I must make a confession. I’ve fallen into a common trap in my line of work. After seeing all the amazing things graduate students, college students, and high school students have accomplished with Design Thinking, I have returned to my elementary students and thought, “How can I achieve something similar with my younger, less experienced students?”
Right away, several of you have already noticed my misstep. Besides the obvious miswording (“How might we…” not “How can I…” ), I approached the situation from the wrong mindset. Call it the “deficit model,” call it “ignoring post-modern and deconstructionist approaches to education,” or just call it “the green-eyed monster of Design Thinking envy (#DTenvy);” I expected my elementary students to act and perform like their older counterparts. I should have known better.
Young children are not miniature adults. (This very smart guy said so.)
Kindergarteners have some unique gifts (like building marshmallow towers).
Tom Wujec TED talk, “Build a tower, build a team”
Design Thinking taps into young students’ innate creative abilities. Therefore, I shouldn’t approach my students’ work with DT as “watered-down” versions of “adult work.”
Ok. There. That’s the end of it. I will never commit such an egregious mistake again. I promise.
For more on how to tap into Elementary Students’ unique abilities using Design Thinking, check out #dtk12chat on Twitter, Wednesday, 19 February at 8 pm CT. The topic is: