Teacher perceptions of critical thinking skills within primary school design and technology


  • Richard Brown University of Cambridge


Design and Technology, critical thinking, teacher perceptions, Primary/Elementary education


Critical thinking skills and creativity have been lauded by many as key attributes sought from prospective employees for the future workplace in an ever changing world.  Furthermore, a review of existing literature suggested the prevalence of critical thinking skills within design and technology (D&T) tasks.  This study aimed to garner the perceptions of primary school teachers in the UK and establish, from a practitioner’s viewpoint, whether critical thinking skills were evident within their classrooms during D&T sessions.  The interviews followed a phenomenological approach and identified commonalities and differences between the teachers’ viewpoints as they described the phenomena they had experienced. The eight interviewees were from different schools in different areas of the UK and ranged from experienced teachers to early career teachers. Teachers were asked about their experiences of teaching D&T before completing a hierarchal ordering exercise of skills they perceived were gained from D&T activities in primary schools.  The data produced experiences, thoughts and opinions about teaching design and technology in primary schools and teacher perceptions of the role of critical thinking within them.  Analysis of the interview transcripts identified critical thinking throughout the responses and categorised three main themes around the teaching of design and technology in primary schools: approaches, attitudes and outcomes. This study suggests that, for primary teachers to develop their pupils’ critical thinking skills within design and technology, and thus develop technological literacy, there are issues that need addressing at both leadership and classroom levels such as training, resourcing and leadership priorities.  Nevertheless, teachers interviewed in this small scale study confidently believed that primary school pupils benefit from promoting critical thinking within D&T activities.   




How to Cite

BROWN, R. Teacher perceptions of critical thinking skills within primary school design and technology. Design and Technology Education: An International Journal, [S. l.], v. 28, n. 2, p. 22–37, 2023. Disponível em: https://openjournals.ljmu.ac.uk/DATE/article/view/1183. Acesso em: 18 apr. 2024.