Interventions, Ecologies, Reflections
Reframing Student Resistances with Design Thinking
Keywords:design thinking, reflection, wicked problems, collaboration, rhetorical ecologies
We argue that design thinking is particularly productive in technical and professional communication (TPC) classes when students leverage—rather than succumb to—the risk and uncertainty of the design process. To address possible resistances and to further support TPC students in inhabiting productive uncertainty, we suggest emphasizing and reframing three aspects of design thinking. First, we argue that design thinking orients students to strong interventions rather than the right solution. Shifting terminology to intervention potentially promotes the value of unknowing during the ideation phase and moves students toward a prototype without needing to be correct. Second, we suggest that this reorientation to intervention connects with design thinking’s human-centered design and builds students’ rhetorical awareness as an ecological understanding of situations, texts, and audiences. Third, we point to the role of reflection in design thinking and emphasize it as both iterative and materially entangled, rather than as a final step. To orient students to making interventions and building awareness of rhetorical ecologies, we position reflection as ongoing and embedded throughout the process.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Michael J. Healy, Jessi Thomsen
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