Enhancing design literacy for sustainability among youth in crafts-based design education
This paper discusses the case study Case Sveip, examining enhancement of students’ design literacy for sustainability in craft-based design. In 2015–2016, 2 teachers and 26 8th grade students (aged 12–13), who were organized into action research group 1 (AG1) and action research group 2 (AG2), participated in an action research in a Norwegian lower secondary school. Practices from design for sustainability (DfS) were introduced to the students during their craft-based designing of bentwood boxes. Thereafter, they worked with DfS principles and practices in an associated project book with introductions, tightly structured tasks and self-evaluation questions. Video recording transcripts with timekeeping and observation notes from AG1 (18 lessons, total 27 hr) and the project book responses from AG1 and AG2 (N = 24) were thematically analysed. Among the outcomes were that DfS introductions, with an average duration of approximately 6 min, were embedded in five lessons during decision-making situations about the design in sketches, work drawings and material selection. Thereafter, during 90 min of project book work, when the students assessed their finished products. The students’ self-evaluations indicated that they found DfS to be understandable and useful for their design and craft practice, education and future work. However, there were indications that they were further along in their development of design literacy in DfS practices for eco-efficiency and eco-effectiveness than for product durability. This can be attributed to the distinct characteristics of these DfS practices, which held different possibilities and challenges for the students’ development of design literacy for sustainability.
Keywords: Crafts-based design, Design for sustainability (DfS), Education for sustainable development (ESD), Lower secondary education
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