Knowing Where the Shoe Pinches: Using the Mental Model Mode to Understand How Primary Pupils Can Design Intelligently

Edwards-Leis, Christine E (2013) Knowing Where the Shoe Pinches: Using the Mental Model Mode to Understand How Primary Pupils Can Design Intelligently. In: PATT 27, Technology Education for the Future—A Play on Sustainability, 2-6 December 2013, Christchurch, New Zealand.

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This paper uses the English proverb, “Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches” (Scheffler, 1997, p.73) as a metaphor for the often hard to explain difficulties that individual Primary pupils can face when meeting design challenges. Blisters on toes and heels are hidden beneath the firm leather of the shoe just as the obstacles to designing are embedded in internal, idiosyncratic mental models. Mental model theory provides a theoretical exegesis of the individuality that emerges when pupils seek to respond to authentic problems in Design and Technology. But, an explanation of the originality of process and product is insufficient if pupils are either stultified by mundane tasks or stalled by their own inability to complete the design process due to cognitive ‘blisters’. The Mental Model Mode (Mode) (Edwards-Leis, 2012) explains what happens when pupils are encouraged to take off their cognitive shoes when they pinch and how to deal with the blisters that impede progress. The Mode emerged from a longitudinal research project into primary pupils’ mental models of problem solving in robotics (Edwards-Leis, 2010). It comprises six mental model functions and its efficacy to explicate the problem-solving process was validated through tests with pupils. This paper continues its exploration of pupils overcoming challenges in designing through a critical discussion of how the Mode can contribute to centering Fry’s (2009) design intelligence in general education. The Mode delineates a pedagogical approach to Design and Technology that foregrounds metacognition and celebrates the diversity of individuality of thought because it helps to investigate thinking (Freire, 1972). The clarification of a pupil’s nature of thinking enables them to walk freely and be risk-takers; creating unique ways to view, critique and redesign the future can only emerge

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mental Mode Theory; Mental Model Mode; Problem solving
Subjects: 100 Philosophy & psychology > 153 Mental processes & intelligence
300 Social sciences > 372 Primary education
School/Department: School of Education, Theology and Leadership
Depositing User: Catherine O'Sullivan
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2014 10:14
Last Modified: 12 Sep 2014 10:14


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