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【Playful Public Design】From Passive Learners to Change-makers

Across age levels (range from age 3.5 to 18), we noticed a change in children’s thinking, which led to a change in their problem-solving approaches and solutions, as reflected in their artistic creations.

Overall, children’s view point gradually transformed from a human-centric view (solving countryside problems with the comfort and convenience of the city), to an empathetic view in their design ideas (considering the needs from nature, such as trees, animals and insects).

 

From Passive Learners to Active Explorers and Change-makers

 

Our art facilitators observed that, with proper guidance and scaffolding, children could learn to research (visually, and with simple text), to identify problems, and suggest solutions for change. The art and design projects were ways for them to make their thinking visible, solution tangible and voices audible.

 

Our Art Facilitators’ Observations

 

Many students lacked first-hand experience at the country park. So, much of their creation was based on imagination and visual references from the facilitators. Most of the students still found it hard to breakthrough their self-centeredness at first, but the project introduced different angles of considering problems for the youngsters. – Teacher Bee.

 

Some students found the project difficult in the beginning. So, I was surprised at the growing level of engagement as the research progressed. Intermediate level (age 8-12) students were happy with their gazebo models, and were willing to learn to organize their ideas and present them. – Teacher Daisy

 

Most children were keen on the “construction” and “making” part of the learning experience. When the content knowledge was too much, children could become impatient to listen. They just wanted to get into action. – Teacher Cherry

 

Senior level (age 12-18) students were also more motivated with the construction/making part. Their ideas flowed more freely when they were in a more playful mood. They could construct/make first, and then draw the artistic creation and design outcome later. – Teacher Argus