Design Mentoring and Designerly Attitudes

Tony Lawler
Goldsmiths London University, UK

Alix McTaminey
King Alfred School, UK

Stephen de Brett
King Alfred School, UK

Annabel Lord

Ladda ner artikel

Ingår i: PATT 26 Conference; Technology Education in the 21st Century; Stockholm; Sweden; 26-30 June; 2012

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 73:31, s. 262-273

Visa mer +

Publicerad: 2012-06-18

ISBN: 978-91-7519-849-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


This paper explores the activity of mentoring design and make projects; with the intention of giving mentoring practitioners guidance and confidence in the activity; whilst developing designerly attitudes in their pupils. We as a team were frustrated by how little of this was observed in English secondary Design and Technology lessons; yet were aware that in many cases the teachers had on graduation been accomplished designers. It seems that the prevalent school assessment culture and inexperience of teaching the activity of designing was lowering the priority of ’designing’ within Design and technology lessons. We set out to find out what University Design tutors did in mentoring and through this to establish a framework that we could use in schools with school pupils and their teachers. Our work was observed and aided by a psychotherapist and counselor who helped us to recognise some of the conscious and unconscious dynamics which exist between teachers and pupils in this setting and which can impede or act as a stimulus to the pupils creative output.

From analysis of a series of interviews we proposed that design mentors seem to have 3 roles

  • To act as teachers and managers of the activity
  • To act as mentors to the pupils; in getting them to define and manage their own learning and progress through the projectwork.
  • To act as an assessor in judging the kind and level of activity that the pupil is capable of.

We recorded and observed 12 pupil and teacher mentoring sessions using digital pens and voice recordings. The teachers then used these records to reflect on what they had said and done with the pupils and using the criteria; commented on the roles they were adopting.

The outcomes of this were that the teachers and observers gained a clearer insight into the roles of the project work tutor; and felt that their confidence in their own ability; which had previously been intuitive; was aided by having a structure on which to base their reflections.

This was a very preliminary study; aimed at validating the 3 roles. Having done so; the team believes that through pupils being better engaged in design and making pupil autonomy will be better developed.

The next stage will be to use this structure and approach in a wider range of schools; pupils; and educational contexts.


Mentoring project-work; Designerly attitudes; Countertransference


Bronowski J. (first published 1973) The Ascent of Man. British Broadcasting Corporation. Penguin Classics Edition 2002 page 20

Bateman Brown & Pedder (2010) Introduction to Psychotherapy. Google Books

Black and Wiliam (1998) Inside the Black Box. Kings College London School of Education.

Cross.N; Christiaans.H; Dorst. K;eds. (1996) Analysing Design Activity. Wiley. London Heimann; Paula. (1950). On countertransference. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis; 31; 81-84.

Jones J.C.(1970) Design Methods - seeds of human futures. 2nd edition 1981 John Wiley and Sons.

Kimbell.R.A; Stables.K; Wheeler. A.D; Wosniak.A.V; Kelly A.V;(1991) The Assessment of Performance in Design and Technology report. HMSO.

Parsons.R.D and Brown.K.S; (2002) Teacher as reflective practitioner and action researcher. Wadsworth/Thomson Learning

Schon D.A. (1983)The reflective practitioner- How Professionals Think in Action. Basic Books Inc. USA

Schon D.A. (1987) Educating the reflective practitioner- towards a new design for teaching and learning in the professions. Josey Bass. California

Simon;H.A. (1992) The Sciences of the Artificial; MIT Press Cambridge MA.

Citeringar i Crossref