Teach by Design

Yule Brook College

CASE STUDY //

Yule Brook College is an independent, co-ed public school in Maddington, WA, with students from years 7-10. Utilising the Big Picture Education framework, Yule Brook already offers students the opportunity to pursue real-world projects aligned with their passions, and to seek support from adult mentors and experts to enrich their learning. After participating in one of our Teach by Design bootcamps, school leaders from Yule Brook engaged us to deliver a series of workshops at their school to help them integrate a design thinking approach with their Big Picture pedagogy, with a particular focus on how this could help them to engage their Aboriginal students in active, reflective learning.

We planned this engagement in two streams; design education for the teachers, and for the students. We started by gathering 8 interested and innovative teachers for a half-day workshop that introduced them to the language of design thinking, and to the multi-stage design process they would be guiding their students through. Following this initial session, we sat down with teachers, leaders and parents to discuss how the design thinking approach could be adapted and merged with the Big Picture mindsets students were already familiar with, and how we could create a learning experience that would maximise access and engagement for Aboriginal kids.

Two weeks after our session with teachers, we kicked off the student design projects with a day-long workshop on design thinking that invited students to find a passion project, identify their key customers and stakeholders, and start making a plan for how to empathise, develop creative ideas, and prototype and test their new solutions. Students worked on their design projects over the course of several months with the supervision of their teachers, who had our ongoing support and feedback on their application of the design process. Finally, students had the opportunity to showcase their progress to teachers and parents, including incredible projects like an on-site school cafe in the making, student-led orientation days for new students, and a nation-wide clothing protector business.

Yule Brook were thrilled with the progress of their students, and plan to integrate these design projects into the student experience each year going forward. What’s more, successive cohorts of students will be able to build on the prototypes and solutions of previous teams, continuing to build on and improve projects which are already delivering real value for the school community. For us, this engagement offered proof that design thinking has a lot to offer in the education space, for students and teachers alike.

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