"Jorge the Church Janitor Finally Quits"








What if…

What if I took a group of teachers and led a design thinking challenge as if they were a group of fourth graders? Would this experience help teachers understand the process and mindsets of design thinking from a different point of view? I wanted to find out.

I planned this design challenge the same way I would plan a design challenge for students.

1. Find an engaging piece of text to use for inspiration

2. Use the design thinking process as a framework for planning

3. Identify the Common Core Literacy Standards we would tackle along the way

The Challenge…

We began the challenge by reading a poem by Martin Espada, “Jorge the Church Janitor Finally Quits” and discussing the text dialogically. In dialogically organized instruction, the purpose of the discussion is to understand how the readers are "making sense" of the text. I asked only one question at the end of the reading, “what do you think this text is really about?” and from there, the group took off in a discussion lasting almost 30 minutes.

One of the cornerstones of design thinking is building empathy for others. In order to build empathy for our character, Jorge, the group identified eight words and phrases and made some assumptions about what Jorge might be feeling or thinking.

Then the challenge was revealed: “Redesign Jorge’s work experience.”

The group co-constructed several possible needs that Jorge might have. “Jorge needs to be seen” “Jorge needs to be valued” “Jorge needs to find confidence in himself” were just a few.

Finally, the group broke into small teams to brainstorm and share possible solutions for Jorge.

What surprised me?

Although the group consisted of educators ranging in age from 22-60, the feeling inside the room was oddly similar to a fourth grade classroom! The disagreements, the group dynamics, and the hesitation mirrored what I might typically see in a room of elementary school students. This was unexpected.

One participant reflected…

“Despite it being a safe place to talk about your feelings, I still have hesitation to share. There's always the lingering feeling of being judged for a ridiculous thought. I realize this is a problem with me. ‘There are no ridiculous thoughts’ should be my rule of thumb and yet, there have been so many experiences of embarrassing ideas with friends or even with school, it's hard to escape from the feeling when you want to go public with your ideas. From my seat, I could see so many bright, intelligent thinkers. I was in awe of some of the comments, like from the one participant who was able to see the poem as a view on a group of people rather than just one person. His one comment opened the poem up again for a whole new perspective, because then I was replacing Jorge with "They." The poem then seemed even more sad. I love this part about collaboration and sharing, this ability to have a few words change everything into something different. Not, completely different, but a new light, a new perspective.”

What did I learn?

I learned to trust the process…again! Even though I have taught many design thinking challenges to many groups of people, during the planning process I always have a tinge of discomfort knowing that the outcome of the challenge is unknown. The process, just by its very nature, places the primary responsibility for learning on the students, which is a major shift from more traditional styles of teaching, and this means that the role of teacher needs to be redefined. Instead of being the “giver” of information, the teacher becomes more of a facilitator, or guide, and although this role is magical and desired, it is always a bit scary.

In the face of ambiguity, the design thinking process represents a constant and somehow the learning the comes from a design challenge always exceeds my expectations…always. Design challenges around texts usually result in passionate discourse, internal disequilibrium of some kind, grappling about the meaning of specific words or phrases, strong agreement and disagreement of ideas, radical connections, storytelling and often tears. And this challenge was no different.

At the end of every design challenge, I learn to trust the process just a bit more. Such was the case here.

What do you think?

What do you think about using design challenges as a framework for planning in K12 education? What is scary and uncomfortable for you? What exceeds your expectations?

