The Design of Design Problems

J. Timothy Lewis
1985, Vol. 18, No. 1,


The title of this article is an absolute nonsense. How can a problem be designed? Asking children to 'design' when the only introduction to this complex process has been rudimentary sketching techniques is even more absurd. How many children have been asked what they would like to make by a Craft, Design and Technology teacher, only to hear their idea is 'impossible' or 'beyond your capabilities'? It is universally accepted by COT teachers that the teaching of skills involving the use of tools and equipment is an essential part of a scheme of work, yet teaching designing skills is often neglected and in some cases ignored completely. If your children are introduced to the design process through carefully 'designed' projects then eventually they are able to recognise problems, write their own design briefs and of course solve them. Once the framework of the design process is firmly established in the pupils' minds it gives them the opportunity to explore and develop their creative abilities. Children of all abilities should be given the opportunity to make design decisions, the least able can do this more su.ccessfully within a design framework. More able children will find a design framework gives them the platform from which they can jump into problem solving situations confidently. A well planned scheme of work in COT during the early years of secondary education or even earlier can introduce the process by using and experiencing it through projects, carefully planned well designed projects.

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