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Case study: teaching design and technology

Kimberley Whitfield, D&T teacher

Kimberley Whitfield, D&T teacher

Kimberley trained to be an architect, but before entering the industry she had a change of heart – she believed she would make more of an impact teaching the next generation of designers, rather than being one herself. Although her background is in architecture, she always loved design and technology at school, and believes the key to teaching the subject is to be able to convey what good design is.

Highlighting a real lack of home-grown engineers and designers – with companies outsourcing work to other countries – Kimberley understands what an important job she has in galvanising interest for design and technology within her students. “Delivering really great lessons can spark an interest or ambition in any child. And it’s those students who really embrace the subject that might go on to form the technology of the future and the world around us. That’s why I think it’s such an amazing subject.”

With technology ever changing, Kimberley knows she has a challenge in trying to keep students’ computer skills in line with industry expectations. She also notes the shift in gender bias, with more girls being inspired by the subject and wanting to pursue careers in engineering. “Design and technology will prepare students for the sorts of roles they might be doing in the industry, and helps to show them what the subject can lead to.”

As well as wanting to share her enthusiasm for design and technology, Kimberley wants to give all her students the opportunity to reach their full potential – whatever that may be. “I think secondary school students get a lot of bad press – people think they’re a tough bunch to teach. But they’re so full of creativity and ideas, and just need the opportunity to express themselves. There are some brilliant kids I’ve taught, and all they needed was the opportunity to reach their potential – and they really do have so much to give.”

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