This 2017 report presents the culmination of a series of pilot studies undertaken in primary and secondary schools and further education providers across England to ebbed engineering habits of mind as learning outcomes in the education system.

The study identifies four principles that underpin the kinds of teaching that are most likely to encourage young people to develop a passion for engineering in today’s busy schools and colleges.

  1. Clear understanding of engineering habits of mind by teachers and learners.
  2. The creation of a culture in which these habits flourish.
  3. Selection of the best teaching and learning methods; the ‘signature pedagogy’ of engineering.
  4. An active engagement with learners as young engineers.

Learning to be an Engineer identifies some essential elements of a signature pedagogy for engineering: the engineering design process, ‘tinkering’ (an approach to playful experimentation) and authentic, sustained engagement with engineers.

The research represents the output of a collaboration between the Centre for Real-World Learning (CRL) at the University of Winchester, the Science & Engineering Education Research and Innovation Hub (SEERIH) at the University of Manchester, and Primary Engineer, a not for profit organisation.

The summary and full reports can be found below along with further resources on the four principles and case studies of school interventions to embed engineering habits of mind.

Report: Learning to be an Engineer (4.46 MB)

Summary report: Learning to be an Engineer (5.41 MB)

Four Principles

Case studies