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Design thinking leads to a hands-on student-centred learning environment. It increases the level of learners engagement while tackling real problems. It gives individuals voice and choice.

Design Thinking can more easily be applied in class when we’re trying to create a product. Its steps/methodology can be followed to guide students through any PBL unit.

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In Language Acquisition, I can undoubtedly adopt it to units and projects that deal with a clear context and aim to create a product or solve a problem. I can apply it to my Media & Society unit to generate a publicity campaign or to my Tech Innovations unit to build innovative products.

Nonetheless, I believe that it’s the application in education is not limited to this approach. So far, I exploited it to address curriculum design problems with my department and to cater to my students’ academic needs. I found it particularly useful for this purpose, especially if allied with reflection.

Lake Reflection by vchagas

Reflection strengths our capacity to learn, makes us aware of our thinking process and enables transfer of learning which is the ultimate goal of any learning experience, subject teaching or educational program.

Reflection is an integral component of the IB program, the Habits of Mind framework and many educational theories such as Dewey’s. Allied with the buzz and action of the Design Thinking in education this quiet moment is an Essential tool for learning.

To reflect with my student’s on the activities that I described and prototyped in my Quick Fix post, I followed two different approaches.

 My reflection

I used the five steps of Reflective thinking to guide my reflection on the products that I’ve created. Here are the results:

a.Objective: What caused this reflection?

  • Implementation of vocabulary activities to enhance the students’ vocabulary

b. Reflective: How did you feel?

  • Partially successful. The central positive aspect was that I was able to involve all the students in class in the process. Overall the activities worked well during class. I particularly liked the collaborative mind map one that enables two different courses to work on it. Gain Gain Gain!
  • I wonder if the target group benefited from it.

c. Interpretive:  Why did you act this way?

  • I need to cater to all students and not only focus on the target group.
  • I want to keep using the station rotation model with some common instruction time in the beginning and at the end of each class (warm-up & wrap up)

d. Decisional: What decision or positive reaction will you take?

  • Continue exploring other types of vocabulary activity.
  • Gather feedback after vocabulary specific activities.
  • Allow reflection on vocabulary activities and growth.
  • Monitor outside classroom work on vocabulary

  Students reflection

I created this form that I’ll be sharing with my students. Students will reflect on the activities that we’ve put in place to help them achieve their goals as well as give me some feedback that will identify the next steps.

I’ll let you know what they say when we resume classes in January.

Happy holidays!