DS 123: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2023)

Year: 2023
Editor: Buck, Lyndon; Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik
Author: Wang, Xinyu; Loh, Leon; Sera, Keita
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Kyushu University, Graduate School of Design, Japan; Kyushu University, Faculty of Design, Japan; Nara University of Education, Japan
Section: Design and engineering from under-represented perspectives
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2023.23
ISBN: 978-1-912254-19-4


The Japanese national syllabus has put ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) into the latest TE (Technology Education) curriculum guideline. Although many TE teachers are willing to implement ESD, few have done so. One of the reasons is that many do not know how ESD can be implemented in TE. ESD is integrated into TE curricula in some countries through product design-related activities, such as Europe, North America, and Australia. This study refers to such product design-related activities as ESD design activities. ESD design activities require students to find, think and solve the issues related to sustainability through the design thinking process. However, in Japan, TE as a form of general education is mainly conducted in junior high school, focusing on teaching technological knowledge and skills, with almost no elements of design learning activities. The study aims to clarify the challenges TE teachers faced in Japanese public junior high schools when implementing ESD design activities in TE. The study will first clarify the current situation of ESD design activities in TE. Next, the study will identify the barriers TE teachers faced that prevent them from conducting ESD design activities. The current study employed a qualitative research approach, using 4 public junior high schools in Nara as case studies. The reasons are 1) selected schools are typical public junior high schools: 2) teachers who are willing to implement ESD design activities. In this case study, quantitative and qualitative data are collected and used to analyze each case. The main participants of this study are four TE teachers who are teaching in the target schools. Each target school has only one TE teacher. According to the findings, TE teachers are not doing any ESD-related design activities in lessons. The main barriers faced by teachers are 1) limited lesson time: 2) high teaching workload, and 3) low understanding of ESD and the design process. Several suggestions can be proposed in this study to counter the barriers faced by teachers. Firstly, ESD design activities do not need to be implemented as new learning content. ESD can be integrated into existing problem-solving activities by setting the problem tasks to evolve around sustainability issues. Integrating sustainability issues in existing activities may not require additional lesson time and will help to manage teachers’ workload. Secondly, the teachers may also redesign the curriculum to integrate several teaching objectives into a series of sustainability-related design projects. More importantly, teachers need to be trained to have a clear and accurate understanding of ESD and the design process, to facilitate ESD design activities.

Keywords: Design Learning, Design Activities, Education for Sustainable Development, Sustainability, Technology Education


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