Rethinking thinking…

Just before Christmas I presented a paper at the PATT conference in Christchurch, New Zealand on rethinking design thinking. 

The reason for the focus being on ‘Design’ is that design carries implications of righteousness in that there are implicit expecations of high standards of ethical behaviour and altrusim particularly when set within an educational context. Design thinking also has a central focus on creative, innovative, empathetic activity orientated towards process, problem resolution and products/oucomes for ill-defined contexts, through application of a particular form of thinking.

Unfortunately little attention appears to have been given to the many cognitive and heuristic flaws that are inherently a feature of the decision-making aspects of thinking  and in particular design thinking in an educational setting. As such I am reminded of the empty trojan horse (or rabbit) metaphor in that the appearance of the objective is achieved whilst the overall aim fails to be executed.  That is superficial experiences (applicable also to broader educational issues) are wrapped as meaningful  activities without the realisation of the paucity of the experience and the failure to capitalise upon the genuine learning opportunities.

In many ways this represents an hypocrisy of the pedagogical institution assuming that the pedagogical institution seeks to achieve some of the outcomes above (which may not be a convincing yes). As a consequence thinking in a design orientated context (within any part of the curriculum) is presented as an idealistic rational activity that brings about conscious planned change in the made world without reference to cognitive limitations and heuristic flaws of those engaged in such activities.

As such I am now considering tools that facilitate metacognitive debiasing and reflection within an educational setting. Hopefully I will let you know how i get on!

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