I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Dr Alison Hardy for an episode on her Talking D&T podcast, scheduled for release next week [episode 44, released 08/09/2020]. We talked about a concept called signature pedagogies, which is the subject of a literature review that I submitted for peer review in an international journal. Here are some thoughts on the key ideas of signature pedagogies.
Signature pedagogies are “characteristic forms of teaching and learning” (Shulman, 2015s, p.52). The concept was developed by Lee Shulman from studies of professional learning in higher education, and has been developed in STEM and humanities disciplines; as well as for some school subjects.
It provides a framework for dialogue between educators about the common and pervasive pedagogies approaches that are used across a sector. The framework doesn’t assume that signature pedagogies are the most effective or appropriate, recognising that technology and society change over time; as do our knowledge and understanding.
Signature pedagogies are concerned with learning to think, learning to perform and learning to act with integrity – sometimes referred to as dispositions of head (thinking), hand (performing) and heart (acting with integrity). The framework has three layers, or structures: surface, deep, implicit.
|Surface Structure||“…concrete, operational acts of teaching and learning, of showing and demonstrating, of questioning and answering, of interacting and withholding, of approaching and withdrawing…”|
|Deep Structure||“…, a set of assumptions about how best to impart a certain body of
knowledge and know-how…”
|Implicit Structure||“a moral dimension that comprises a set of beliefs about professional attitudes, values, and dispositions…”|
You can watch a presentation of my recent literature review (submitted to a journal for peer review) on signature pedagogy at https://youtu.be/_Oq5pdkx4H4
I identify four themes from the literature:
- Knowledge in action
- Uncertainty in learning
- The location of signature pedagogies
- The challenges for signature pedagogy
If you want to read more about signature pedagogy, two of Shulman’s papers are referenced below.
I have been thinking about signature pedagogies since originally posting this blog and have been working on a speculative framework that incorporates the concept of an expansive-restrictive continuum; which I introducted in my first paper on the ‘demonstration’ in D&T (McLain, 2017). Click here to view a Miro Board which I used with my student teachers last month.
McLain, M. (2017). Emerging perspectives on the demonstration as a signature pedagogy in design and technology. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 28(4), pp.985-1000. DOI: 10.1007/s10798-017-9425-0
Shulman, L. (2005a). Signature pedagogies in the professions. Daedalus, 134(3), pp.52–59. DOI: 10.1162/0011526054622015. Available at https://www.jstor.org/stable/20027998?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents [accessed 27/08/2020]
Shulman, L. S. (2005b). Pedagogies of uncertainty. Liberal Education, 91(2), pp.18–25. Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/pedagogies-uncertainty [accessed 27/08/2020]
My recent publications on D&T education, curriculum and pedagogy include…
McLain, M. (2021). Key pedagogies in design and technology. In A. Hardy (ed), Learning to teach design and technology in the secondary school: a companion to school experience (4th Edition). Abingdon, UK: Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-36-733681-3
McLain, M. (2019). Developing perspectives on ‘the demonstration’ as a signature pedagogy in design and technology. International Journal of Technology and Design Education. DOI: 10.1007/s10798-019-09545-1
McLain, M., Bell, D., Wooff, D. and Morrison-Love, D. (2019). How technology makes us human: cultural and historical roots for design and technology education. The Curriculum Journal, 30(4), pp.464-483. DOI: 10.1080/09585176.2019.1649163
McLain, M. (2019). Helping new D&T teachers to analyse and develop knowledge and understanding in design and technology (product design). In S. Lawson and S. Wood-Griffiths (eds). Mentoring beginning design and technology teachers: a practical guide. London: Routledge. ISBN: 978-1-13-854110-8