Inciting Criticality in Design Education

How We Teach History to Product Design Students


  • Gretchen Von Koenig The New School


Central to my research are a few questions: are the methods we employ in teaching design history— including curricular structure and pedagogical techniques used inside the classroom- creating a barrier between the course objectives and the students’ ability to take anything away from these classes? How do these delivery mechanisms affect the design practitioner’s ability to learn history in a way that adds to them developing as critical designers? In the vast range of content in object history, which content establishes the right connective tissue with practice based coursework, which content connects students with social and cultural considerations important to them? Does the way we teach history enable heuristic skills that can be transferred to critical making? Is the sequencing of such courses in curricula effective in promoting knowledge transference between classes, or is coursework siloed?