3: Developing skills for citizenship through design and technology
The current National Curriculum is concerned, to a greater extent than its predecessors, with the development of cross-curricular, transferable skills in children. For example, it lists thinking skills to be addressed across the curriculum, which are described as enabling children to 'learn how to learn':
• Information-processing skills
• Reasoning skills
• Enquiry skills • Creative thinking skills • Evaluation skills
This list reads almost like an outline of processes children go through during a DMA: researching the brief; evaluating existing products and their own
work; generating creative ideas etc. In design and technology literature these are usually referred to as process skills, implying that this term can be applied to activities that are more complex and abstract than, say, using a particular tool correctly. Thinking skills in the National Curriculum, as well as closely mirroring those involved in designing and making, are also prerequisites for citizenship. For example, the ability to process information from official sources (the media, the government etc.), evaluate it and come to an opinion is a useful set of skills for anyone intending to vote, lobby or take action on a particular issue. We shall exemplify each briefly below.