OK so basing an educational theory on a classic 90’s indie anthem might not be the best idea. However I feel the Manic Street Preachers encapsulate well in those opening lines the key educational idea that children learn most effectively when asked to create and design things that requires them to apply what they know. We let children’s thinking run free when we allow them to work with what they know.
“The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention.” Seymour Papert
Seymour Papert (the inventor of LOGO) referred to learning through making as constructionism.The theory of constructionism has two main principles:
- Learners construct their own understanding most effectively by making something rather than passively receiving meaning from others
- The learning is most effective when the product is something that can be shared.
My thinking about the importance Design and Construction as part of student learning has led to the employment of Primary School Design Integrator for the next academic year at Nanjing International School (NIS). The aim of the role is to increase the opportunities for students to use the design cycle both to develop new knowledge and skills and to apply the knowledge and skills from the rest of the curriculum in practical context.
Structure of the Curriculum
The curriculum is still evolving but will be structured around 3 strands that will enable students to develop specific knowledge and skills sets whilst structuring their thinking using the Design Cycle.
Below is the initial framework for how this might look.
This is followed by a film clip of John Rinker who will be NIS's first Primary School Design Integrator answering the question "Why should we teach design in the Primary School?"