Making space for design in education

Posted: June 2nd, 2012 | Filed under: General | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

When we hear creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson say that schools kill creativity; we all nod our heads in agreement. The question to ask is how we are working on infusing creativity into mainstream education. Education, especially in K-12 schools influence and shape children’s minds; develop their skill sets for day-to-day life; prepare them for the future; and widen their understanding of diverse aspects of life.

Let us look at a creative domain like design. Design is a process that encompasses creativity, communication, planning and purpose – a result of which is experienced by everyone in some way. Today, mainstream education needs to engage itself with tools like design thinking rather actively to sensitise both children and teachers about design thinking and creativity.


What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a process of identifying a problem, analyzing it and creating an innovative solution to the problem. The solution: a process; a product or a system is the recognised intent / purpose of design. Design thinking does not only solve new problems every day but often creates new solutions everyday for the same problem. Teachers and children have a large stake in the future and when sensitized about design thinking and creativity can be lead to several inspiring moments in their learning environments.

To facilitate the above, we require educators & design professional to come together to build space for design thinking and creativity in the school program. In designing their class; the content; the curriculum and the learning environment, educators and curriculum developers are constantly designing, though only unintentionally. Incorporating design thinking, consciously into their daily activities will enable them to learn from different disciplines, especially through meaningful collaborations with each other, and also empower them to further nurture creativity in children. Children can similarly expand their field of learning through a subject like design.

There can be many challenges in formulating such comprehensive educational models through which children can be educated on the basic concepts of design. For instance, should we take a` more organic approach to teach the concepts of design or should we take a more classical approach, resembling the educational system through which a design student is trained. As design practitioners, we believe that an organic structure founded on awareness and appreciation of the medium can augment the experience than a rigid model of design education of schools.