Teaching Design to Support the Psychology of Skill Development: Working with Instructors with Ill-suited Pedagogical Approaches


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 external design practices. Others teach only basic proficiencies in the belief that they can only be applied in advanced studios (that they teach). Others believe they are lowering themselves in teaching beginning design studio curricula. 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, with foundational learning experiences, and the “top” of the curriculum, with more content centered courses. Education psychology finds causes of this schism in instructor biases, curriculum structure, and other systemic factors, resulting in misconstrual of beginning pedagogies failing 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 paper demonstrates parallels between the four stages of skill development and demonstrates a model of developmental design curriculum that brings about greater collaborative ownership of the curriculum and removal of assumed or derived schisms by giving schema to one’s pedagogical intentions within the curriculum as a foil to personal points of view or in isolation from other courses.


Stephen Temple
Professor, Architecture, University of Texas San Antonio, Texas, United States


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design Education


Education Psychology, Design Education, Beginning Design, Creative Development, Skills

Digital Media