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The Dessau Model of Transformative Education

Inspired by cybernetics, reflection, reflective practice, learnings from PhD research supervision, and the writings of David Orr, Heinz von Foerster, Ranulph Glanville, Paolo Freire, Donald Schön, John Dewey, Maxine Greene, Jerome Bruner, Ivan Illich and Carl Rogers we initially explored a new way of teaching design theory to 1st year students of integrated design in Dessau, Germany.

This new learner-centred approach is based on participatory design principles and follows an action research approach. We try out ideas, collect feedback, and use learners feedback to steer our seminar in the desired direction, lead by Bloom's taxonomy and our learning objectives (the question also is how to move away from learning objectives (McKernan).

On these pages we outline our approach in its basic terms.
We have also widely published our process since 2010. You may find these resources under Papers

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Our key elements of transformative education

- Working on 'real' and relevant projects that matter to the learners
- Integrating Human-centred design with sustainability and ecology
- Cybernetics/2nd-order cybernetics, systems thinking and ecological literacy
- Inclusive, participatory & collaboratively
- We're all learners: working together on an eye-level
- Learning is situated and embodied. How we feel influences learning.
- Learning is most successful without anxiety and pressure. This happens in play, exploration, research (Learning, designing, playing and researching) (Hüther, Robinson)
- Learning is a social experience and is constituting a community of practice
- Language and how we interact matters: We care. We are learning a culture, a way of seeing and way of being a ... .
- Inclusive, diverse and caring
- Conversational learning (Banathy, Turkle)
- Communicating with clarity and care (Maturana, Costa),
- Verbalising learnings: Making the implicit explicit, deep-learning through linking theory and practice. Active theorising.
- Reflection, reflective practice, fostering critical thinking. (Schon)
- Learning for error, surprise, uncertainty, ambiguity
- Goal oriented? Learning objectives? (Dublin Descriptors, McKernan, Peter Jones, Harold Nelson)
- Feedback culture: Generous, curios, constructive, caring (Bologna, Dublin Descriptors, EQR-LLL, QR-EHR)
- Structure and process oriented. Results are important but process matters. We encourage error to reflect and learn from error. Erring is systemic and part of the human condition. > mindset, emotion, learning,
- Listening, dialogical, reflective

last update: 9/5/02021 13:53

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