Using Design Thinking in your teaching

Recently I have been trying some ways in class to enable students to think outside the box and come up with new approaches to their devising work and writing. There are 2 methods I have been using in class – Design Thinking and approaches to Verbatim Theatre. This blog will share what I did and how I adjusted and adapted to get the most out of the process and the students.

Design Thinking wheel

Design Thinking Model – Source: Design Thinking for Educators

In class I have been using the Design Thinking Model from ‘Design Thinking for Educators’ (http://designthinkingforeducators.com/) to approach working with my students on creating authentic interviews for use in Verbatim theatre work, where students were writing their own monologues based on interviews with people in a variety of work places. My goals were:

  1.  To follow a protocol to help students structure what does into an authentic and insightful interview
  2. To provide support and feedback throughout as a group, so that every participant felt they were fully prepared for their interview
  3. To explore the best way to record the interview and analyse what is the best format to draw on to capture the essence of the person in the character we are performing
  4. To research Verbatim theatre and groups that have performed Verbatim theatre to understand the performance style and also take elements that we could use as a group
  5. As a group decide how to write the monologues based on the interview, and how to turn that into performance
  6. To decide as a group how to best present our monologues as a group to communicate specific emotions and messages

Below is how I used the wheel:

Empathy: Interview your partner and understand what they want to do in terms of person, profession and interest. What will they want to get out of the interview.

Define: Write for your partner answers to the following – What will be the purpose of the interview? Who exactly will you interview? When? Where? How? When?

Ideate: As a group we did a silent chalk and talk for the following sections

  • What will the structure of the interview be? Time?
  • What do we need to note about behaviour, dress, demeanour?
  • What are the questions we will ask? In what order? Why?

Then as a group we worked hard to structure the questions, sequence the interview to gradually get below the surface of the person/interview. We also made lists using google docs on key thing about behaviour, note-taking, dress and use of language.

Prototype: Students prepared all their interview questions, structured them and then interviewed a classmate, that was in role as their interviewee. This was repeated several times, and feedback given specifically on demeanour, structure and questions.

Feedback: This was not a separate section, but throughout.

Reflect: Students then carried out their interviews and reflected on their progress. Some needed to return to clarify answers, or repeat sections to record.

So, that is the first stage of the Design Thinking module, where we addressed goals 1,2 & 3. My next blog will go onto how we incorporated the Verbatim research and reached goals 4,5 & 6.

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