By Swati Saini
When we refer to ‘DESIGN THINKING’, what comes to our mind first? Leading companies in the world such as Apple and Google, are banking on it for innovative solutions, people are writing books on it, and everyone is talking about it.
What does it have to do with the children?
Traditionally our children have been taught to ‘learn for the test’ and rewarded for the right answers. But the future is not about knowing the right answer. We already have Google, and now CHAT GPT for that. CHAT GPT goes even beyond giving specific and fact-based answers.
The future will reward creators, innovators, and problem solvers who can adapt and pivot when necessary to flourish in a rapidly changing world. ‘Design thinking’ is that tool that can help create those Innovators.
As a teacher of a PBL school, design thinking is imbibed in our continuous innovation process. Design thinking reminds me all the time why I became an educator, and it all starts with empathy.
The best educators take the power of design thinking and moved to bring it into their practice. In some of the best schools in Gurgaon, design thinking is an excellent tool for educators to deploy in their classrooms. It is a useful process for kids working through interdisciplinary challenges. Interdisciplinary learning is a concept based on the fact that every child learns differently, and thus a well-rounded curriculum that incorporates multiple disciplines and learning styles at once provides the best opportunity for a child’s development.
To imbibe design thinking in the school culture, I believe we should focus on the critical modes underlying the process:
1. Lead with empathy.
As I said in the beginning, it always starts with empathy. Empathy is a cornerstone of human-centered design thinking. Observing people, what they do, how they live, and their stories. These are a must in order to to create innovative solutions to problems. Such observation helps us understand how people think, feel, value, and see the world.
Let me elaborate by giving a simple example:
If we ask a child to design a car, they will probably go crazy and come up with the coolest cars that ever existed. But what if we ask them to design an environment-friendly way to transport people from one place to another? Their solutions can be more focused and relevant. When the child starts thinking about solutions to the actual problem rather than redesigning an existing solution, it’s innovation at its best and hence very powerful.
2. Developing a makers mindset
With the rapid advance of new technologies and many more which have yet to be invented, the future remains uncharted. So how can we best prepare our children for this unknown future? For us at Vega, Design Thinking is a powerful tool to develop a growth mindset. Schools want their learners to be ready to cope with situations they have never seen before. For this, design thinking plays a crucial role in education to ensure that our children develop the following:
- Creative confidence to respond to new challenges.
- Ability to embrace failure, and risk-taking and develop persistence.
- Ability to learn, unlearn and relearn and ‘nothing is too big to solve’ attitude.
- Understanding the value of collaboration and feedback.
In Schools in Gurgaon, Design thinking should not be merely a subject or a class. It should be more of a methodology to solve problems in innovative and creative ways that can be applied anywhere. Most activities are designed to allow learners to apply what they are learning to solve real-world, authentic problems. Through ownership and building on prior knowledge, learners are encouraged to bring their experiences and perspectives to the learning environment.
Imagine a classroom where learners create meaningful solutions like products or models that have a huge impact on society or solve user-related problems!
Design thinking breaks existing barriers and allows us to explore undiscovered imagination and creativity. Solutions and ideas can be infinite, and that’s the kind of mindset the Best schools in Gurgaon need to offer that creates opportunities and enables the thinking process in learners.