Developing pre-service primary teachers’ understanding of engineering through engineering habits of mind and engagement with engineers

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This paper explores how primary teachers might be prepared through their pre-service training to feel more confident to include engineering in their teaching. Prompted by concerns about young people’s lack of interest in STEM subjects and careers, engineering is gradually gaining visibility in the primary curriculum in several forms, particularly through integrated STEM programmes. However, the status of engineering relative to science, technology and mathematics remains contested in schools and engineering has low visibility in pre-service preparation programmes for primary teachers. Therefore, this case-study investigated how two strategies might give students learning to be primary technology, computing and science teachers greater confidence to introduce the concept of engineering into their teaching. By reframing engineering as engineering habits of mind and by giving students experience of engaging with practising engineers, the study found that it was possible to enhance primary trainee teachers’ understanding of the world of engineering and increase their confidence to introduce engineering habits of mind in lessons with primary children. The paper concludes with some implications for practice of this approach.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Design Education
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2021


  • Engineering education
  • Engineering habits of mind
  • Initial teacher education (ITE)
  • Pre-service teachers

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