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Enhancing Creativity through Sketching

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by jenniferhird, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. I am currently undertaking my dissertation for my PGCE, and would like some experienced input...

    entitled 'enhancing creativity through sketchbooks'

    What are everyone's thoughts on improving/enhancing creativity through sketching and the use of sketchbooks?

    Coming from an architectural background I am amazed that newly graduated students move straight to the computer before picking up a pen/pencil and applying some 'blue sky' thinking, there are no sketchbooks/notebooks to indicate any design process prior to computerisation. Even lacking is the looking process of what is around us - I find this an important part of designing, recording my ideas and experiences, or is this a whimsical perspective?

    Should a creative process be 'taught', to think outside and around the problem to address all the issues?
    (can this be really taught, or is it a talent!)

    Any input would be greatly appreciated
  2. The first assumption seems to be that sketching is the best way forward
    for creativity. That is not necessarily the case and sketch modelling might be
    far more important for some students. I think that the big problem goes much deeper.
    We do not require students to think outside the box at KS3 because that gives
    us an assessment issue (how do we grade them as as 4C (whatever that is?). Some
    of the Ofsted points from this report makes sad reading:
    ‘Education for a technologically advanced nation.’ Ofsted. 070224

    published on 25 June 2008
    Student dislikes include:
    "being asked for ideas then given no
    opportunity to use them"
    In KS3 we often require students to come up with the "right idea" because that is the one we can resource and assess. We do not really reward risk-taking then complain that students are not creative. When one major university will not take A Level D&T students onto their architecture course as they regard them as uncreative and locked into a single design process we have to take a serious look at ourselves. Sketching isn't the answer in my book. Creativity has to be taught (or at least design strategies which might encourage creativity do). We have to assess very differently and reward good ideas. AQA has taken this on at GCSE level so there is no excuse not to do so at KS3. If we can persuade SLT that the current assessment requirements make no sence we might stand a chance. I suspect that we have already lost it and D&T is no longer regarded as a truly creative subject as we have beaten it out of the students over a long period of time.

    We have become box-tickers and I suspect that many D&T teachers do not know how to teach creativity. Those old enough to know Francis Zanker Snr. will know exactly what I mean.

  3. really helpful and insightful - thank you
  4. I have had a particular interest in D and T electronics over the past twenty years and how to introduce more creativity into this area. I'll try and be constr4uctive...
    I have long ago realised we can easily undermine this subject through over-prescriptive projects at K.S.3 and over-guided GCSE work.Yes, these are more convenient to complete, easy to manage and allow us to tick boxes or fill in spreadsheets to meet targets. However, when you look at Ofsted studies and poorly taken up National Strategies over the past ten years you can see how they have eroded students learning and creativity and eaten away at teacher's morale. In my opinion, they hinder originality and negate the reasons everyone is saying this subject should be kept as a N.C. subject. I think the only argument I have heard over the years for prescriptive, over-constrained projects is they teach skills...
    I certainly don't believe you have to provide "total freedom" , but "safe" or "guided" opportunities/environments where students can develop their own ideas into made products. Of course, it is still important to plan these activities as a teacher, so that you can offer "signposts" to help the students individually continue and overcome difficulties/problems encountered.
    I know many of you will disagree and on first reading think this idealistic and impossible in schools with all the other constraints and demands. You may be interested in this blog I wrote last year.
    By the way all of this doesnt have to be costly just kept simple. Bring on the "sketchbook" and more genuine opportunities to design and make - it might just then save this subject!
    All the best
  5. re

    re New commenter

    Sketching, as a skill, could well reduce creativity. However, as Brian Dixon states, developing designs through sketch modelling can help.

    I have a pet theory about drawing and design and can best illustrate it by looking at cars. In the fifties and sixties, when the airbrush was king in design/illustration studios, curves were simple to draw and we therefore had curvaceous car designs. In the 70s, the felt pen took over, and designs became blocky and full of stright lines, again, easier to draw. Now, the computer takes the work out of drawing curvaceous shapes, and we have reverted to curvaceous cars! It may be a specious argument, but sketching can limit, not free creativity.
  6. I too am stunned when a student/pupil/fellow professional does not pick up a pencil to create or illustrate a point. It is second nature to me as a designer, and I don't feel one has the same instinctive connection via a computer.
    There is less freedom in CAD as far as I can see...and it is often impossible to see any development of designs, only the fabulously rendered finished view. I like to see the story of how a design comes together, even in very rough sketches. We've just moderated coursework and some students lost out as there was litle evidence of where ideas had come from. They don't just pop out fully formed!
    I agree however that it is necessary to teach "strategies for designing" and modelling, CAD, inspiration from nature and the work of other designers are all useful approaches.

    Maybe I'm old-fashioned?
  7. I would be totally lost without a pencil or fineliner to draw with. However, I have already selected a career in design, spent several years training and best part of forty years teaching. The students I deal with are a different generation. They have been brought up with computers and have a great many skills which are different to mine. They often have great ideas but not the spatial awareness or the drawing skills to communicate them. That does not mean that they are not creative and modelling is one way they can generate and develop their ideas. I teach them to draw, alongside a hundred and one other things. If you check out AQA's GCSE criteria you can access the top marks without drawing (not even mentioned). Creativity, originality, development are all rewarded, and rightly so. Mike Ive used to talk about "neat nonsence" and I have seen too many examples over the years of students who can draw well but do not have a creative thought in their head. The two are not necessarily connected, in my view, although the ability to draw is a very valuable skill to have. It is also the case that many designers are selected from universties because of their freehnd drawing skills rather than their ability to use CAD (not a good dicriminator these days) but these people are few and far between. The average student can be taught creative strategies and can produce creative ideas but must not be shackled to drawing as the only means of communication those ideas.
  8. Thanks for all your help

    greatly appreciated
  9. As a HOD I have introduced sketch books into KS3 DT lessons, the main reasons for this were to get rid of scraps of paper in folders, encourage students to draw outside of the classroom and to encourage creativity.

    Previously we used project booklets which were essentially word frames that students filled in, however I felt this stopped the more creative students from producing 'out of the box' ideas and gave the less willing students an opportunity to do the bare minimum.

    So far.... I feel its working, students are working on sketch pages and taking pride in their skills, they can see how the drawing and sketching has developed from the start of the project, I'm not saying its been a 100% success rate and I agree with the other comments regarding modelling and other parts of the design process but I have seen an improvement personally.

    Good Luck with the dissertation.

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