Linda Levant teaches 5th Grade ELA and Social Studies at Alexander Adaire Elementary. She has practiced in the DE program over the past 5+years and was one of the first teachers introduced to our pilot program in 2017. Linda's unwavering dedication to our program stems back to her values and beleifs that all students should have an opportunity to enhance their skills by solving real-world problems that arise in design process.
Q: In your recent semester, your team focused on sustainability in the built environment. How did you work to make them more aware of eco-friendly initiatives?
A: "I wanted my students to use recycled materials that they could collect for this project. Throughout the program, we spent time discussing the importance of sustainability. These conversations aided in helping my students develop a sustainable mindset."
Q: We know there are just not enough hours in the day for teachers. Why do you believe working with DE has been something worth adding to your busy schedule? How has the process aligned with other responsibilities?
A: "This program allows my students to apply their reading skills, math skills, and general knowledge acquired in classes to a hands-on project. In addition, they strengthen their collaboration skills by working in teams, sharing supplies, and solving problems that arise."
Q: In what ways have you noticed a positive impact on your students' creative thinking skills since incorporating design education into your classes?
A: "Students look forward to DE sessions. The program provides students with many opportunities to engage in a productive struggle that helps develop resilience and a growth mindset. These are two important components of creative thinking."
Q: As someone involved with the program since its inception, how have you seen it evolve and what keeps your participation unwavering?
A: "The DE Program has evolved over the years. I continue to participate in and support DE in schools. I believe when students participate in hands-on learning, there is always a positive outcome. The DE Program engages students academically, socially, and emotionally. It is well organized and teaches students about the design world by providing a chance to design and build models based on specific criteria. Volunteers work with me to connect the lessons to the fifth-grade curriculum. Students utilize newly acquired knowledge and research skills as part of their designs."
Q: What advice would you offer to other teachers looking to integrate design education into their classrooms?
A: "DE is an inclusive program that engages and challenges students. It allows them to collaborate with their classmates to design and build projects that reflect their learning and creativity. In addition, students will build problem-solving skills and improve resilience in a supportive environment."
Interested in volunteering with DesignPhiladelphia's Design Education program? Please reach out to Michael Spain (firstname.lastname@example.org), Liza Niles (email@example.com), or Carly Clifford (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Join us for the Saturday series of Read + Make Workshops! More...
The award winning firm, founded by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, will present a talk in honor of winning the 37th Louis I. Kahn Award. More...