Jacqui Aldrich, Secondary Phase Lead, Practical Faculty Lead and Central South Mentor Lead at Harris Initial Teacher Education
"Design is a way of life, a point of view. It involves the whole complex of visual communications: talent, creative ability, manual skill, and technical knowledge. Aesthetics and economics, technology and psychology are intrinsically related to the process." Author: Paul Rand
Design and Technology is an incredibly valuable subject. As a teacher of Design and Technology for 12 years, I have absolutely valued every opportunity I have had to help young people develop their practical skills and celebrate their creativity. I have found that being able to draw upon such a wide range of aspects of the subject – product design, food technology, materials technology, systems and control, electronics, textiles and graphics – helps to ignite students’ imagination both in and outside of the classroom.
It is such a pleasure to be able to help someone to work through all of their technical and creative issues to bring an idea to life. Seeing a student swell with pride after weeks of hard work is priceless and something that I want all new teachers of Design and Technology to experience as early as possible in their career.
Design and Technology prepares students to design and make products to solve genuine, relevant problems within real contexts whilst considering their own and others’ needs. It challenges them to draw upon a broad range of subject specific knowledge and wider subject knowledge such as Maths, Science, Computing and Art. D&T prepares students for a rewarding and exciting career in the creative, technological or design industries, which is incredibly important with the current skills shortages we have in the UK.
I find it intensely fulfilling that, as a teacher of D&T, I am able to teach and learn at the same time, every day – not many careers can offer that opportunity. Working with young people and seeing how they approach live design problems keeps your own ideas fresh, challenges your practice daily and inspires you to think outside the box when you may not be inclined to!
In both my Undergraduate degree and Postgraduate training, I have been able to develop a wide range of practical and pedagogical skills. I have worked in a range of mixed and single gender schools in South London and this too has helped me to develop myself as an effective and motivated D&T teacher and school leader. Now, I value the opportunity to share my experience with people new to teaching; I can’t wait to show them how valuable teaching is and how much you can grow as a person in the role.
If you want to develop your confidence, leadership and self-reflection skills while doing the same for the students you are working with; to build relationships with a wide range of people in school and in their wider community, then teaching is definitely for you. I am incredibly proud of every child I have worked with across my career and I am honored to have the opportunity to welcome so many motivated new people into teaching.