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entangled

a bacehlor level course for teaching critical thinking to design students 
























































genre

Design Research . Pedagogy

field

Design Education . Criticial Thinking

materials

Critical Pedagogy . Entangled History . Visual Culture . Teaching . Discursive Objects . Graphic Design

softwares

N.A.

outcome

A manifesto and exemplars of six modules of coursework, both housed in a 214 page book . Exhibition

client

Self-initiated (M.A. Graduation Project)

year

2019 


abstract

How to interest design students in critical thinking? Defining it as the ability to unpack assumptions, I present critical thinking as a method of conceptualising ideas. When intertwined with design skills, these ideas evolve into a non-generic portfolio. Entangled is an educational tool that uses students’ desire to stand out as an incentive to circumvent their critical thinking apathy. As its theoretical framework, Entangled uses an interdisciplinary mix of Critical Pedagogy, History, Visual Culture, awareness of Entanglement, Materiality and Discursive Objects.

The tool, delivered as a modular and flexible coursework, repurposes existing design curricula and infrastructures. It includes tasks to enhance perception; a card game to question assumptions; moderated discussions to encourage critical thinking; and finally, examples and assignments to integrate with design practice.


critical thinking, but why?
As of 2019, populist politics, unprecedented consumption, climate change, and artificial intelligence driven automation seem to have settled in our everyday lives as unavoidable reality. In a networked world, professional relevance of designers is interconnected with the greater good. Thus, for its own sake, design needs to urgently engage with issues plaguing society at large. To tackle the complex contemporary problems of our society, designers need to be more analytical, skeptical, and rational; they should have the ability to contextualise; they should be aware of multiple perspectives. In short, they should be able to think critically.

However in a majority of design schools, technical skills take precedence, often at the cost of critical reflection. While teaching in India, I had discovered that students focused only on learning software and techniques. Missing was a framework to guide them through questions such as what to create, why to create that, and for whom. Furthermore, even when there is an attempt to engage in critical thinking and reflection, design students seem to perceive it as a colossal waste of time. Hence, I decided to focus my M.A. research on finding a way that would encourage design students to engage in critical thinking.

key concepts
Praxis (Activism and Verbalism)

Problem Engagement

Critical Thinking


Progressive Design

Materiality

Criticality

Entanglement


Diagrams






The theoretical framework of the tool was conceptualised and argued for in a manifesto titled ‘Entangled. Design, Education, and Critical Thinking.’ To read, download—
Hi-res pdf (18.8 MB)

progressive design pedagogy


Video + Diagrammatic Map 



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