Using design thinking to develop self-directed learners.

by Matinga Ragatz

Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12


The world rewards self-directed people. It rewards people who are facile problem solvers and who can help make critical decisions.

Classrooms are not always set up for that, so students more often than not, wait for direction. To be self-directed students need to know how to do research and how to interpret data and then know what to do with it.

If I had a school full of self-directed learners, I’d:

-Remove the class bells,

-Have students work on big problems and sign up for a teacher who was addressing that problem, and

-Require students to work on projects and long-term research and extend their learning with area experts.

In my class we use a design thinking process to teach students to attack problems with some structure and disciplined thinking. This process teaches students to defend their ideas and trust their own abilities, as well as become collaborative and resourceful learners.

About Matinga Ragatz

Matinga Ragatz, MA (PhD Candidate) was born in Spain and studied in Morocco, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Spain and Germany. Her unique ability to implement ...

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