Teaching Design to Support the Psychology of Skill Developmen ...

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Many beginning design curricula utilize instructors who misconstrue the core pedagogical focus of initiating development of creative processes by importing ill-suited pedagogical approaches either from advanced studios or from external design practices. Others teach only basic proficiencies in the belief that they can only be applied in advanced studios (that they teach) or they feel they lower themselves in teaching beginning design courses. Teaching at the foundation level of curriculum should instead be an opportunity for fundamental explorations of creative practices, with students whose unencumbered approaches allow for discovery and fresh inquiries. A schism exists between the “base” of curriculum and the “top” of the curriculum. Education psychology finds causes of this schism in instructor biases, curriculum structure, and other systemic factors, resulting in beginning design pedagogies that fail to support development of emergent creative skills. Research in the psychology of skill characterizes four systematic stages of development into maturity: experiential, cognitive, associative, and autonomous. Education researcher Anne Bore demonstrates that curricular implementation of creative skills best occurs when its instructors develop it through four stages: uncertainty, visioning, realization, readiness. This article demonstrates parallels between the four stages of skill development and presents a model of developmental design curriculum that brings about reduction of assumed or derived schisms by giving schema to pedagogical intentions that better support student development of creative capacities.