15 comments
  1. "...teaching is often treated like a product rather than the messy process that it is." Spot on. This sentence alone demands lots of reflection...and should compel us to reconsider our assumptions and approach to teaching.

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  2. Tagging on to what David noted about teaching being treated more like a product rather than a messy process - my students and I gain much more from the teaching-learning process when we let it get messy and then reflect on the process (the mess). The reflection we experience is fantastic. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this discussion, I believe it will benefit my practice and student learning.

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    1. Thanks for being part of the discussion! I think the process and reflection are vital to learning.

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  3. I think you hit on a key element in your last line - there is a huge difference between process and product. The cliche, I think, is that it's the journey, not the destination, that's important.

    What is so frustrating to me about education is that we are focusing on getting all of our students to the (literal) same destination - passing scores or better on standardized tests, same curricula. I wish we were able to let our students simply enjoy the journey to wherever it was they were going, instead of having them all look out the same grimy bus windows on their trip to Podunk.

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    1. Exactly. Somehow common (not a bad thing) becomes standardized and then the individual is lost in the process.

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  4. This: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/design_hell

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    1. That was hilarious and tragically funny.

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    2. I cannot tell you how many times I have been in that situation.

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  5. I'm always struck by how much I love designers as well. Two other things I've learned from designers and reading about design (basically extensions of what you've already mentioned):

    6. Failure. Designers expect failure and use it as feedback. They don't load it to the brim with fragile emotion like we do in education.

    7. The most successful designers/writers/artists know how to do work. They don't approach the creative process as a lottery, or a process of magical discovery. They don't proverbially sit under trees waiting for that apple to fall on the head. They do work.

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    1. To add to #7, they also work under deadlines, a skill that is slowly being set aside in classrooms.

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  6. If you added 6-8, I'm going to add a number 9: Intellectual rigor. It requires hard work, but also deep thought. I'm struck by the fact that the best artists are intuitive, yes, but also logical and analytical.

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  7. The Henry Ford Academy of Manufacturing Arts and Sciences is a charter located in Dearborn, MI, housed at the Henry Ford Institute, with a curriculum based entirely on design principles. Fascinating place. Open admissions, the usual school org problems, amazing teachers, uber-innovative curriculum. And average test scores.

    My kinda charter, you know?

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  8. As much as I live and die with the rigour of design, my courses are often criticized (by my peers in the fine arts) as lacking spontaneity and often considered too functional to be considered as important as fine art. I hate to break this awful news, design is everywhere, yet our understanding of it in the K-12 environment is almost non-existent. Curriculum in itself is a product of design.

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Please leave a comment. I enjoy the conversation.