives children an insight into how the world is being shaped around them for the evolving needs of people and communities from past to present. In a rapidly changing age of technology, it is essential that children are equipped with the knowledge and technical skills to creatively solve real life problems, so that they have the ability to make their own impact on the world around them.
A discursive approach
We are passionate that children should be encouraged to be active and equitable participants in Design Technology lessons. Our intention is for pupils to feel valued as part of our Design Technology community. Pupils feel comfortable to share their thinking and take part even when they feel unsure. Children are encouraged to question one another; agree and disagree by justifying their decisions and work together collaboratively.
An iterative process
An iterative process is the relationship between a pupil’s ideas and how they are communicated and clarified through activity. Our aim in Design Technology is for all children to experience an iterative design and make process. Each thought is linked to an action, for example: Thought - What fabric should I use? Action - Discuss and explore different fabrics suitable for purpose.
Projects on a Page
At Stokenham Area Primary School, we follow the Design and Technology Association’s Projects on a Page scheme of work. The scheme allows for teacher creativity and pupil voice. Technical knowledge and understanding is deeply embedded within the designing, making and evaluating process. Skills are progressive.
Design, Make, Evaluate
Pupils are encouraged to understand the context, user and purpose of the product they are making and to generate their own ideas, though developing, modeling and communicating their ideas. The Design, Make, Evaluate model permeates through all Design Technology that takes place at Stokenham Area Primary School.
Included in the design process is the concept of sustainability. Pupils are encouraged to think of sustainability when selecting the materials they will use; for example up-cycling old fabric rather than buying new.
Depth of learning
We have ensured that teachers are aware of and cater for the need for depth of learning in Design Technology. Lessons build on a progression of skills and teachers make links across topics and are continuing to develop variation in their teaching to maximize clarity and depth of learning. We maintain on-going formative assessment that recognizes depth and breadth of understanding.
“Good quality teaching takes into account all children in the class and plans small enough steps for the vast majority of children to achieve success with scaffolding and support, and for others to be challenged in the same concept to a greater depth of reasoning.” (EEF)
At Stokenham Area Primary School we follow ‘Projects on a Page’ in order to deliver our Design Technology curriculum. The areas of learning are outlined on our Curriculum Map. We follow a two year rolling programme to ensure equal opportunities for all of our children.
Design Technology is taught through practical means and is in line with the National Curriculum. We aim to plan inspiring and enriching learning for pupils specifically for a purpose by:
- Designing purposeful, functional, appealing products for themselves and other users based on design criteria;
- Selecting from and using a wide range of materials and components;
- Exploring and evaluating a range of existing products;
- Building structures, exploring how they can be made stronger, stiffer and more stable.
All pupils will be working on the same focus with different support provided to enable all pupils to access Design Technology independently. Teaching is responsible and adaptable, with clear progression in steps between lessons that is driven by the children’s learning.
A coherent sequence: Reflection, re-cap and worked examples
As a school, we have developed our understanding and use of a variety of pedagogical approaches that focus on how children learn. We believe that these approaches enhance and develop our mastery approach. We are using the 10 principles of Instruction (Rosenshine) to underpin our planning; specifically carefully planning opportunities for retrieval through the use of carefully scaffolded questioning. We understand that with retrieval practice, regularly visiting areas already learnt before, this helps to connect new ideas to ones already known.
Small step learning and mastery pedagogy
Pedagogy at Stokenham Area Primary school focuses on breaking down learning into small steps and utilising teaching for mastery techniques such as: Carefully chosen examples and representations to draw out the structure and essence of the concept (conceptual variation), discussion in the form of mix ability pairs, talk partners and whole class discussion and mini plenaries – small steps providing sufficient scaffold for all pupils to access. Current research on retrieval practice and cognitive load theory are at the forefront of our planning process in these areas.
Questioning and AFL
Teachers will use questioning throughout Design Technology lessons to elicit children’s understanding and promote and challenge children to deepen understanding of concepts. Questions should be precise and develop technical and creative thinking as well as develop the use of subject – specific vocabulary. Teachers will build opportunity for AFL into lessons and will use regular opportunities for discussion and use strategies to check and deepen a pupil’s understanding. Teachers will allow for AFL in a variety of ways. They will use written work, sketches and completed products, as well as a whole range of other techniques and resources.
Modelling, Discussion and Dialogue
Talk in Design Technology is encouraged in all lessons. As teachers we encourage children to: Articulate their thinking, take responsibility for asking questions of others to clarify understanding, agree and disagree, justifying their thinking and responding in full sentences with the intention that everyone understands them.
Pupils behaving as design technologists
Pupils are given opportunities to study the work of significant design technologists throughout history and to investigate and evaluate the work of these figures. Pupils are encouraged to make decisions both independently and collaboratively. A ‘have a go’ ethos underpins our Design Technology sessions, encouraging children to have a go even when unsure and embracing the purposeful struggle.
Challenges for Depth of Learning
Challenge focuses on breadth and depth of understanding and expects the children to apply their knowledge in challenging scenarios. Greater depth tasks are carefully planned for every lesson and evidence of high attaining pupils being challenged will be highlighted in books.
Responsive Teaching and Feedback
In Design Technology all work is expected to be marked and next steps given, to which pupils are expected to respond. Where necessary teachers will intervene immediately to enable pupils to make progress in their learning. Any intervention/response from the teacher will be annotated in the child’s book and will consolidate the pupil’s thinking or encourage them to make progress.
Collaborative and Reflective CPD
We are fortunate at Stokenham Area Primary School to be part of The South Hams Federation of schools. This gives us an opportunity to reflect and collaborate on all curriculum drivers as well as keeping up to date with current CPD.
The most effective way to find out what pupils know about their Design Technology is to talk to them. Pupils really understand a design technology concept, idea or technique if they can:
- Identify who their product will be for;
- State what their product is for;
- Know that their product should work in some way;
- Make their own design decisions;
- Respond creatively and imaginatively to design briefs and problems;
- Carry out projects that are real and meaningful to them and others.
Through conversations with pupils we are also able to understand how they learn, if they are able to connect prior learning to the learning they are undertaking as well as investigating whether they understand why they are learning the key concepts and whether they know how they can be used in their future learning.
Effective monitoring and evaluation as well as informed and adaptable planning ensure progress is evident in all books for all learners. Progress can be seen over a whole unit, termly and over the course of the academic year. Timely ‘book looks’, cross federation moderation and learning walks review progress in relation to the progression of skills for each year group and guarantee consistency and high expectations are maintained.
The learning environment seeks to challenge, inspire and aid all learners at Stokenham Area Primary School. The working walls in each class showcase the curriculum being taught and the planned sequence of learning for the unit. The work on display celebrates the achievements of the learners and the progress they are making.
Recording in Books
The purpose of children recording in books is to allow teachers to measure whether pupils have understood the concept being taught and the level of depth to which they have understood it as well as allowing our children to deepen their understanding of the content by working individually, independently and at greater depth. Our books show a child’s journey through their learning.
Planning follows the Curriculum Map and is in line with the National Curriculum Programme of Study for each year group. Coverage as well as depth of learning are key drivers for planning. All planning is adaptable and reviewed in line with the weekly Assessment for Learning (AfL). Annotations and AfL monitor the progress for all learners in relation to the learning objectives.