The DesignSKILLS programme aims to develop teaching and learning in relation to the design process in post-primary schools in Ireland. The programme links professional designer makers with teachers to develop a six-hour mini project that explores the design process.
It focuses on the very beginning of this process and emphasises ideation, problem solving, divergent thinking, risk taking and experimentation. Importantly, the programme impacts the young people who take part in the classroom projects, but it also aims to create a legacy with the teachers, upskilling them in the delivery of the design process. It is hoped that this will have a knock-on effect on the other students they teach and will teach in the future.
Students gain practical experience of design processes which they can use in the art room but also bring into the rest of their learning experiences. Young people will explore their own individual ideas and develop their creative potential, supported by professional designer makers and their teachers. This programme aims to equip them with skills for life.
‘Key learning was in the students’ ability to recognise value in initial selection of primary sources; value in reflecting on each step to progress learning and development; respond to this reflection with constructive and positive approaches; and to celebrate all the mistakes during the processes.’
– Coláiste Oiriall Knockaconny, Monaghan
For the designer-makers who take part, DesignSKILLS increases their understanding of the post-primary curriculum and thus their capacity to work in this educational context. Feedback from designer-makers is that the programme also feeds their own creative process.
Designer-makers and teachers participate in peer-reflection sessions which take place regionally at the end of each programme. These sessions give participants space to process their experience of the programme and share this
with their peers.
Each DesignSKILLS project is unique. It depends on the collaborative approach of the teacher and the designer-maker and the innovation of the students working in the classroom. To date, DesignSKILLS projects have covered design elements including drawing, using primary sources, technical skills, responding to a brief and more.
At the heart of the programme is the goal to establish the importance of building strong foundations for the creative process through research and experimentation. These are skills that are important not just for art, craft and design but are transferable to the wider lives and development of the students who take part.
DesignSKILLS encompasses active learning, creativity, originality and initiative.
Call out for schools to take part in the 2019 programme is now closed.
DesignSKILLS is a partnership between the Design & Crafts Council Ireland the Junior Cycle for Teachers. It is part funded through the National Creativity Fund.