The inter-relationship of procedural and conceptual knowledge in two- and three- dimensional spatial problem solving of technical drawing students

Bolger, William Patrick (2001). The inter-relationship of procedural and conceptual knowledge in two- and three- dimensional spatial problem solving of technical drawing students. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f9a2

Abstract

Technical Drawing has been a post-primary subject for. almost one hundred years in Ireland. During the first ninety years T. D. was taught as a vocational subject and had strong associations with the other practical (technological) subjects on the curriculum, most notably Woodwork and Metalwork. The emphases in drawing during this period were on the skills associated with draughtmanship and the interpretation (reading) of drawings. The doing (drawing) was emphasised over the thinking.

In 1990 a new rationale for drawing was introduced as part of the major organisational changes which saw the Day Group and Intermediate Certificate programmes replaced by the Junior Certificate programme, for all post-primary schools. The new syllabus document and teacher guidelines for Technical Graphics (formerly Mechanical Drawing) outlined a rationale for drawing based on the notion of 'Graphicacy'. This perspective of drawing gave prominence to the formation, categorisation and manipulation of mental images formed as the result of perception and effectively relegated the making and interpretation of drawings to a subordinate role to mental activity. Thus, the thinking was given prominence over the drawing which was described in terms of its communicative function.

After many years as a Technical Drawing teacher, operating within the graphicacy system, I began to question the ability of the philosophy to adequately describe and explain some of the inconsistencies I was encountering daily in the classroom. This was especially true of the supposed hierarchical structure of Spatial Ability which was viewed as the chief component of graphicacy.

I wondered why it was necessary to separate drawing from thinking in the way it had been done previously. I began to investigate possible alternative rationales in the literature that could assimilate acting and thinking into one theory of drawing. The study. reported in this dissertation is an effort to take this one step further through empirical research in a T. D. classroom.

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