The web-site is now in readonly mode. Login and registration are disabled. (28 June 2019)

Janette Mclean's Design Narrative: Fear of the unknown buffer machine tool.

Cloud created by:

Janette Mclean
24 April 2018

Title: Fear of the unknown: The buffer machine tool


Narrator: Trainee Teacher


Situation: Workshop area of the Design and Technology Department


 A learning experience, during teacher training, in an inner city high school.

The key players were thirty pupils and I the teacher. This was lesson eight after a number of processes to shape and form the thermoplastic material into a finished polished product.




 A year eight design and make project, a key-ring fob.

Practical -Finishing process of the acrylic key fob design and make project. This activity was an instructional use of the buffer machine to polish up the key ring fob.      The measurement of success was that all 30 pupils used the buffer machine to apply the finishing process to their design and make key ring fob. Success was measured by how well the key ring fob met the specifications of the original product design.





Whole Class Brief on the Whiteboard of the activities for that session

Pupils collect their key-ring to start the finishing process.

Teacher demonstrates how to use the Buffer and the health and safety rules for using the machine.

Pupils form an orderly queue to use the buffer to polish up their key ring fob.

Most pupils use the buffer confidently and are satisfied with the aesthetics of the key ring.

Problem the last female pupil refuses to use the machine and says she is scared.

Teacher observed all the pupils use of the machine for health and safety reasons,

demonstrates to the pupil how to use the buffer safely.

Pupil then proceeds to use the buffer confidently without fear after the one to one demonstration of how to safely use the buffer machine. The fact is she became so confident she did not want to stop using the machine.   





A Year 8 class successfully complete the design and make key ring fob project.

The objectives were to produce and work with thermoplastics to increase the knowledge and understanding of this material.

The pupils were taught how to use their making skills to use a range of processes to shape and form the thermoplastic, including forming by wastage, attachment, adhesion and attachment.

The objectives of the lessons were met with all the pupils using the finishing techniques to enhance the aesthetics of the key ring fob.

The additional engendered outcome was to coax and support a pupil to overcome her fear of using the buffer machine. The result was the pupil became confident and skilful in the use of the machine.  




On reflection the experience taught me that patience and a professional attitude that is properly implemented will facilitate the needs of the learners in a workshop context. The transferable insights that I gained from this experience is that there is an element of risk involved in the workshop area, which means the specialist health and safety training in the workshop context was invaluable.  This workshop experience gave me the confidence to achieve my aspirations to become a DT teacher and to encourage my pupils to achieve the standards which the Key stage 3/4 programme of study stipulates.    

Extra content

Embedded Content


Contribute to the discussion

Please log in to post a comment. Register here if you haven't signed up yet.