Design Thinking: Some Divergent Ideas to Consider

Design Thinking: Some Divergent Ideas to Consider

Have you read Jessica Lahey’s Article in the Atlantic?

How Design Thinking Became a Buzzword at School

The trendy concept is in high demand among educators, but its specifics are vague.

Jessica Lahey, January 4, 2017  The Atlantic


Is Design Thinking a buzzword, a trendy concept and a concrete defined model for teaching or is it something that has key elements and a philosophical base that we build from to enhance teacher and student learning?


Is there a structured definition or is it highly dependent on the context, time and space of our learning environments?


After reading Jessica Lahey’s  article ( I believe it is yet one more tool where educators and their students can engage in open, creative planning for inquiry based spaces for learning. It has the power to encourage all learners to be creative and flexible thinkers, be novel, brave and an innovator.  Design thinking assumes anyone can be a creative problem solver and gives educators strategies that push learning in outward facing and innovative ways.

The lack of a clear definition for Design Thinking makes explaining and evaluating this “program”  difficult and for some educators could  create  challenges in using this material. For me this is the gift we give our educators as we provide Professional Learning that opens up the wide array of thinking, research and practical evidence from our successful teaching models that we can then translate into practice in the context and space where we learn.  Sir Ken Robinson’s session in Abbotsford this past week underlined this  belief that we must keep both our teacher and student curiosity alive and active.  Many educators in our  BC system are taking advantage of  and are supported in many  opportunities to be creative and innovative.  I am encouraged and optimistic by what I am beginning to see and hear discussed among our lead educators.

For me it is not a definition of any program  or model that will make a difference for student engagement and learning. The  way we identify, share and use these powerful ideas will  make the real difference for our students and their learning.


Learning Forward BC at its Network Dinner on Thursday, February 9 will take this concept and look at two highly divergent teaching models.

Karen Fadum from Surrey will present key aspects of the current BC policy on reporting, assessment and communicating student learning and how one district is supporting educators in this area.

A teaching team from York House School will talk about an Innovation Program that incorporates elements of Design Thinking and how the student learning in that program is communicated to parents other audiences.

Both presentations will consider the following statement:

Is communicating learning to parents and community an event within a defined structure or is it an open innovative structure that looks at the outcomes and learning of the learners as well as the audience needs at a particular time and place?

I, for one, am looking forward to what I believe will be an innovative, exciting evening linked by highly motivated discussion and likely some divergent debate!


Audrey Hobbs-Johnson for Learning Forward BC












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