A Passion for Designing

Stephanie Atkinson
Faculty of Education and Society, University of Sunderland, UK

Angela Sandwith
Faculty of Education and Society, University of Sunderland, UK

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

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 73:4, s. 39-46

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Publicerad: 2012-06-18

ISBN: 978-91-7519-849-1

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


“Passion is the energy that comes from bringing more of you into what you do” (Rosengren; 2004)

In the school based subject of design and technology (D&T) a fundamental element is designing and making functional products using critical and creative thinking whilst developing skills in the use of a variety of processes and materials. The links between creativity; intrinsic motivation and passion have been well researched (e.g. Amabile; 1997; Leonard and Swap; 1999; Polanyi 1966). Goleman et al (1992) speak of creativity and intrinsic motivation as the urge to do something for the sheer pleasure of doing it rather than for a prize; and refer to passion’s importance in the mix as “ …the element that really cooks the creative stew is passion” (p.30).

Teachers of the subject need to be more then just ’enthusiastic’ about the process if they are to develop enthusiasm in their pupils that will sustain them through the exciting but sometimes arduous and difficult process required to achieve outcomes of which they and their teachers can be proud. The polemic work of Polayni (1958) and that of the psychologist Frijda (2000); closely link joy with intellectual passion; supporting the assertion that positive passions affirm that something is precious and that passion can be used as a determinant of what is of higher interest and great.

The intention of this research project; using an initial sample of forty-nine students and a non-probability purposive sample of ten students studying to become D&T teachers was to tease out the factors which appear to enable some students to be passionate about creating a product to a given brief; described by Csikszentmihalyi (1990; p.4) as “the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost; for the sheer sake of doing it” whilst others from similar backgrounds and expectations; given the same brief; and in the same learning situation; do not reach this level of enthusiasm.

The data collection method used was an attitude scale and semi-structured interviews which were qualitatively analysed using HyperReasearch software in order to identify factors involved; with the intention of informing and improving the way we teach our students; to design; and about design; with the additional aim of improving their teaching of that activity once they become D&T teachers. Within the full paper results are discussed and tentative conclusions drawn.


Designing; Passion; Design and Technology; D&T Teacher Training


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