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Teacher training for student-centred learning: first D-TIPS training session

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

D-TIPS Toolbox will give an opportunity to teach in an exciting new way. To make sure that the teachers have the best experience when using it, we’re paying a lot of attention to the training content that will support the use of the Toolbox.

After piloting the first set of tools and crafting out the concepts of our training, we had a chance to test it. Here we share our experience.

Why does good training content matter?

Using design thinking in education allows us to move from discipline-intensive teaching to facilitation of student-centred learning. This shift is beneficial for both students and teachers – it gives an opportunity to solve real-life problems, gain competencies, teach across disciplines and do project-based activities.

However, this introduction of competencies based curricula requires teachers to have a different set of skills. Additionally, in order to meet the needs of primary school teachers, we want to create a tool that is easy to use and flexible. All of this requires a different approach when creating training material.

To achieve the best results we decided that the main goals of the training should be:

  • to present a coherent process for developing skills associated with Design Thinking (critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration).

  • to support the need for lifelong learning for teachers, moving from discipline-based to competencies based education.

The most appropriate road for reaching these goals seemed to be an approach built on action learning. This way, the participants of the training will have the opportunity to learn from their own experience and from the shared experience of fellow teachers.

What was the first training session like? Insights of the first training session

Newschool with our associate partners Teach for Romania held the first training session on November 20–21. Before the training, 43 teachers were asked to look around and gather information on the specific challenges that they face in their community.

During the first day of the online training, participants shared their findings. To explore these challenges further, teachers were invited to empathize deeper and roleplay some of the ‘culprits’ they had encountered in their community (ie: “the bored child”, “the overprotective parent”, etc.)

Helen Rogers, Community Manager & Research Partner at Newschool shares that “This proved to be a very powerful empathy exercise that resonated with the teachers and furthered their understanding of what it really means to empathise in the design thinking process.”

On the second day, participants were introduced to the current version of the D-TIPS Toolbox. They were invited to use the newly gained knowledge and skills on their first problem-solving challenge – designing a school playground. This produced a lot of creative results and allowed teachers to experience a different way of learning. Teachers were also asked to invite a child into their group, this way adding an “expert user” opinion into the mix.

Majority of teachers gave positive feedback about the training sessions. Additionally, this allowed us to test out different approaches and document the process. The insights we gathered from the training will allow us to move forward in creating a compelling toolbox and comprehensive training content. And of course, as advocates of design thinking, we will iterate over the stages of this process until we reach the desired solution!


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