DENTON, H.G., 1994. Critical point inputs within on-going design and technology project work. IDATER 1994 Conference, Loughborough University
This paper is intended to explore an idea, developed from existing pedagogy, prior to fieldwork. The idea
is that learning could be more effective within project based Design and Technology lessons if staff, at
critical points, systematically used short ‘inputs‘ to develop and extend subject understanding.
The starting point for the paper was the observation that many experienced teachers do not use the start
and end of practical lessons in the way that student teachers are taught at Loughborough; that is, to link
previous and future learning and to review the lesson. The start and end points of lessons have always
been understood to be ‘critical points‘ in established pedagogy in that recall is highest from these points.
This is analysed in relation to learning theory and it is shown that critical points can be generated at other
points within a lesson. The concept of critical point input is then defined. The importance of the role of
the teacher in managing such inputs is considered. The potential for using critical point inputs is
discussed in relation to both ad hoc and systematic applications in relation to subject knowledge with
particular reference to application in on-going practical project work lessons. Some structural factors
are considered and examples of potential topic and method are shown.