Shape of things to come

21st September 2007 at 01:00
On the first day of the course we met Sir Terence Conran a legend of the design world. I asked him the same question that children always ask me, which is: "what's the best design ever?" He said: "Concorde", and I wouldn't argue with that.

A way to get pupils thinking about the subject is by asking them to design something that will help their favourite hobby. There are four main principles of design: form, function, ergonomics and aesthetics, so you can divide pupils into groups of four, and get each to comment on the product from a particular perspective.

That creates a structured way of thinking, but we also explored other activities that develop free thought. Such as giving pupils nothing but a handful of paperclips, and a large strip of cardboard and asking them to make a table.

The second part of the course was a one-day placement at a design company. I saw the pressure designers are under, and how hard they work to keep clients happy. Afterwards, we had to come up with an imaginary design brief for the company something that really captured the house style.

On the third day of the course, two months later, we all met up and shared the ideas we'd developed. Terence Conran was on hand again, to give feedback and advice. We also had unlimited access to the Design Museum in London, which was a fantastic opportunity for new ideas. My colleagues at school were green with env *

Andy Dixon is a design teacher at Fort Pitt Grammar School in Chatham, Kent. He was talking to Steven Hastings

The details

How to Teach Design Really Well: a three-day course for secondary design and technology teachers at the Design Museum in London. The next course is on Tuesday November 13 2007, Tuesday February 5 and Monday June 23 2008. Pounds 275.

Visit www.designmuseum.org education or call 020 7940 8782.

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