Issues in teaching creative thinking to design students
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Issues in teaching creative thinking to design students Creativity in the twenty-first century is not an option, it is indispensable. If design is held to be an instrument of change then designed outcomes need to reflect a philosophy of change that offers a positive direction. This is in contrast with a situation where design is used as a means of change for the sake of change, that is, the designer as stylist and servant to a consumerist society. A metaview of the value of design and design thinking implicates design in a revolution of global dimensions that has been termed 'The Sustainment' [Fry 2011]. The realignment of thinking associated with this endeavour means changing prevailing, predetermined patterns of thinking. Teaching creativity to tertiary students begins with de-schooling-the unlearning of constraining attitudes and behaviours to re-learn a more appropriate mindset. In this context, creativity is positioned more as 'problem-finding' rather than 'problem solving'. Levels of creativity need to be considered in relation to what students believe they are capable of achieving and how to extend these limits, which so often are set by the urgency to get a job in 'the industry'. Memory is of critical importance in creative thinking, and this links to the unconscious, often considered to be the well-spring of creative ideas. While the process of reawakening a sense of wonder and of opportunity may begin with divergent or associative thinking, this can be channeled toward the appropriate domain by alternatively placing the emphasis back and forth between convergent and divergent thinking. The process develops contextual focus, that is, an ability to spontaneously shift between analytical and associative thought according to the situation [Gabora 2010]. To consolidate the experience and contextualise the content students need to critically reflect on such a course by compiling a reflective journal. These observations are made in relation to the experience gained from teaching creative thinking to design students over nine years. The conclusion is offered that design students need to learn to believe in their own creativity and how to extend their thinking beyond the industry norms.
Zoontechnica: The journal of redirective design
Copyright 2011 Zoontechnica and Griffith University. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Visual Arts and Crafts not elsewhere classified