Teaching Design

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The form of design evolves as technology continues to emerge and evolve. The new technologies greatly affect what we design, and how we make design, but not why we make design. In the midst of constant technological shifts, what keeps me grounded in teaching design is to approach design projects as inquiry-based designs rather than specific platforms. In Teaching as a Subversive Activity, Postman and Weingartner write “The inquiry environment stresses that learning is a happening in itself.” My aim is to create a space for students to cultivate problem-solving mindsets through exploration and open discussion, and inevitably a diverse set of design processes and outputs become interdisciplinary in nature.

As a design educator, I’ve led a new Interaction Design curriculum development with the belief in mind for both BFA and MFA programs at Texas State University. In my classrooms, I break down assignments into essential steps with a set of constraints aligned to learning objectives. I incorporate lectures, demonstrations, discussions, and readings while students are encouraged to reflect on their own work through designing, group research, process documentation, and looking inwards statement. This structure empowers students to experiment with new work methods, embrace fresh modes of thinking, and stretch themselves creatively and intellectually.  

To teach design is to embrace uncertainty. This means that the traditional design curriculum is no longer sufficient, and the conventional notions of ‘good’ design no longer suffice in our rapidly changing profession.  The speed of change in the graphic design profession compels me to continuously develop, teach and test new projects while learning them myself. It is an experimentation process that demands tremendous efforts of close attention, feedback, revisions, and iterations. My main goal as a design educator is to help students find their ‘voice’ and ‘role’ as designers in society. How would they sustain their interests through a lens of design? Through teaching critical thinking, design theory, and fostering individual practice, students learn to utilize design as a lifelong practice and set up for a long career in a field that will continue to evolve.

As the field of design expand to engage and include diverse perspectives and transitions toward interdisciplinary collaboration for a big impact on our society and the world, what interests me ultimately lies in our shared humanity. I believe in the power of connection, dialogue, and expansion of understanding. As we continue to embrace technological shifts in our society and our field,  this ever-expanding field offers an opportunity to rethink and reframe how we learn, teach and design. I am grateful to witness and participate in these transformations, and these principles are what continue to motivate and inspire me as a designer and an educator.

ㄱ ㅣ ㅁ ㅣ ㅎ ㅕ    kim.mihyun@icloud.com    instagram: mihyun___kim
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