Comments

/groups/k12/search/index.rss?tag=hotlist/groups/k12/search/?tag=hotWhat’s HotHotListHot!?tag=hot6/groups/k12/sidebar/HotListAdded tag - hotdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 18:05:15+00:002016-06-09 18:05:15addTag14Added tag - activitydyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 08:51:57+00:002016-06-09 08:51:57addTag13Added tag - testdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 08:51:48+00:002016-06-09 08:51:48addTag12Added tag - prototypedyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 08:51:46+00:002016-06-09 08:51:46addTag11Added tag - ideatedyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 08:51:45+00:002016-06-09 08:51:45addTag10Added tag - definedyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 08:51:43+00:002016-06-09 08:51:43addTag9Added tag - empathizedyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 08:51:42+00:002016-06-09 08:51:42addTag8Added tag - stokedyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 08:51:40+00:002016-06-09 08:51:40addTag7Added tag - design thinking processdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 08:51:38+00:002016-06-09 08:51:38addTag6Added tag - resourcesdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 08:51:35+00:002016-06-09 08:51:35addTag5dyoungDevon Young2016-06-06 23:47:53+00:002016-06-06 23:47:53updated4dyoungDevon Young2016-06-06 21:53:23+00:002016-06-06 21:53:23updated3dyoungDevon Young2016-06-06 20:58:40+00:002016-06-06 20:58:40updated2First createddyoungDevon Young2016-06-06 20:58:21+00:002016-06-06 20:58:21created1wiki2016-06-06T23:47:53+00:00groups/k12/wiki/bb07fFalseResources and Tools by Stage/groups/k12/wiki/bb07f/Resources_and_Tools_by_Stage.htmlDevon Young14 updatesResources and Tools by Stage Key tools and worksheets in each step Warm-up [Download file "Stoke Deck.pdf"] Improv Toolkit for Educators, Improv Activiti...Falsedyoung2016-06-06T23:47:53+00:00Added tag - hotdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 18:04:48+00:002016-06-09 18:04:48addTag18Added tag - full-cycledyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:21:38+00:002016-06-09 06:21:38addTag17Added tag - designed by k12 labdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:21:34+00:002016-06-09 06:21:34addTag16Added tag - educator workshopdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:21:23+00:002016-06-09 06:21:23addTag15Added tag - 2-hourdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:21:18+00:002016-06-09 06:21:18addTag14Added tag - 2016dyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:21:08+00:002016-06-09 06:21:08addTag13Removed tag - workshopdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:21:02+00:002016-06-09 06:21:02removeTag12Removed tag - morning routinedyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:21:00+00:002016-06-09 06:21:00removeTag11Removed tag - dp0dyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:20:59+00:002016-06-09 06:20:59removeTag10Removed tag - design thinking burstdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:20:56+00:002016-06-09 06:20:56removeTag9Added tag - workshopdyoungDevon Young2016-06-06 15:58:59+00:002016-06-06 15:58:59addTag8Added tag - design thinking burstdyoungDevon Young2016-05-23 20:34:51+00:002016-05-23 20:34:51addTag7Removed tag - burstdyoungDevon Young2016-05-23 20:34:43+00:002016-05-23 20:34:43removeTag6Added tag - morning routinedyoungDevon Young2016-05-23 20:34:05+00:002016-05-23 20:34:05addTag5Added tag - dp0dyoungDevon Young2016-05-23 20:33:54+00:002016-05-23 20:33:54addTag4Added tag - burstdyoungDevon Young2016-05-23 20:33:47+00:002016-05-23 20:33:47addTag3dyoungDevon Young2016-05-23 16:46:27+00:002016-05-23 16:46:27updated2First createddyoungDevon Young2016-05-23 16:08:56+00:002016-05-23 16:08:56created1wiki2016-05-23T16:46:27+00:00groups/k12/wiki/213e5FalseDesign Thinking Burst: May 18, 2016 /groups/k12/wiki/213e5/Design_Thinking_Burst_May_18_2016_.htmlDevon Young18 updatesDesign Thinking Burst: May 18, 2016 What: An introductory experience for educators who are interested in learning about the design thinking process. When: April 28, 2016 at the d...Falsedyoung2016-05-23T16:46:27+00:00Added tag - hotdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 18:05:46+00:002016-06-09 18:05:46addTag16Added tag - full-cycledyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:22:15+00:002016-06-09 06:22:15addTag15Added tag - designed by k12 labdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:22:11+00:002016-06-09 06:22:11addTag14Added tag - educator workshopdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:22:06+00:002016-06-09 06:22:06addTag13Added tag - 2-daydyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:22:01+00:002016-06-09 06:22:01addTag12Added tag - 2016dyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:21:58+00:002016-06-09 06:21:58addTag11Removed tag - workshopdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:21:52+00:002016-06-09 06:21:52removeTag10Removed tag - discover design thinkingdyoungDevon Young2016-06-09 06:21:50+00:002016-06-09 06:21:50removeTag9Added tag - workshopdyoungDevon Young2016-06-06 15:59:14+00:002016-06-06 15:59:14addTag8Removed tag - savedyoungDevon Young2016-06-06 15:59:10+00:002016-06-06 15:59:10removeTag7Added tag - discover design thinkingdyoungDevon Young2016-05-23 21:41:41+00:002016-05-23 21:41:41addTag6Added tag - savedyoungDevon Young2016-05-16 20:35:23+00:002016-05-16 20:35:23addTag5dyoungDevon Young2016-05-13 21:14:20+00:002016-05-13 21:14:20updated4dyoungDevon Young2016-05-11 15:57:56+00:002016-05-11 15:57:56updated3dyoungDevon Young2016-05-11 03:15:39+00:002016-05-11 03:15:39updated2First createddyoungDevon Young2016-05-11 03:01:09+00:002016-05-11 03:01:09created1wiki2016-05-13T21:14:20+00:00groups/k12/wiki/7c78cFalseDiscover Design Thinking workshop: May 5-6 2016/groups/k12/wiki/7c78c/Discover_Design_Thinking_workshop_May_56_2016.htmlDevon Young16 updatesDiscover Design Thinking workshop: May 5-6 2016 Edit this page Create a new page Delete this ...Falsedyoung2016-05-13T21:14:20+00:00Added tag - hotarazAriel Raz2016-06-09 18:05:38+00:002016-06-09 18:05:38addTag13Added tag - prototypearazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:30:10+00:002016-06-09 06:30:10addTag12Added tag - full-cyclearazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:30:00+00:002016-06-09 06:30:00addTag11Added tag - grades 9-12arazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:29:55+00:002016-06-09 06:29:55addTag10Added tag - student curriculumarazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:29:51+00:002016-06-09 06:29:51addTag9Added tag - 1-weekarazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:28:21+00:002016-06-09 06:28:21addTag8Added tag - 2016arazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:28:18+00:002016-06-09 06:28:18addTag7Removed tag - student workshoparazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:28:07+00:002016-06-09 06:28:07removeTag6Removed tag - fail forwardarazAriel Raz2016-06-09 06:28:03+00:002016-06-09 06:28:03removeTag5Added tag - student workshoparazAriel Raz2016-06-06 16:37:11+00:002016-06-06 16:37:11addTag4Added tag - fail forwardarazAriel Raz2016-06-06 16:36:53+00:002016-06-06 16:36:53addTag3arazAriel Raz2016-03-14 03:01:39+00:002016-03-14 03:01:39updated2First createdarazAriel Raz2016-03-14 02:48:24+00:002016-03-14 02:48:24created1wiki2016-03-14T03:01:39+00:00groups/k12/wiki/0502dFalseMt. Vernon Presbyterian School - Fail Forward/groups/k12/wiki/0502d/Mt_Vernon_Presbyterian_School__Fail_Forward.htmlAriel Raz13 updatesMt. Vernon Presbyterian School - Fail Forward On this page you'll find resources for the one week workshop we held with Mt. Vernon Presbyterian School. The frame of the weeklong experience was...Falsearaz2016-03-14T03:01:39+00:00weblog2009-11-19T16:29:14+00:00groups/k12/weblog/56457FalseNew Riverside-Nueva partnership/groups/k12/weblog/56457/New_RiversideNueva_partnership.htmlLeticia Britos0 updatesNew Riverside-Nueva partnership The Nueva School has some exciting news to report. After the six of us (Rebecca, Megan, Keely, Kim, Anna, and I) from Nueva met Deepa and Veena fro...Falselbritos2009-11-19T16:29:14+00:00hot/groups/k12/search/index.rss?sort=modifiedDate&kind=all&sortDirection=reverse&excludePages=wiki/welcomelist/groups/k12/search/?sort=modifiedDate&kind=all&sortDirection=reverse&excludePages=wiki/welcomeRecent ChangesRecentChangesListUpdates?sort=modifiedDate&kind=all&sortDirection=reverse&excludePages=wiki/welcome0/groups/k12/sidebar/RecentChangesListmodifiedDateallRecent ChangesRecentChangesListUpdateswiki/welcomeNo recent changes.reverse5search