Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Design's not just about the children!...part 1

I just had my work review this afternoon. Pretty much okay I guess, the usual dose of things to do and targets to achieve..that kind of thing. It was pretty much alright. But one thing that really gets me thinking is not so much about the work review, but more on the things that my bosses have to put with from parents during our discussions.

One feedback that I got was on the feedback by parents of next year's Sec 3 students, who specifically wanted their child to move out from classes that offers design and technology, into the sciences and mathematics-based offered classes. Now, I'm not really against the Sciences and Mathematics, since I am a Pure Science student myself...but what worries me is the fact that these parents are not informed, or rather have very little information on what design and technology can offer...the kind of value-addedness that taking the subject can give to their child! Now i don't think the parents are to be blamed here, simply because they would not have taken that initiative to really know what the subjects can offer. Now this is where my worry begins, because if these parents were to base their 'IDEA' of a design and technology subject area based on what they have gone through ages ago, then they can't be blamed if they want their child to choose otherwise.

Now let me put things in perspective for those of you who don't understand this. In the 80's, well those are the times that I was doing my high school education anyway :) and the years before that, the Technical Education stream was only offered to the less-academically inclined Upper Sec classes. And in those days, workshop sessions was conducted in a very regimented manner, meaning "I show you how to cut or saw this...and you jolly well do it this way and nothing else!" Those were the times where Technical Education was seen to be more of a craftsmanship thing, and very, very 'hardcore' technical skills involvement, rather than the fluidity of creative design that I am trying to move towards! Workshop sessions were silo'ed into woodwork and metalwork, and not much deviation from the 'standard model answer/model' was allowed! And lessons were definitely very uninspiring, taught by some unsinpiring teachers as well! (Well I do make an effort to be inspiring, well I hope I am! ;)

So this is where the title of my post comes in! Looking back, my passion for design education now seems to be something that goes beyond the classroom even! Wow, come to think of it, it is something like championing a cause to create this awareness of what design education can offer. I mean the very fact that it is now known as Design and Technology will, hopefully make parents aware that this is something that is beyond just working in the workshop. I think I must also be mindful of this element of 'Design'...somehow it is still a 'dirty' word of sorts, projecting in the minds of those not in the know, of flamboyant-looking individuals coming out with things or items that people wouldn't buy. And the 'Technology' component...where the hell is it! And now this is also something that at times, I do have a beef with. Because if teachers teaching this subject are are not using, or are at least using Technology, if not at the forefront of it, then how do you suppose to be teaching about it then?


No comments: