Lots of material not a lot of style

16th January 1998 at 00:00
Skills in Textiles Technology. By Rose Sinclair, Heinemann. Student's Book Pounds 7.25 Teacher's Resource Pack Pounds 14.99

This book promises to motivate students by means of its clearly phrased headings and simple layout. It has plenty of photographs, diagrams and charts, and the resource pack of photocopiable worksheets and notes is well presented with a range of straightforward activities such as fabric profiling with star charts and joining textiles. There is also valuable advice to teachers on differentiation and assessment.

The first excellent double-page spread on the harvesting of fibres for fabrics is presented in a childlike style reminiscent of 1930s railway posters. The magical flavour conjured up here may appeal to younger non-exam students who have had little previous experience of textiles. Unfortunately this lightness of touch stops almost as soon as it starts, and the remainder of the text takes a more sober tone. It covers an exhaustive range of theoretical material, such as new fibres, quality assurance and testing, and offers what amounts to a simplified version of the GCSE syllabuses. In attempting to reduce the content some anomalies arise. For instance, the chapter on costings presents a naive understanding of wholesaleretail relationships, and calculating for mass production would have to be re-learned to take account of notions such as layplanning and bulk purchase.

Eleven to 14-year-olds think and work differently to older students. Many operate on an intuitive level, learning and researching by doing. They are less able to hypothesise about design proposals and more likely to be motivated by teamwork and hands-on activity.

Teachers will find this book useful to support makingactivities and in bringing technological rigour to the subject. Had the content, range and emphasis been more closely tailored to key stage 3 thinking, there may have been a case for making a separate purchase, but if faced with a choice between this and more advanced key stage 4 textbooks with their more detailed subject matter, they may well choose the latter.

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