Understanding the head of department role: leading Design and Technology
Keywords:design & technology, school curriculum, subject leader, cultural historical activity theory, subject department
In the secondary school curriculum, in England, Design and Technology is to some extent regarded as less beneficial and it is becoming more unpopular with pupils. Therefore, Design and Technology heads of departments find themselves leading a curriculum subject that is in an uncertain situation. The purpose of this study is to consider the perceptions of Design and Technology heads of departments about their practice in monitoring teaching and learning in their departments. This study uses cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) (Engeström, 2001) as a lens to view interview data from six case studies. CHAT is often employed in analyses of activities in workplaces, for example, to uncover how people use both material and conceptual tools and what aspects of tasks they prioritise (Edwards, 2011). Data were collected through field visits that included observations and interviews. The analysis of data reveals how tools were appropriated differently or similarly in Design and Technology department leadership activity systems. The findings identify tools which mediate the work of Design and Technology heads of departments in secondary school. How the heads of departments perceive these tools is analysed to suggest the object of the Design and Technology department leadership activity system. This paper proposes that the contextual settings of subject departments influence department head leadership in forming their own conceptions about their practice.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Paul Kinyanjui Mburu
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