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Title: Learning from BPRS – improving boys attitudes to writing through design and technology
Authors: Spendlove, David
Stone, Liz
Keywords: Literary
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: © DATA
Citation: SPENDLOVE, D. and STONE, L., 2002. Learning from BPRS – improving boys’ attitudes to writing through design and technology. Design & Technology Association International Research Conference, 12-14 April, pp.161-170.
Abstract: This small-scale school-based action research project funded through the Best Practice Research Scholarship (BPRS) (DfES) considers how boys’ attitudes towards writing can be improved by contextualising activities through design and technology. This study was born of a teacher’s wish (as a primary school’s English co-ordinator) to investigate further a ‘gender issue’ which had come to light during analysis of a whole school writing assessment and an overall wish to raise standards in writing by increasing enjoyment of writing. Although warned to use the word ‘underachiever’ with care, ‘particularly when we use it to define boys’ academic abilities’ (Spendlove, 2001), there can be no doubt that nationally, boys’ levels of achievements in writing are lower than that of girls: ‘boys are still doing less well than girls at both key stages’ (The National Literacy Strategy – 3rd year HMI Evaluation) (HMI, 2001) This research attempts to combine existing teaching resources in a primary school and, although writing, reading and speaking and listening skills will be developed during the unit, the focus is on improving attitudes to writing by changing the writing context (thus in the long term raising standards in writing levels). This research began as a case study and attempted to examine pupils’ attitudes to school, writing and other curriculum subjects. The analysis of the results of the initial questionnaire (135 Key Stage 2 pupils) showed (among other things), that around 50% of both boys and girls didn’t think they were ‘good at’ writing and 48.4% of boys and 33.8% of girls didn’t enjoy writing activities. However, the results also showed that 88.3% of boys and 97% of girls enjoyed ‘designing and making things’. This knowledge led to a piece of action research where a unit of work was taught, (based on the National Curriculum and recommendations by QCA, DATA and DfES and incorporating existing teaching resources), combining literacy and design and technology objectives, in order to examine the possibilities of changing boys attitudes to writing by changing the writing context. The project entailed composing, designing and making a pop-up book based upon an imaginative story or poem, and then a verbal and written explanation of the processes involved. Each session incorporates structured activities, which meet objectives for both literacy and design and technology as appropriate. Questionnaires, observations and semi-structured interviews were used to gather information. The effectiveness of the Best Practice Research Scholarship in encouraging reflective practice will also be considered.
Description: This is a conference paper
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/3178
Appears in Collections:D&T Association Conference Series

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