Policy formulation and enactment: Linked up thinking?

Susan McLaren

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter explores the challenges, issues and potential of Design and Technology Education as an active contributor in transformational change working towards a sustainable future. The focus is on the process of policy formulation, through translation, into practice and implementation in Design and Technology education in schools. Overall, the aim is to examine what is central to change, the key stakeholders, and what might be considered the inhibitors to enactment of policy and practice change. Initially, more general consideration is given to what drives changes in policy and what is required in order to translate policy into practice. For changes in ways of thinking and being to manifest, with meaning and purpose, a more holistic inter-connected systems-approach is required. Transformational change requires a shift in collective mindsets, a state change, and strategic changes that impact on processes and involve cultural change. By its nature, it is ambitious. Transformational change takes some time to enact and will never be a ‘quick fix’. It aims to bring about change that is embedded and deep rooted. Transformational change therefore, requires more than issuing new economic, social, environmental, and educational policies. For transformational change in education, it is not enough to simply alter policy guidelines, or national curriculum guidelines, tinker with curriculum architecture and assessment regimes and offer a few professional development sessions for teachers. The traditional institutional, incremental, evolutionary changes that comprise the more common developmental approaches will not suffice. Design and Technology Education (internationally known by various nomenclature; here D&T will be used) is commonly included in school curricula with a view to developing attitudes, skills and knowledge related to creativity, problem solving, communication, making (in the variety of fields related to design, engineering and technologies). Aims, and arguments, for the purpose and value for D&T in school curricula tend towards developing life skills and lifelong learning and employability skills, dealing with uncertainty and the pace of change encountered over time, and potential creative contribution of thinking and action-orientated individuals to society and economy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironment, Ethics and Cultures
Subtitle of host publicationDesign and Technology Education's Contribution to Sustainable Global Futures
EditorsKay Stables, Steve Keirl
Place of PublicationRotterdam
PublisherSense Publishers
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-6209-938-8
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameInternational Technology Education Series
PublisherSense Publishers


  • design and technology education
  • values
  • issues based learning
  • education for sustainability
  • circular economy
  • policy and practice
  • curriculum development


Dive into the research topics of 'Policy formulation and enactment: Linked up thinking?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Developing values

    McLaren, S., May 2015, Learning to Teach Design and Technology in the Secondary School: A Companion to School Experience. Owen-Jackson, G. (ed.). 3rd ed. Abingdon: Routledge, p. 287-302 16 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

    Open Access
  • Challenge for Design and Technology Education: A changing Paradigm

    McLaren, S., 2010, Education in a Global Space: Research and Practice in Initial Teacher Education. Wisely, T. L. K., Barr, K. M., Britton, A. & King, B. (eds.). Edinburgh: Scotdec, p. 113-125 13 p. (IDEAS for Global Citizenship).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

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