Cultivating sustainable thinking through employing a student-centred learning approach



Design Education Strategy


  • sustainability, individualism

In  order  to  save  both  the  planet  and  the  human  race,  society  needs  to  take  action  and  adopt  sustainable practices and approaches. The embedded modes of operations and encultured human behavioral patterns are under attack and radical changes are required, to ensure a future that provides sustainable  living conditions. Through employing various teaching and learning strategies, educators aim to convert the student’s approach and encourage  personal  awareness  that would stimulate   responsible  sustainability  thinking  and design. This paper  explains  how  behavioral  patterns   can  be changed  through  our  teaching  and  learning  approach  thus contributing towards an environmentally responsible design culture and society.
The paper will reflect on a green design project, introduced to third year interior design students over the past three  years.  This  project  aimed  to  fulfill  three  objectives  –  inform   students  of  the  sustainability  agenda, promote  environmentally  responsible  actions  and   encourage  sustainable  thinking  practices  in  design.  The teaching  and  learning  strategy   employed  for  the  project,  focused  on  a  student-centered  approach.  This approach  was   considered  most  suited  since  it  aimed  to  change  or  transform  not  only  the  student’s   daily behavioral patterns but also the attitude of the community in which they operate as citizens. This response was possible if the students could experience a deeper learning process, personal growth, a degree of flexibility and an opportunity for personal reflection.  
The paper will include feedback from the students and describe the wider impact that the project had on the immediate student and university community. The critical reflection will further discuss both successes and shortcomings   of  the  project  and  contemplate   the  project’s   contributions   to  shaping  a  young  designer’s understanding, actions and design approach.

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