Practice and impact of the instruments in the “applied arts” curriculum The case of the French high schools
Activities involving Design and Applied Arts (DAA) appear on the curriculum for each cycle from primary to secondary school in France. At primary school (3–11 years) and secondary school (for 12–15 years), these activities are prescribed in the context of two disciplines: at primary, arts education and sciences and technology education; visual arts and technology at secondary. Later (for 15–18 years old) DAA becomes a discipline per se. DAA is taught in a discipline called “Sciences Technology Design Applied Arts” (STD2A). The STD2A curriculum provides multidisciplinary approaches and practice shifts based on design projects involving processes of acquisition of skills. This syllabus does not train design professionals, but educates students about design abilities. This syllabus allows a continuation of study in the DAA in specialised schools and at university (architecture, graphic arts, industrial arts…). This paper proposes to itemise the relationship between design task and design activity within a curriculum of study (the research context) and an activity analysis of the students. Three teaching-learning-design situations have been investigated (different teaching situations and projects of teaching teams) during the summative test in the senior year. The research goal is focused on the instruments the students use to structure their activity and how and why they use them to hone the skills they actually implement in their learning.
Keywords: multidisciplinary learning environment, teaching-learning process, design skill, instrument, activity theory
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