Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Design Thinking as Learning and Teaching

The Microsoft Education Success Profile web page has a list of traits a successful Primary and Middle School teacher should have. Its pretty impressive, but it also points out that teaching and Design Thinking have a lot of core skills in common.

They are all here; Empathy, Bias Towards Action, Fluid & Flexible Thinking, Persistence, Challenging assumptions. Prototyping is even here if you consider that nearly every day a teacher starts a new exercise.

For that matter, maybe we need more teachers to run for public office, start new businesses or take over existing ones that are struggling. These skills are a recipe for success almost anywhere;

  • Creativity: Generates many new and unique ideas; makes connections among previously unrelated notions; is unafraid to use unorthodox methods; is seen as original and value-added in brainstorming settings.
  • Drive for results: Pursues everything with energy, drive, and a need to finish; does not give up before finishing, even in the face of resistance or setbacks; steadfastly pushes self and others for results.
  • Functional/technical skills: Possesses required functional and technical knowledge and skills to do his or her job at a high level of accomplishment; demonstrates active interest and ability to enhance and apply new functional skills.
  • Integrity and trust: Is widely trusted; is seen as a direct, truthful individual; presents truthful information in an appropriate and helpful manner; keeps confidences; admits mistakes; doesn’t misrepresent himself or herself for personal gain.
  • Interpersonal skills: Is warm and easy to approach; builds constructive and effective relationships; uses diplomacy and tact to diffuse tense situations; has a style and charm that immediately puts others at ease and disarms hostility.
  • Learning on the fly: Learns quickly when facing new problems; analyzes both successes and failures for clues to improvement; experiments and will try anything to find solutions; enjoys the challenge of unfamiliar tasks.
  • Listening: Practices attentive and active listening; has the patience to hear people out; can accurately restate the opinions of others even when he or she disagrees.
  • Managing and measuring work: Clearly assigns responsibility for tasks and decisions; sets clear objectives and measures; monitors process, progress, and results; designs feedback loops into work.
  • Motivating others: Creates a climate in which people want to do their best; can assess each person’s strengths and use them to get the best out of him or her; promotes confidence and optimistic attitudes; is someone people like working for and with.
  • Personal learning and development: Is personally committed to and actively works to continuously improve himself or herself; recognizes the need to change personal, interpersonal, and managerial behavior; actively seeks feedback.
  • Planning: Accurately determines the length and difficulty of tasks and projects; sets clear, realistic, and measurable goals; sets priorities and time parameters to accomplish tasks and projects; anticipates roadblocks and develops contingencies to redirect tasks so momentum is not lost.
  • Time management: Uses his or her time effectively and efficiently; concentrates his or her efforts on the most important priorities; adeptly handles several tasks at once.
  • Valuing diversity: Manages all kinds and classes of people equitably; supports equal and fair treatment and opportunity for all; fosters a climate of inclusion, where diverse thoughts are freely shared and integrated.

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