Why Teach Design?

Teaching design has always been a big loving challenge. It is neither a classic discipline such as Biology, nor a purely art-based subject as Painting. This complexity arises from the rich nature of design which by itself could be a concept, a process, an activity or a methodology. To reach to a sensible conclusion, I would rather to go for Nigel Cross’s definition of design as «a rigorous and cyclical process of inquiry and creativity». That would embrace most aspects of my design pedagogy.

Design teaching means conceptual approaches as well as structural methods. Conceptual approaches focus on freedom and inspiration and by using tools of creativity create the learning environment while keep learners motivated. Structured methods complement the learners’ output and add on design knowledge. Drawing on this simple analogy, I would consider a qualified design teacher a person who presents some essential qualities on a very competitive basis. S/he highlights knowledge across a wide range of disciplines while embraces specific knowledge in a relevant creative discipline. Building a creative environment for inspiration and perspiration along with being more a facilitator than an injector are other major qualities for a design teacher. While s/he puts efforts to create interactive learning instead of full frontal teaching, fully supports Universal Design Learning (UDL) through diversity, multi-culturalism, flexibility, reflection and mindfulness.

Learning objectives, in this regard, would be the knowledge, skills, values and insight the instructor wish students to acquire by the end of the course.  To me, the main function in brief is to enable design graduates to actively play role in real life challenges. A graduate in design should be able to individually and independently handle small-size projects, while in medium to big-size ones knows how to best perform in teams.

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