Making the Case: Educating Art Educators in Design for K-12 CurriculumOur project focuses on developing critically needed curricular resources that can further inform current and future art educators in design pedagogy for K-12 programs in the U.S. Through an investigation of successful models in the UK and two US charter schools, we intend to provide educators and administrators with a workable, evidence-based roadmap about how the teaching of design may increase creative thinking and innovative problem-solving skills; foster social responsibility by tackling real issues and problems in the classroom and contribute to the economy by preparing students to become the creative leaders in any of their eventual fields. Introducing design into K-12 curriculum has proven successful in the UK for over 15 years. We feel it is time for the US to do likewise but this requires better preparation of K-12 educators through higher education programs.
The research to develop these resources will have two parts: 1) Investigating and analyzing two United States established schools, both which have integrated design as a core methodology in various subjects: The Charter High School for Architecture and Design (CHAD) in Philadelphia and the Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH) in Miami; and 2) examining the steps used for the implementation and pedagogy of the “UK Design and Technology Standards” by interviewing the key advocates and analyzing the relevancies, followed by observing and interviewing teachers and administrators in several select UK schools to understand practices used to implement the teaching of design as a mandatory subject in K-12 programs.
Through observations, interviews, and examinations of curricular documents, we will coalesce the best practices of teaching design that will become a needed resource for guiding future teachers in the instruction of K-12 design education.
Our project will utilize the AIGA Design Educators Community and NAEA (National Art Education Association) websites, encouraging readers to add their comments and suggestions throughout its duration. In addition, we will give presentations at conferences and workshops throughout the year with the intention of sharing what we are learning as well as gathering valuable feedback. As a result, we believe our study will serve as a substantial basis for a book that describes the successful integration of design methodologies in elementary through secondary schools. In addition, it will be of service to higher education faculty in art teacher preparation programs, by helping them inform their students about this important curricular inclusion.
Robin Vande Zande is an associate professor and coordinator of art education at Kent State University. Her research area and publications include topics such as teaching sustainable design; design education and brain-based principles; the design process of problem-solving; and teaching aesthetics through everyday objects. She has been a guest speaker at international, national and state events, speaking on the advantages of teaching design in PreK-12 settings as it relates to social responsibility and the economy.
Dr. Vande Zande is chair of the Design Issues Group of the National Art Education Association and a member of the Education Committee of the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. She has been a consultant for the Frank Lloyd Wright Wescott House Museum, Springfield, Ohio, and the Design Lab Early College High School, a design-based Cleveland Public School. She is co-founder of the International Design Education Alliance in the Schools (IDEAS), an organization of teachers, organizations, businesses, and museums that supports the development of policies related to the inclusion of design education at the international, national, state, and school district levels.
Ruth Lozner is an associate professor of design at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has held previous faculty positions at the Parsons School of Design and the University of the Arts, where she was Chair of the Illustration Department. She is currently teaching “Design Literacy: Decoding our Visual Culture” ( Art Department), Advanced Graphic Design : Publications and Promotion” ( Art Department ) and “Design and the Creative Process” ( Honors College).
Throughout her career, professor Ruth Lozner has lectured extensively at various venues (CAA Conferences, AIGA Design Educators Conference, UCDA Conferences, MDAEA Conference, UMD Innovation in Teaching Conferences and at several universities) on the The Role of Creativity in Education; Design Education in K-12 Curricula; Integrating Design Pedagogy into traditional Art Education Practices”,” Teaching Right-Brain Skills to Left-Brain Students ” and” Design Literacy and Culture”. She has been elected into and is now co-chair of the UMD Academy of Excellence of Teaching and Learning at UMD, an organization that encourages and supports innovative pedagogical practices. She has served on the National Board of the Graphic Artists Guild, and is an active member of AIGA and the faculty advisor to the UMD student chapter, and a member of NAEA.
Please send us your feedback and suggestions via the comments section below and check back often to learn more about the progression of our project.