Hadjiyanni, Tasoulla and Zollinger, Stephanie Watson. "Stimulating Student Interest in Design History Classes," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 4, issues 2/3 (2010).
With history being an established course in design education and sparking creativity being one of design education’s primary objectives, questions arise as to: What forms of history teaching capture student interest? How can the lessons of history resonate with youth in ways that tie the past to the present? How can assignments spark excitement in students and engender a passion for the subject? And, where can faculty draw inspiration from in re-envisioning the role that history can play in their program and profession? Two interior design educators from the University of Minnesota share techniques, assignments, and pedagogies that respond to the above questions and help set a trajectory for both creatively teaching design history and sparking students’ interest and creative potential.
Going beyond traditional methodologies and discourses around the teaching of history, these educators take a unique perspective and strive for a diverse set of objectives. Employing techniques such as digital games and free-hand sketching, they challenge students to engage with the material first hand. By tying a design project into a history course, they present students with the opportunity to conceive of ways to bridge the past, present, and future. Infusing history classes with creative and critical thinking that encompasses and responds to pressing social concerns reinforces the meaning of history classes and makes history relevant to students’ lives. Through this sharing, the authors aim to spark a dialogue across the disciplines around the teaching of history and the renewed role it can play in design education.