[Design and Technology] Crises point for Year 12 PDT teachers and students

Elizabeth Keep ekeep at pgs.vic.edu.au
Wed Aug 19 14:41:13 UTC 2020

Dear Leanne,

I write to you to get some clarity on the situation with the SAT for PDT. I have shared this email to you with other Design Teachers so they can hear directly the responses to the questions being asked of VCAA and ultimately you as our representative for this subject. What has been your input in supporting PDT teachers and representing us to VCAA during the pandemic? Have you consulted any Year 12 teachers to get a grasp of their concerns during this time?

I have been a teacher of PDT for 30 years teaching both textiles and now wood. I am passionate about the subject and get excited by how it brings out the best in my students, but I am flawed by what has developed this week.

The recent notification to schools from VCAA suggesting that students return to school to complete their product has me totally perplexed. Perplexed on many levels as to why this would be in our students best interest for reasons stated here.

 *   The safety of our students and staff from the COVID virus should be front and centre to our teaching. The community of Victoria is in STAGE 4 lockdown so why should this idea of returning to school be even considered, jeopardising the health of so many and defying the reason for lockdown and keeping the virus at bay?
 *   The mental health of our students, staff and parents is at dangerously high levels, so why put unnecessary pressure on us all at a time when we are most vulnerable, with difficult home situations, financial insecurity, family stress, isolation from loved ones and support mechanisms etc?
 *   What is your reasoning behind this decision? I can see no benefit to anyone.
 *   It is not possible for students to make a product in 5 weeks. What will be made in this time is an unfinished product. Is a student going to be satisfied making a few components of the product, not assembled or finished, but an incomplete waste of effort, time and materials? This would be more upsetting for students than the situation at present in the knowledge that their product won’t be made. Would students feel good about a half completed product; proud of their work? I think not! Humiliated, defeated  and deflated is how they will feel. I know my students.
 *   You speak of things being equitable amongst our cohort when we come to mark their work. How is this equitable when across the state, some classes have students with sewing machines and other students are without? How is this equitable, when some students have had their materials ordered and have already begun, when other students haven’t access to their sheet of acrylic or glass and no possibility to now access these materials that they need? How is this equitable when parents of some students don’t allow their children to go to school for fear of catching the virus and yet others do allow their children access? Leanne how are we to assess this inequality amongst our cohort?
 *   Unlike Studio Art, Visual Communication, Music, Media and Theatre studies, PDT students rely on mostly non-transportable and highly dangerous specialised equipment to create the product for the SAT which they haven’t had access to for three weeks. PDT students have not been doing any practical work but rather focussing on the SAC and SAT criteria 4 and 5 (folio)but not criteria 6,7,8 and 9. Criteria 6-9 cannot happen in the time frame you propose. It is not physically possible. Oh sure, teachers can build the products for the students and say it is the student’s work but do you really want that to happen, because it will.
 *   I have a strong issue with safety in the workshop, sanitisation, use of power tools etc, and with kids rushing to get their work done, corners will be cut and accidents will happen.
 *   This is a ridiculous situation to be placed in and the unnecessary stress placed on students, staff and parents is unfair at a time when there is enough stress in our lives. Both the student and teachers time would be better spent focussing on finishing criteria 4 and 5 well and studying and feeling confident for the exam, responding better to the design section and improving students skills at drawing.  All students within the class working equitably, all working safely from home, away from the COVID infection as the rest of Victoria is doing.
 *   It appears from correspondence with other teachers yesterday, that schools are taking the sensible stance not to allow students back this term. So with this in mind can you please explain how students can be assessed equitably against criteria 6-9 when there will not be a product made? Can you please explain which of the indicators to use and which are irrelevant because as you can see by the document below, myself and other colleagues see that none are relevant.
 *   I propose Leanne that you take this information to VCAA and ask them to change the SAT to only include criteria 1-5 to be assessed, as this is the most equitable and fairest way to assess our student cohort. This will need to be done as a matter of urgency so that it can alleviate the anxiety that VCAA’s decision has caused teachers at the forefront of teaching their Year 12 students so we can continue providing the safest and most sensible curriculum solution to teaching this subject during this pandemic. Leanne, how are you going to support us through this dilemma that we currently find ourselves in?
     Thank you,
[cid:image001.png at 01D67688.34B957C0]

[cid:image002.png at 01D67689.575DA3C0]

Elizabeth Keep


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