Design Thinking, Pre-Service Teachers, and the Advanced Grammar Course: Creative Models for Proficiency and Assessment

Design Thinking, Pre-Service Teachers, and the Advanced Grammar Course: Creative Models for Proficiency and Assessment

Debra Faszer-McMahon (Seton Hill University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8543-5.ch011

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the theoretical concept of design thinking and how it has helped reinvigorate upper level grammar instruction for one Spanish teacher education program, particularly through the integration of community engagement, technological innovation, and writing proficiency assessment. The chapter begins by discussing the challenges of helping students reach ACTFL's advanced low proficiency level in oral and written communication, and argues that design thinking, particularly as described by Gwendolyn Barnes-Karol in the Centenary edition of Hispania, can empower university faculty to re-envision the upper-level curriculum in creative, engaging ways that lead toward higher oral proficiency attainment. After analyzing design thinking and the challenges of oral and written proficiency for pre-service teachers, the essay details four specific projects that have been used at a small liberal arts college in Western Pennsylvania to reinvigorate grammar and writing instruction, engage the community, and help students move up the proficiency scale.
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Background And Theoretical Frames

Design thinking has emerged as an important resource in a range of interdisciplinary fields, first stemming from the engineering and technology sector and only recently making inroads in education (Aflatoony, Wakkary & Neustaedter, 2018; Crane, 2018; Luka, 2014; Taboada & Coombs, 2014; Zidulka, 2018). The principles of design thinking, as Razzouk and Shute (2012) describe in their article “What Is Design Thinking and Why Is It Important?” include:

an analytic and creative process that engages a person in opportunities to experiment, create, and prototype models, gather feedback, and redesign (p. 330).

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