In this post, Judy Lee, an art teacher at the Seacoast Charter School in Kingston, NH, talks about the design process.  She shared this with teachers at the Teacher Art Retreat, so we were able to discuss these steps as we progressed through them.  This is another great way to look at the creative process so that you can better understand learning.  ~EMP

As an art teacher I use the design process to teach and guide my students through their assignments (problems).  There are several steps in this process.

Accepts: This involves their acceptance and openness with the assignment.  Getting started and accepting that they need to solve this problem i.e. a drawing.

Analyzes: The students identify the problem(s).  They gather information and become familiar with the problem.   During this step I discuss the art work, artist, show examples, demonstrate concepts, share art history.  This helps students in analyzing the problem.

Defines: The students identify the goals and asks clarifying questions.  What are the aims, ends and goals to solve this problem? Students have the opportunity to ask questions, make observations, and share concerns about the assignment.

Ideates: In this step students identify all possible ways to realize the goals to solve the problem.  They experiment with actions, inventions and alternative routes.  They communicate their ideas in discussion and in working on sketches.   I personally love this step when planning my lessons.  I get ideas and multiple possibilities as I go through my day and when talking to my students about their art work.  This is the “thinking phase” of solving the problem.

Selects: Choose from the options.  Choice is based on what best suits the goal(s).

Implements: Take Action.  Apply instruction.  Students show their understanding and improvement of the concepts.

Evaluates: Critique, Revisits work, Reflects!

The design process above does not always follow a linear line.  To complete the process correctly, I feel one is constantly doing all of the steps.  During a drawing lesson, my students will make multiple sketches of a masterwork.  When I critique with them about their drawing I will ask them two questions:

1) What is working well in your drawing?

2) What changes need to be made to your drawing?

Students will recognize that they have drawn a vase well or that they need to make an object bigger or smaller, or change the angle of a line to improve their drawing.  During this discussion we will revisit the steps they have taken and re-define their questions, develop new ideas and choose new options to try again.  It is very rewarding to have a student realize that they are able to do this on their own.

In using the design process my goals are to encourage my students to become more observant and to be able to think about various options in solving their assignments with the hope that they will carry this over to their academic work as well as their art work.