A Small Thing About Design Class

by Merna Yousef (MYP Design Teacher)

Whenever someone asks me about what I teach, and I reply, ‘I teach kids Design’, the first things that come to their mind, seems to be, ‘fashion’ and ‘interior design’. That is when I say, it’s more digital and product design. The fact is that the Design lessons are about more than just making a project that might be used for a school event or simply for grades. The lessons are also about the statement that the learner is letting us know about themselves through the design they made. Design as a subject has a cycle embedded within it; inquiring and analyzing, developing ideas, creating the solution and evaluating. The learner throughout this cycle is learning how to:

  1. Identify a need for a design
  2. plan
  3. manage their time
  4. brainstorm and sketch out their ideas
  5. work collaboratively
  6. make an actual product that they stand by
  7. try to be open-minded about the opinions of others about their own product
  8. look with a constructively critical eye at the products of their classmates

Going back to the idea of “design as fashion”, learners made their own fashion show using recyclable materials and named it “ trashion show” in which they showed their creative ideas around a very topical and important matter which is “recycling”. 

The main Design statement of this project revolves around “if I can make something decent from recycled materials, then I’m doing it right”

Tangible evidence of learning: our products are mostly physical products, and therefore represent tangible evidence of learning – products that directly emerge from the learning done. However, so far (apart from items sold for charity) we have not given our products to someone to try yet.  Even some of the films we made, that were supposed to be shown to other learners, have not yet been shown. This year, we hope to take things further and make products for an audience or that have a real use.

For the International Women’s Club (IWCB) Bazaar, our learners spent extra time in the Design room making sculptures out of old mason jars and clay. They were sold in the IWC bazaar and people loved them and bought them. 

Design teachers and their learners that are always eager to help when it comes to these events – and happy learners mean productive learners.  Finally, Design classes are always asked to help in organizing events by the PTA and other teachers. Those learners are like the superheroes of EISB.

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